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May Yip
Monday, Aug 18, 2014

From mothers to mothers

The Business Times | May Yip | Monday, Aug 18, 2014

A charity tie-up between Victoria Beckham and e-tailer The Outnet sheds light on the work of Mothers2Mothers, a charity that works to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

Style icon Victoria Beckham is paying it forward with her fashion-forward wardrobe. The fashion designer, former pop star and red carpet darling has teamed up with The Outnet.com to sell more than 600 clothing items in aid of the charity Mothers2Mothers from August 20 to 25.

"We were very fortunate to have Victoria pay us a visit in Cape Town in February as part of her trip with the Born Free campaign," says Robin Smalley, co-founder and director of the non-profit organisation.

"Victoria understood immediately the urgency of ending paediatric AIDS and the first thing she said was, 'How can I help?' She initiated the idea of the charity sale and has guided its progress every step of the way."

Born Free is a private sector-led initiative to end mother-to-child HIV transmission.

In February this year, following an invitation from American Vogue editor Anna Wintour to visit South Africa, Mrs Beckham was so moved by the experience that she began to plan an initiative to raise money and awareness.

With help from her mother and sister, she selected iconic pieces from her wardrobe - pieces from her early days with the Spice Girls, that she wore out with David Beckham, and from catwalk appearances, parties, awards shows and other events that have been heavily documented and photographed by the world's press.

"Victoria and her team approached The Outnet.com due to our global presence, extensive database and existing relationships with designers," says Stephanie Phair, president of The Outnet.com.

"We were extremely excited by the opportunity to support such an amazing initiative and really help make a difference."

During her trip, the celebrity mother of four interacted with several of the group's Mentor Mothers - HIV-positive mothers who are employed to support and mentor other HIV-positive pregnant women and mothers so they can stop the transmission of the HIV virus to their babies, says Ms Smalley.

An Emmy Award-winning producer and director, Ms Smalley now works alongside founder of the non-profit and husband of British musician Annie Lennox, Dr Mitch Besser. This is the first time the group has worked with a celebrity.

"The fact is that while Victoria is certainly a famous celebrity, she is first and foremost a mother and if there is one thing M2M stands for, it is the importance of mothers helping one another," says Ms Smalley.

"We believe mothers are a formidable force to fight injustice, especially for our children. Regardless of nationality or income level, all mothers share one thing - the over-reaching commitment to doing whatever it takes to have a healthy baby.

That is why Victoria got involved and it is also why we hope women around the globe will support this auction."

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