October 4 would have been my mother’s birthday. My mom could sew like nobody’s business. While I was growing up, she made most of my clothes. Unfortunately, I did not inherit her sewing talent, but I have come across some stories of sewers who are having a major effect on our world.
The first story I came across was of a woman who sewed over 1,000 dresses for orphans in Africa. Her name was Lillian Weber, and she sewed a dress a day until she died. She donated these dresses to an organization called “Little Dresses for Africa” (littledressesforAfrica.org) Little Dresses for Africa was founded by Rachel O’Neill in 2008 and is a registered non-profit 501c3 Christian organization. Volunteers from all over the world make dresses to be distributed to the orphan children in Africa. These children are often devalued and abused in their culture because of their circumstances. Thus far, 4.5 million dresses have been made and donated from 81 countries. If you go on their site, you can access an easy pattern for making a dress from a pillowcase, and also “Britches for the Boys”. If you or your group is able to donate $5,000, you can sponsor a well, providing life-giving water to the people there.
There is another group called “Real Hope for Haiti” (Real Hope for Haiti) that makes pillow case dresses, diapers, nanny aprons, pillow case shorts, burial blankets, burial gowns and hats for the children and their caregivers. Another interesting organization is “Many Hands for Haiti” (Many Hands For Haiti (MH4H)). They have a program called “Bundled Bottoms”. Bundled Bottoms sounds ideal for someone with my level of sewing talent. Apparently you host a party to cut out diaper patters to send to the women in their Sewing Hope program. They will sew, assemble and distribute the diapers to the poor infants in Haiti. For more information, go to http://solidgroundforhaiti.com/symbolic-gifts/bundledbottoms/bundled-bottoms-party-kit.html.
And finally, there is one more sewing project I’d like to address. It is called “Days for Girls” (https://www.daysforgirls.org/) #5MoreDays. Days for Girls sews cloth menstrual pads and kits which include a method for washing them in areas where access to water is limited. The goal of this program is to allow girls and women the means to stay in school and at work during the days of their menstrual cycle. Days for Girls has distributed menstrual pads and kits in 140+ countries. This program was started by Celeste Mergens, where she was assisting at an orphanage. She began to wonder what the girls were doing for feminine hygiene and soon found out the answer – nothing. The girls would stay in their huts and sit on cardboard, feathers or whatever else they could scrounge up. Disposable protection was not an option, as there was no where to dispose of it. So, she devised washable, reusable cloth pads, which would allow the girls to participate in school and other activities all month long, hence the hashtag, #5MoreDays.