Question: Do we have to use pillow cases or can we use our own material?
Answer: The pillowcase pattern is just a suggestion. Any simple pattern is fine. Cotton or cotton blend material is best for the African continent climate, but some polyester is fine, too. We also ask that you avoid buttons and zippers as they are difficult to repair.
Question: If I make my own dresses, do they have to come to you first or can I send them to my mission point or with my mission teams?
Answer: Of course you are welcome to send them with your mission teams. Things to remember are: If you are using the name of Little Dresses for Africa, you should send them through us, so we can be consistent as to how they are sent, in our name and be responsible for them. If they go in your name, you are free to send them how your group sees best. Some things to consider are: Packing them in groups of various sizes and marking them makes it easier to pass out to large groups. Also, be ready to explain at customs as you enter the country that they are gifts for the children and not for sale. Sometimes an “official letter” from your church stating those facts are helpful so that you are not taxed at customs.
Question: What about the boys?
Answer: We offer relief to both girls and boys, but with our ministry, girls come first. Because of the difficult road that lies ahead, we want to give something to little girls to plant in their hearts that they are worthy. There is no male or female in the church, no Jew or Gentile. We believe by honoring these little girls, that the seed of Jesus is planted in their hearts. But, we also love the little boys, so we also collect boy’s shorts in any size, new or gently used to send with the dresses.
Question: Do you send dresses to other countries other than those in Africa?
Answer: Yes, we do. We have sent dresses to 31 countries in Africa and also in times of crisis or when asked, to Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, The Domican Republic, The Philippines, Cambodia, South Dakota and the Appalachian Mountain regions.
Question: I noticed that in the pictures, the little girls are wearing t-shirts under the dresses? Why is that?
Answer: When we deliver the dresses, we put them right over what they are currently wearing. They do not continue to wear t-shirts underneath except in colder weather.
Question: Why don’t the children look happy to get their dresses in some of the pictures?
Answer: They’re not used to receiving gifts, especially from mostly white strangers. They are very happy to receive the dresses and once they get off by themselves you will see them delight in their gifts but not always in front of the strangers (us!).
Question: I don’t sew but I’d like to help. What else can I do?
Answer: There’s something for everyone! Some sew. Some donate supplies like material, ¾ inch elastic, double bias tape. Some donate by check or on line to help with shipping costs to get the dresses to mission teams or to mission points in Africa. We also have local teams packing and shipping in Michigan.
Question: How much does a box cost to send to Africa?
Answer: A 14 x 14 x 14 box costs about $140/each to ship to most parts of Africa. We can send it domestically to teams going, to pack in their bags for about $35/each. There are also other costs associated such as boxes, tape, documents, etc.
Question: Do you have an address in Canada that I can ship to since I’m from Canada?
Answer: Yes. There is an organization that we partner with that sends containers and tents for relief which will get your dresses to children in need. Please enclose your email when you send them so they can notify you when they are received. Address is below:
Canadian Address:Don Ohlgren
Disaster Aid Canada 426 William Street, Victoria BC, Canada V9A 3Y9
Question: Do you accept previously worn clothing?
Answer: Unfortunately, space does not permit us to accept used clothing. There are many organizations that do, so we encourage you to pass your donations on to them. They will bless others! Also, we are often taxes on clothing that is not home made and has tags in them.
Question: We have kids right here that need help. Why don’t you help the children in America?
Answer: You are right. We do. And if you are called to help these children, you should and we encourage you to do just that. Thank you! But we are called to Africa. The areas to which we distribute do not have any way of receiving relief without people like you and me helping them. We go to the remote villages to distribute your dresses and we use it as an opportunity to encourage and teach the people there. “We’re not just sending dresses, we’re sending hope.”
Question: With so many children needing help, how do you think you can make a difference with a few thousand dresses?
Answer: Little Dresses for Africa never claims to address all the needs of all the children, but by delivering little dresses to the children, we not only offer relief to those receiving the dresses, but also encouragement to their care-takers, the villages in which they live, people that hear about it and those sewing or donating supplies or dresses or money. Any time someone helps, it raises awareness of the plight of the little girls of Africa and awareness is Step One in closing the divide. We have also heard reported many times that the girls wearing a newer dress are less likely to be oppressed or abducted because it shows that someone cares about them. (And we do!)
Question: Do the children have to do anything or believe anything in particular of a religious nature, to receive a dress?
Answer: No, we offer the dresses in the name of Jesus, and plant the seed of his love, but only God can bring the harvest. Everyone we come into contact with at distribution, gets a dress regardless of their religious affiliation.
Question: Are you affiliated with a particular church or group?
Answer: We go in the name of Jesus. We encourage all believers to work together to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Question: Are you sure you’re not affecting the economy of Africa by giving them dresses, when they could buy them from their own people?
Answer: We distribute these dresses through orphanages and churches to children who would have to choose food or clothing but could not receive both. We go to remote villages to distribute them, not where we would compete with their businesses. We have also delivered them to little girls in Sudan who were wearing absolutely nothing until they received their new dresses.
Question: is there a particular size that you need most? Are there certain patterns or colors that I should avoid? Is it ok if I add pockets or a ruffle on my little dress? Can I add a little toy in the pocket or a pair of panties?
Answer: With sizes, we generally get plenty of medium sized dresses, which are the standard pillow case sizes. If you are making them out of material, we need more of the smaller, under size 5 dresses, and over size 10. Feel free to add pockets and ruffles. A small toy is fine in the pocket but not necessary at all. We always need boy’s shorts in any size.
Question: Is there a particular way to package these dresses and shorts that will help the volunteers that are packing them?
Answer: Yes, thank you! If you could size your dresses in small, medium, large and Xlarge (specifics are on the webpage) that would be a great help. Also, if you can enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope inside the box, we will send you a postcard that you can use for your receipt if you wish. Also, please do not attach anything to the dresses with straight pins. We have to remove them before shipping. You are welcome to enclose your notes without attaching them to the dresses.
Question: Is there a way that I can give to a specific project? Are donations Tax deductible?
Answer: Yes, LDFA is a non-profit 501c3. Our tax identification number is available to you. Check with your tax adviser concerning your donations. You can give on line and direct it to a specific project, such as school supplies, buckets of Hope, Bibles or shipping costs. You can also mail your check to: 24614 Curtis Drive, Brownstown, MI 48134. It is by your generous donations that this work continues.
To what countries in Africa ( and beyond) have the dresses gone ?
Central African Republic
Congo Democratic Republic
|Sao Tome and PrincipeSenegal
Other Countries Served
Thank you so much for your continued help and support! If you have other questions, let me know and I’ll add them to this FAQ list! I guarantee others will want to know, too!
You are making a difference, one little dress at a time!