Dignity not Despair is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women, supporting resilience and offering hope by donating makeup and hygiene products to female refugees.
The organization was founded by Kristen Gibson and Stacy Lee. In March 2016, we volunteered as humanitarian aid workers in Greece to assist with the Syrian refugee crisis. While handing out donations, two women pulled us aside and shyly asked us if we had any makeup. We were struck by this request, and it continued to resonate with us after we came home. Providing food, shelter and clothing in crisis situations is essential, but we realized that there is a need for goods that help provide something equally important, which is one's dignity. Our brief conversation with those women helped us realize that maintaining one's previously held standards of appearance can be a tool to improve emotional and mental well-being. Engaging in a beauty routine can be a positive coping mechanism for women because it provides a distraction, creates bonding experiences between women, engages them in a creative activity, lets them know they are worthy of self-care and allows them to have fun.
We understand that even a seemingly small deed can have a major impact on one’s state of mind. By donating these items, we aim to help these women maintain their dignity and a sense of normalcy, and as a result, promote emotional and mental well-being. To date, we have donated over 1,000 makeup and hygiene kits to women in the U.S., Bangladesh, Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, Indonesia, Mexico and Tanzania.
We feel passionately about our cause and want to continue to help as many refugee women as possible. But we need your help. Please donate so that we may help restore a sense of humanity and self to these women that are living in unimaginable circumstances. 100% of your donation will go directly towards sending makeup and hygiene kits to refugee women. Thank you for your support!