DRC2018: When you donate clothes to charity in America

BrianGoma 2018

I have met with a few wholesale sellers and the people who buy them here – they sell clothes in the market through a very convoluted supply chain.

So everything here comes from the United States and Canada in what starts as a donation for things like hurricane victims. So one donated used clothes in the USA. Those donations are sorted and 95% of the used clothes go to these giant warehouses in the USA and they are washed and put in the giant bundles you see below. Then the charity pays to ship them to Africa and here they are sold by the bundle to people who are willing to sort through them and use them or sell them. They pay between 1 and 5 dollars for these bundles and if they put them out for sale as individual pieces they can, over time, make up to $10 in total for what was one bundle clothes.

I’m a little in two minds about this but in the end these clothes are enabling a way for people to make money and have a job so it’s helping people. But it’s food for thought.