What happens to a T-shirt after it’s donated to the Salvation Army or Goodwill? Hint: Not all of them end up for sale on the racks of those stores. Here’s a fascinating PBS documentary by Shantha Bloeman exploring how some secondhand clothing, donated by the West, ends up being sold for profit in third world countries, like Zambia. In it, Bloeman analyzes concepts of charity (or the perception of it) and how that process can dismantle an entire textile industry and a country’s source of economic independence.
At the very least, it makes you think where your T-shirts (or other discarded clothes) really end up.
What are your thoughts? Is it an unintended consequence of true charity or an example of opportunism masked by goodwill?
[ Posted on January 26th, 2012 ]