We are so excited to open the registration for our first “Sending Hope Conference 2014″ at the beautiful Shipshewana, Indiana. We have an amazing line up planned already! Founder and Director, Rachel O’Neill will host our “VIP” Nancy Zieman will join us at the VIP Reception for a book signing of her recently released book, “Seams Unlikely” and share her story at the General Session on Saturday. Little Dresses for Africa’s own, Michael Mchawa Banda from Malawi, Africa will share his story and encourage us on to more good. There will be food, networking, breakout sessions and so much more. Three levels of registration are available on the registration page. Pick your level of involvement but please know, regardless of what you choose your registration will go toward the support of Little Dresses for Africa. We are delighted and excited. Hope to see you there. Attendance limited to 400. Don’t miss this opportunity! Click here to register! Love, Rachel
One more little story: I talked to a sweet woman this morning from North Dakota who told me while she was making little dresses, she was skyping with her daughter who is in Uganda. She showed her daughter and her daughter squealed, “I saw one of those in church just last Sunday!” They’re out there, sewers, thanks to you!!!
Thanks, Jeanette, for passing that on. These stories encourage me and others to keep working toward our goal. We also heard yesterday that we have dresses going to Madagascar, which makes our 48th country in Africa. That means only 5 to go and we will have at least sent some to every country on the Continent of Africa. I say, let’s make 2014 the year that we can say, every single country in Africa has received at least some little dresses!
We do receive so many beautiful dresses, but we have barely scraped the tip of the iceberg in making sure that children are clothed. Please continue to help me get them to the children. Also, more information coming soon about our “Sending Hope Conference in 2014″. Some pretty exciting news will be announced soon! Stay tuned. Keep sewing. Love, Rachel
First of all, thank you for your continued support! It is so exciting to be part of such a wide spread and exciting organization dedicated 100% to helping others! I am enjoying the ride and I hope you are, too!
Just so you know, we receive hundreds of dresses each week from all over the world. The love that you put into them is simply amazing. I love the notes you include. They encourage me and those working as volunteers at the “Love Shack” that open boxes, sort, size and pack the beautiful little dresses for shipping! I never get tired of seeing how different each one is and how much love is sewn into every little dress! So, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.
Just so you know, I open the boxes and we put notes, checks, donations aside and I respond to those personally. Sometimes it takes a couple of weeks to get them all opened and responded to, so please be patient! If you include a self-addressed envelope, I will respond with a postcard, which you are free to use as a receipt for your donation.
After they are opened, volunteers go through them to make sure the dresses are sturdy and will with stand the harsh climate and washing conditions. Hand sewn dresses are generally not strong enough for this climate. Also, at this point, we sort and size them for packaging. We are SUPER grateful when you size them small, medium, large and x-large. Please do not indicate the sizes with straight pins as NO ONE wants to get stuck, especially in a foreign country. You can just gather them together and tie a ribbon around them and say “small” or put them in a plastic bag. Sizing them and rolling them is a major bonus.
One thing to note: If you use the pattern that slides a ribbon through the casing to tie, then PLEASE tack it down in the front and back so the ribbon does not slide out. We cannot send them if they are not tacked down as the kids will pull that out immediately and not have any way to keep them up. We usually repair these dresses so they eventually get there but it does delay their departure and increases the work load of our volunteers. It would help a lot if you’ll help us by tacking it down.
We then put them in boxes for shipping. Each box weighs about 24lbs. We send them domestically to mission groups who will pack them in their extra bags, or we mail them directly to communities throughout Africa that need them the most. Each domestic box is approximately $30-$45. and each international box is $141/ approximately and contains around 80-85 dresses. Help with shipping costs is not required but it is VERY much appreciated and I will respond with a postcard with our EIN number on it which you can use as a tax receipt if you choose to.
We also mail larger boxes by sea and it takes about 3 months for them to arrive. We also plan to send our second 40ft sea container and will be posting more information about that very soon.
I hope these reminders help. If you have questions, please contact me or send a note on facebook. I do not personally monitor that page every day but two awesome volunteers do and they will let me know if there is a question that they can’t answer. If you are in the area, please join us on the 2nd and 4th Thursday nights at 7pm and join in the fun packing. You will be amazing and we will be delighted that you joined us! 17830 Telegraph, 48174. Thank you and God bless you all for helping!!!!
I hope that everyone has survived the busy holidays and that you are ready to dive into 2014! I am! We have so much to be thankful for and so many projects to complete this year! We have contracted a company in Malawi to help us begin the second block of rooms for the Nan Ray Primary School in Ntcheu. We will hopefully be able to afford a storage area also at that location so that we can keep our tools locked up for subsequent projects as well as storage for food and school supplies. We are hoping to work with a sponsor to get a soccer field to the school. We take these kinds of things for granted in this country, but to be able to get these kids in their favorite sport will not only be a great self-esteem builder but will give us an opportunity to teach much needed team skills. We have raised about half of the money that we need for this $30,000. project so if you have an idea for a fund raiser or would like to sponsor one, let me know. I am happy to come and speak to your group if schedules permit if you have a dinner or party to raise money for LDFA. I’m excited to be going to Washington in the spring to celebrate with an awesome group that Chris M. runs and can’t wait to meet those busy bees! We will also be installing another well in Malawi in the Chinkhluchina Village. Thank you to each and every one of you that have made this possible with your donations. Remember to check with your employers to see if they have matching donation forms for the time that you donate making dresses. Honda has made a huge difference with matching donations, as has Mellon. We are so grateful. God Bless YOU in 2014 as you BLESS OTHERS!!!
Sitting quietly in my house, with the “lived in” look of a Christmas spent, I am reminded of the many blessings we have as a family. Our kids and their kids were here and opened gifts after spending the evening at our church participating in the Christmas Eve service at MetroCityChurch. I know I say it all the time, but at this time of overabundance I can’t help but think again: “We are blessed so that we can bless others.” I am overwhelmed with gratitude that God has placed in smack in the middle of a ministry that allows me to be part of other people’s lives, here and across the ocean, to bring relief to the most vulnerable of God’s children. I will take a deep breath, clean up the mess and then get busy on the next phase. I hope you’ll join me in 2014. We have a lot to do! Stay tuned! I love you!
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