My Sisters, this is it! Our Dresses For Cambodia campaign has come to an end. The Dresses are piled high in my spare bedroom, awaiting packaging and suitcasing, to be sent to Cambodia.
I'll show them all to you in this post, and tell you the story of how they came to be. At the end of this post I hope you'll consider donating a few dollars to our friend Sarah who is living side by side our brothers and sisters in Cambodia.
On the 22nd January 2015 I put out a call to see, tentatively, if anyone would like to contribute to my personal desire to send handmade dresses to Cambodia with my friend Sarah who was returning indefinitely to serve the Khmer people who she had loved over the past year in 2014.
Its always been my desire to support and bless Sarah in some way, I think she is an incredible person who I have had the pleasure of knowing for 8 years. Those kind of people (like Sarah) just attract a want and need to love them and help them in what ever they are doing.
In church one night in January I was wondering how I could do that, and the idea was planted that I could sew. Sew I could! I could sew dresses for little girls in Cambodia. Who doesn't love having a new dress? Surely girls all over the world have a deep rooted desire to be a princess in a new dress, I wondered as I watched my own 3 year old daughter spin in her own beautiful dresses.
I emailed Sarah and asked if that was something she thought would be useful to her / the girls of Cambodia.
In her excited reply she told me of an organisation that she knows there that pick up street children each morning, ranging in ages from 1 year old plus. She told me that this organisation picks them up off the street and clothes, feeds, teaches and dresses the children for the day. Then they are (sadly) returned to the streets for another night, and the same process is repeated the next day.
Usually the children are given soccer uniforms to wear as they are so readily available over there.
Sarah said it would be brilliant to be able to gift beautiful handmade dresses to these girls.
Often these children aren't given anything. So for them to be told that women across the world had made a dress just for them would be the best thing.
And so, on the night of the 22nd of January, I sat at my laptop and told you this sad story, wondering if we could join together and do anything about it.
In my mind I thought we could make 20 or so dresses and that would be fantastic. Sarah was ecstatic about 20 dresses.
Over the next few days a flood of emails hit my inbox and I was overwhelmed and encouraged by the response.
By the end of the week the first dress had arrived.
And they kept coming. Some sent one dress, some sent 10. Some sent clips and hair ties and packages of new underwear. What touched me most was that people would go out of their way to sew for someone else. To bless a little girl across the world. A little Sister, and tell her that no matter who she is, or where she is from, she is loved and valued. She matters.
A good friend of mine, Rosita, designed up some beautiful tags to attach to each of the dresses.
On the front says "Little Sister" in Khmer. Sarah tells me that it is the highest honour to be called someones Sister in Cambodia, which I thought was highly fitting for The Sisterhood.
Without a doubt, I want these girls to know that we have made these dresses because they are our Little Sisters.
On the back of the tag is a series of numbers which I have circled to show the size, and I have also written each of your names in the "Made by..." part.
Sarah is returning indefinitely to Cambodia in September to love on our Sisters there, and she will be taking our dresses with her.
My initial goal of 20 dresses was blown out of the water! As always, you responded with generosity and eagerness at blessing and loving. All together we made.... *drum roll*...
ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY SEVEN DRESSES!!!
Wowza!!!! I can't believe it!!! Can you imagine how many piles of dresses I have in my spare room now?! How many dresses you have made!! And why it took me weeks to tag and photograph them all!? Its beyond crazy!!
Infact, 177 dresses is far too many to fit into one suitcase! There are only so many dresses one can give out.
So that we don't overwhelm our Friend Sarah with our dresses, I'm going to be sending them to Cambodia in two lots; Sarah will take with her 100 squeezed into a suitcase when she returns in September, and I will be sending the remaining 77 with our Church missions team who are also going to Cambodia in August / September to serve the community. It's a happy co-incidence really that they are both going at the same time, and are both intending on giving out the dresses and blessing the children in different parts of Cambodia.
Happy Happy! Can you believe it!? 177 dresses for little girls who spend their days worrying about their family members, their food and where they will sleep.
Sure, our dresses may not save them, they may not be feeding them or providing for their practical needs, but they may give a moment of hope, a moment of a joy, perhaps even a smile. And that means the world to me.
Its important to me that I support those who are out there in the world. The world changers, the hope givers, the smile creators; The Lovers.
My friend Sarah is one of those people.
With her permission I have set up a Give A Little fundraising page on her behalf. It is my hope that we, together, with the little we have, can also financially provide for her as she returns to serve the Cambodian people.
If you are able to, please consider donating to this Give A Little Page for Sarah. I am hoping with the money we raise we can help contribute to her flights, or support her while she is over there. Once the fundraiser is finished 100% of the donations raised will be passed over to Sarah for her to use however she needs.
I know that many of you have asked if you can support Dresses For Cambodia / Sarah in a financial way, and this is how you can if you are able.
In response to this post, the dresses and the fundraiser Sarah has said:: "I'm in a second hand shop and bawling my eyes out. It touches my heart so much that you've done this for these young girls. Sometimes all it takes is knowing one person is thinking & loving you. You guys are those people. So incredible. I would have never thought that this many people would reach out and be keen to help I'm so blown away & humbled. I can't wait to help you guys give these away!!!!!!! "
If you click on the DONATE button below it will take you to the fundraising page for you to contribute if you are able.
And now, my heart felt thanks to those who encouraged me along the way, and to those who used what they are good at to be a blessing. THANK YOU to the women who created dresses, prayed and loved.
Without you, this wouldn't have happened. It really does just take a few people joining together to see something happen. I feel honoured to be a part of this, and to know I am surrounded by such beautiful women like you.
And to my Friend Sarah. Girl, I love you to pieces. I have always admired your heart, commitment, friendship and your joy at serving others. Its who you are. Thank you for taking our dresses with you and for being so excited about this. I hope that one day I'll be as selfless and giving as you! Thank you for teaching me what it means to come alongside people and Love them. From all of us here, Thank you.
Thank you. Over and over again, Thank you.
Please share this post with your friends and whanau to show them what can be done when I few people gather together! Check back here to see how our fundraiser for Sarah is going!
Love always, Sophie xxxx
Everything I've written about Dresses For Cambodia
Sarah In Cambodia Fundraising Page
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