Monday, March 31, 2014

Yes You Can -- Dress A Girl Around the World

We dreamed of a world where every girl has at least one dress! 
We want girls to know that they are worthy of love and respect. 
That God loves them! 
~ from the Dress a Girl Around the World website

I attended a fashion show the other evening and these children were the models. Each was wearing a handmade outfit sewn by a volunteer with Dress a Girl Around the World, to be hand delivered to a child in an area of the world that most children have never owned anything new.

When this program began in 2009, the dresses were made from pillow cases. Cute and easy to make, they won the hearts of the children who received them. Over the years the selection of patterns has expanded so that different styles of dresses and even skirts and tops are now being made by volunteers from the US, Canada and a number of countries around the world.

The supplies are donated, including much of this fabric which came from a woman who was closing down her sewing business. The dresses are made in various sizes and are often the only gift the girl will ever receive.

This dress with the crocheted top and the matching headband would delight any girl!

The seamstresses are encouraged to add a pocket to the dress, so the child can keep her special things there. And below the pocket or along the hemline is added the Dress A Girl label. Village pastors have told the Dress A Girl team that "a new dress raises [a girl's] dignity as well as how she is viewed by others. They also say that our label on the 'outside' of the dress indicates to predators that this girl is under the care of an organization."

We were invited to sponsor a dress for $15 and write a note to the girl who will receive it, including our names on the notes. Alice Matthewson will be delivering 50 pounds of dresses (we were told that is at least 100 dresses) when she returns to central Africa this summer and she'll see that the dresses are given out. When a girl reaches into the pocket of her new dress she will see the note, and the sponsor of the dress will receive a picture of her girl in her new dress!

I asked about boys -- do they do anything for boys? Yes, actually they do provide some clothing for boys, but their emphasis is on the girls as they have such a low status in so many countries. The boy above actually helped his grandma make the shorts that he has on. She purchased the t-shirt to go with the shorts. And the shorts and shirt below were both made by this little guy's grandma.

Although they don't spend too much time sewing clothes for little boys (I was told that there are organizations for whom providing boyss' clothing is the main focus) they do pick up bargains on boys'  clothes from time to time. Evy, who along with Marlene is the Washington State North Ambassador for Dress A Girl, told us that she uses Kohl's Bucks to purchase boys' clothes, like this cute little shirt below. You can see that she got a great sale price, and then using Kohl's Bucks her price was even less.

So here's my challenge. Do you have a sewing machine and a little bit of time? Then go to the Dress A Girl website and find out how you can get started on a project. Don't sew? Maybe you can get your hands on some supplies that you can donate -- fabric, lace, trim, elastic, thread, wide double-fold bias tape. Or maybe you can find a few gals who'd like to start a group and make beautiful dresses that will provide dignity and joy to girls around the world.

If this little cutie modeling the dress is so happy to have it on, just think of what it could do for the girl who receives it as her own!

To see if there is an Ambassador near you, go here and scroll down the page. Marlene and Evy, Ambassadors from Washington State North, are the last ones listed on the page. They would be thrilled to hear from you, as would any of the Ambassadors from Dress A Girl Around the World.

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(Yes You Can is a monthly feature that tells the story of someone who has had a dream, followed their dream, and made a difference in their world because of it.)


Joan Husby said...

Great photos, Ginger. You captured the mood of the evening, and what a fun thing to be part of.

Gramma 2 Many said...

Thank you Ginger. Your pictures are beautiful, of course I am just a bit prejudiced, and your article is very nice. We had a great time spending the evening with the ladies of Warm Beach. 21 dresses were sponsored that evening :)
If any of the people reading this blog would like to know more about DaG, Marlene and I would be delighted to come to your church or club and tell you all about it too. We will also be delighted to bring our little girls and treat you to a fun Fashion Show. Just contact either Marlene or Evy if you are interested.

Ginger Kauffman said...

It was such a fun evening. I'm so glad you and Marlene came, Evy, and that all of us were able to be there enjoying it, Joan! There's been some response from gals who have read the blog post and are interested in getting involved too!

MarleneH said...

Hi Ginger! What a fun evening we had sharing about Dress a Girl Around the World and taking part in your program. Thank you for inviting us. We enjoyed meeting the women, the refreshments were wonderful and Alice's part in the program was outstanding. We look forward to sending some of our dresses with her when she returns to Africa in a few months. Love your blog and all the great pictures. Thanks again, Ginger!

Ginger Kauffman said...

It was great to have you, Marlene! The Lord bless you and all who serve Him through Dress A Girl Around the World!