Dresses For Cambodia
My aim was for about 20 dresses. As I was sewing alone, I felt like that was quite a lot!
You all responded, and a few months later my sewing room had a mountain of dresses in it ranging in sizes from 1-8 in all the colours of the rainbow! [You can see all of the dresses here]
You all blew me away with your generosity, and so that is the reason I am writing this post. Not only is it important to share about a need and desire, it is also important to report back and share about generosity and good deeds, so the world can see what can be achieved when a few women gather together.
Together with our sewing machines combined we sent over 180 dresses to Cambodia last month!
Ladies, you inspire me to no end. Each of you who sent in a dress were so eager to give and bless. We didn't make these dresses to feed a nation, we made them to bring a smile, and for a small moment let a girl know around the world that she is loved.
The dresses ended up at the Princess Project, which is an organisation run by an Australia couple called Ben and Cherie. They have been living and serving in Cambodia and raising their children there for 8 years.
They run this organisation by finding children collecting bottles and rubbish for recycling. They find their parents and in return for the parents agreeing not to send their kids out on to the street to make money/rice for the family (one massive bag of bottles equates to about a bowl of rice I have been told) , the Princess Project pays for them to go to school, runs an after school program for the children and provides enough rice for the family for the week.
They believe that prevention is key and education breaks the cycle of poverty, and just last month enrolled 90 children and youth into school!
It seems like hard, emotion, soul wrenching, joyfilled work. Ben and Cherie run their organisation through financial partnerships all around the world. If this is something you would like to contribute to, here is a web page about how you can be involved.
The photos they took of them giving out the dresses are below, along with a little story I have to share about one little girl in a purple dress...
And personally, this is the smile that made it all worth it for me::
Finally, on her return home one of my friends, Sue, was telling me that a few days after the dresses had been given out, she was in a village helping to build a chicken coop for a family when a little girl approached her in a beautiful purple dress::
The little girl didn't say a word, but got up close to Sue and poked out her tummy swaying from side to side.
Can you imagine it?? I can. My daughter does this to me ALL the time when she wants me to comment or notice something she's wearing.
Sue immediately recognised that this must be a dress that we had made, and asked her about it.
Isn't it amazing? I was so struck by this story. All over the world, girls must be looking down, poking out their bellies and turning slightly, waiting for someone to notice something. All over the world girls are the same. My 4 year old daughter and this girl in her new purple dress are just the same.
My friend Amy spotted this photo on Facebook and was ecstatic to see the smile this girl had while wearing the purple dress she had made.
2 more things before I go:
Our friend Sarah is doing well, thanks to the money we raised she was able to pay off the cost of all of her immunisations, medical bills in Cambodia and back ground checks while she was there. She is now returning to university in Auckland to finish her almost-finished teaching degree and once she has certificate in hand plans to return to Cambodia to love on these Kiddos. She can't get them out of her heart.
Instead of Sarah taking the dresses as planned, our Missions Team from my church happened to be visiting Cambodia last month to assist Ben and Cherie so the dresses went in their suitcases. They were very pleased to be able to give them out, and wanted to thank everyone for making them.
Dress a Girl around the World is a brilliant organisation you should get behind if you really enjoyed being part of Dresses For Cambodia! It's like this, except they are doing it all. the. time! There is a chapter of it in New Zealand, or if you are heading to an area in need, contact them to take some dresses with you. They are always wanting to sneak dresses into peoples luggage!
If you sent in a dress, thank you! Can you see yours in any of the photos? Tell me about it!
I so loved organising and sewing for this project. Thank you for making it easy for me, and for being a blessing. However, looking at these photos, don't you feel so much more blessed in the giving?! I certainly do!
Love, Sophie xx