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Changing lives one little dress at a time…
Little Dresses for Africa is a non-profit 501c3, Christian organization, which provides relief to the children of Africa. Simple dresses are made out of pillow cases, and distributed through the orphanages, churches and schools in Africa to plant in the hearts of little girls that they are worthy!
Knowing the history of the girls in Africa and the difficult road that lay ahead, Rachel O’Neill decided she would take some dresses to the children in the villages. A small group of ladies began to sew simple little dresses, made out of pillowcases, to be distributed to young girls through the orphanages in Africa.
WHY PILLOWCASES? The pillowcase pattern has been around since the pioneer days and is easy enough for even a novice seamstress. Pillowcases are available in so many colors and patterns. They already have the hem and sides in them and are often sitting unused on shelves in closets all across the country. With just a little help they can be turned into bright little sundresses, perfectly suited for the African climate. Pillowcase dresses are only a suggestion. Any simple pattern is great to use.
This ministry captures the hearts of so many and continues to grow as groups of all sizes spring up across America. These groups cross age, gender and denominational lines, to serve the most vulnerable of God’s children: little girls. To date we have received well over 2 MILLION LITTLE DRESSES and donations from all 50 states across the USA as well as from the UK, Ireland, Canada, Mexico and Australia. 2 MILLION! That’s a lot of little girls!! With your help these beautiful dresses have been distributed in 47 countries of Africa! We are happy to partner with mission teams and travelers to get these dresses to the children who need them most. One generous supporter, Nancy’s Notions, has sent over 65,000 for us internationally. We are so grateful. Dresses have also been sent to other countries in crisis such as Honduras, Guatemala, Thailand, The Dominican, The Philippines, Cambodia, Mexico and thousands and thousands to Haiti. In addition, we have sent dresses to children in need right here in the United States, in the Appalachian Mountains and South Dakota. But more importantly than how many have been shipped, are the lives that they have touched as these little dresses go out as little Ambassadors in the name of Jesus, to give hope to the children that receive them.
HOW TO HELP: With Little Dresses for Africa there are many ways to provide help…from starting or hosting your own sewing group, sizing and packing little dresses, or donating financially toward shipping costs. To ensure that they actually get to the children, the majority of our dresses are sent with mission teams here in the United States, as they travel on their missions, for personal distribution. We are happy to mail them to your teams to take in your extra bags for distribution. Please have your team contact us. We also mail them internationally. Little Dresses for Africa hosts a team once a year to deliver the little dresses personally to the grateful and excited little girls that need them so desperately.
Remember, the job is not complete until these little dresses are actually on the the little girls that need them. Please enclose your tax-deductible donation to help with shipping whenever possible. It costs an average of $2.00/dress to get the dresses to the children. Although it is not required, any amount you can send help. Thank you in advance for your help! Check the gallery for pictures! Due to the amazing response, we can’t promise specific pictures, but maybe your little dress will turn up in a picture on a precious little girl!
Simple patterns are downloadable below, or feel free to use your own pattern, if you prefer.
“We’re not just sending dresses, we’re sending HOPE!”
Free boys shorts download available: http://www.nancyzieman.com/blog/nancys-corner/britches-for-boys-in-africa/
Help us by sizing! Please size your dresses small, medium, large or X-large if possible. It’s especially important when working in third world countries to not put straight pins on these dresses when labeling them. Protect our packing volunteers ! Please do not pin anything to the garments with straight pins before sending them to us! (OUCH!) Also, if you use a variation of a pattern with a ribbon in the casing, be sure to tack it down so the ribbon doesn’t come out with the heavy wear these little dresses will receive.
Thank you so much for your attention to these details!!
Sizing is approximate:
( measure from the shoulder to hem)
Small = 2, 3, and 4 (16-23 inches long)
Medium = 5, 6, and 7 (24-29 inches long)
Large = 8,9, and 10 (30-34 inches long)
X-Large - size 11 and above (anything over 35 inches long)
Any size, style, material for boys shorts are welcome. Elastic or drawstring waist works well for boys shorts.
To confirm your dresses were received, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
Thank you so much for your help!
Any simple pattern is great! Zikomo! Finished items and financial donations for shipping can be sent to:
24614 Curtis Drive, Brownstown, MI 48134
or donate on line
Making a difference, here and across the ocean, one little dress at a time!
Gently used pillow cases may be used for little dresses. Due to restrictions in some countries concerning used clothing and import taxes, we are not able to accept previously worn dresses, although boys shorts can be gently used or store bought.