happy boxes project x buttnaked skinfood
A partnership made in #girlpower heaven...
When you read the company name of 'Happy Boxes Project', you can't help but instantly feel, well, happy. Right away, you pretty much know that whatever the company does, provides or stands for, is bound to bring joy, and it doesn't disappoint.
It all started with Emma, the founder of Happy Boxes Project (although she prefers to say that the project 'found' her) working as a teacher in a remote community in the Northern Territory. Now when she says this community was small, she really means it. With approximately 340 people to its name, this community was 460km from the closest Woolworths and 760km from the closest Kmart. Imagine not having quick and easy access to healthy fruit and vegetables, or not being able to just pop on over to the shops to buy another 3 throw pillows and 2 pot plants that you definitely don't need (no? Just us?).
It didn't take long for Emma to figure out that this community was full of vibrant, beautiful and intelligent women from all walks of life, however, through her teaching, it became clear that these women were experiencing trauma, and a result, their friendships and relationships with their peers was suffering.
Not only did these women have to struggle through the normal angst of growing up that we must all go through, they also faced hardships relating to a lack of services and resources; of low employment opportunities; and of housing shortages. It's no wonder that these women found it hard to focus on their health and wellbeing when there was, and still is, so much uncertainty, stress and anxiety over access to the fundamental things you or I might take for granted.
However, counselling was hard to come by because of the remote location of the school and so Emma decided to start a wellbeing group for girls. Meeting once a week after school to hang out, have a bit of fun and to chat, this group allowed the girls to open up, to talk about their struggles, and to share their feelings in a safe environment where they'd not only be listened to, but heard.
As this group of girls spent more and more time together, they started to pay attention to the stories of their friends and of how they were feeling. They slowly but surely gained a better understanding of how to listen to and support each other, and of how to lift each other up. Soon it wasn't unusual to see the girls gifting one another handpicked flowers, love letters and drawings and it wasn't long before these treasured were placed into a 'Happy Box'.
After discussing the importance of self-care, and looking after oneself, the girls and Emma decided that each Happy Box needed products so that the girls could do some self-pampering at home but this was difficult to achieve as the local shop charged ridiculous prices for basic toiletries. This is where Emma had to get creative.
She reached out to her friends and family, asking them to hunt around in their bathrooms at home for any beauty products or supplies that weren't being used. The response she received was overwhelming.
"So many of my friends and family were eager to help and started posting packages to us. The word spread to other circles of friends and the packages just kept rolling in! The girls could not believe it" - Emma.
As it turns out, they had been gifted enough beauty products that they were able to fill a happy box for all of the women in town, handing them out on International Women's Day (talk about girl power).
However the products kept on coming, and as Emma witnessed the happiness on each and every one of the women's faces, she knew she was onto something pretty special, and that she had to continue it.
The gist of the Happy Boxes Project is that they send direct toiletries, beauty products and clothes to women and their families in remote communities who don't have access to these items on their own. These women include those who are seeking refuge from domestic violence, members of mums and bubs groups, Elders healing circles and other girls wellbeing groups.
"We now send boxes to over 34 locations across four states in Australia. Whilst not all happy boxes are going to a girl's wellbeing group, all the communities have a common thread. They are all communities that are isolated, communities that are struggling to keep feeding their families because prices at their local stores are exuberant, communities that are facing hardships due to a lack of appropriate housing and communities that are brimming with incredible, strong, intelligent women that deserve access to basic toiletries such as soap, shampoo, deodorant and sanitary items"
do you wanna get involved?
Getting involved with this organisation is extremely easy. All you have to do is contact the Happy Boxes Project and put together a happy box of any size with whatever items you're in a position to donate. Once it's ready to be sent, the organisation will provide you with an address of one of their coordinators based in one of their rural communities who will receive the happy box and pass it on to whoever in the community needs it the most.
A bit more intimate and heartfelt than simply making a monetary donation, putting together a happy box connects you to the women you're helping to support, and as well as spreading the word, you can also sponsor a 'Happy It Yourself' workshop that provides 10 women with the resources to DIY some beauty products. Of course you can also donate money (because every little bit helps), which is used to send off specific products needed at any given time.
Registered with the ACNC (Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission), the Happy Boxes Project has a goal to deliver happy boxes to every remote community in need so the women in our own backyard never have to go without basic toiletries ever again.
If we're being honest, it's hard to read the facts. 19% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are living in unacceptable living conditions, and while steps are being taken to close the gap between living standards (the recent Close the Gap Agreement released by the government stated the goal to have 88% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in a housing of an acceptable standard by 2031), it's still not at the same level that non-indigenous people are accustomed to.
Meanwhile, this act didn't even mention lowering the cost of living in remote communities nor any plan to further subsidise basic groceries so that people can afford to shop for their families.
The Happy Boxes Project will continue to work tirelessly to educate the wider population of the hardships faced by people living in remote communities and hope that with awareness, positive change is just around the corner.
When Buttnaked first learnt of the Happy Boxes Project and the wonderful work they were doing, we immediately wanted to help, and so with this blog is the beginning of a beautiful and positive partnership. We pledge to help the Happy Boxes Project in their endeavour to support rural and remote communities by providing care packages to women in need, in fact, we've already dispatched 60 units of our coconut + lemon body scrub for a workshop that's happening later this month.
Over the course of the next few months, this blog will showcase a number of stories told by the real-life women who receive these happy boxes and who live in remote communities. These stories will shed light on the challenges and difficulties of living remotely and will help to spread awareness for this organisation and the important work they're doing.
We're proud to be onboard and work alongside fellow organisations that have been consciously created and we can't wait to see the positive change that our partnership with the Happy Boxes Project will bring. Oh and also, #GIRLPOWER
Images by @leicolhnmckellar_photography
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