Mentor helps old gear find new homes overseas

IMG_5279Yvonne Mentor has many reasons to be thankful to the Australian netball community.

Firstly for the way they have welcomed and embraced her daughter Geva since she arrived to play in the ANZ Championship seven years ago.

But she’s been overwhelmed by the response of netball clubs and associations – not only in Australia but her home country England as well – to her campaign to donate second hand uniforms to women in developing nations around the world.

While she’s in Sydney watching Geva lead England in the Netball World Cup, Yvonne has been able to hand over countless bags of `unwanted’ uniforms and equipment to representatives from several countries to distribute to local communities when they return home.

Her project originally started out for Zambia, where she spent a couple of years doing volunteer work.

bags3But the amount of gear that was donated meant that she was able to supply to other African nations Uganda, Malawi and Zimbabwe, and representatives from the Pacific Island nations of Samoa, Fiji and Tonga and also to Sri Lanka.

“People have been incredibly generous; it’s really humbling,” Yvonne said.

“When I came to Australia a year ago a group from Queensland phoned me up and said `we’ve got some gear we’d like to courier down to you’ and they sent 10 boxes.

“A generous donation came from a lady in Mildura two weeks ago. She met me half-way at Charlton, literally opened the boot of her car and it was jammed pack full of kit.

“I appreciated the effort to drive three hours for a handover, a coffee and a chat and back she went again – that’s impressive.

“People are happy to donate if they know what they’re giving ends up where they want it to end up and I’m pleased that these kits can be used – especially in rural areas.

“Netball is a female family and this is an opportunity to show how fellow women can help others out less fortunate around the world.”

Her daughter’s ANZ Championship team, the Melbourne Vixens, along with Netball Australia, Netball WA and Netball NSW have contributed to their stockpile.

“I’ve handed over people’s generous donations to the nations playing at the World Cup and it’s wonderful to see it create so much happiness and excitement,” Yvonne said.

“Netball is their social outlet.”