Dress a Girl Around the World
Last month, the Whitney Point United Methodist Church hosted a celebration of the 10,000 dresses their Sew ’n Sews ministry group sewed for Dress a Girl Around the World. Click here to read more about how the Holy Spirit, donations, and the sewers from Whitney Point UMC who met once a week contributed to the success of their ministry.
This ministry was spurred because of the Dress a Girl Around the World campaign – under Hope 4 Women International, a 501(c)(3) organization – in which groups around the world have sewn dresses for young girls in impoverished communities since 2006.
Rachel Cinader, the founder of Dress a Girl Around the World, said the campaign didn’t begin the way she imagined.
Dress a Girl Around the World came out of Rachel’s calling while she was in Uganda to create a project where local women would make dresses for thousands of little girls in their communities who wore torn rags as dresses.
When Rachel came back to the United States and news about the girls in need of dresses spread like wildfire on social media, hundreds of women offered to make dresses. Rachel was hesitant; she said, “I had to keep telling people, ‘That’s not my vision!’”
But God had different plans.
Rachel decided to test the waters and see how others’ ideas of women in the United States making dresses for impoverished communities could make a positive impact. She sent 50 dresses with a high school student going on a mission trip to an orphanage in Honduras. When the student returned with photos of girls beaming with pride in their new dresses, Rachel was convinced that this could be a great ministry.
Within a short period of time, Rachel created Dress a Girl Around the World. Today, over 800,000 dresses have been made from sewers in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Japan, and many other countries around the world.
Dress a Girl Around the World is effective not only in dressing girls in impoverished communities, but also creating beautiful friendships among the sewers; building confidence and a feeling of love in the little girls; and helping prevent trafficking of the girls.
“I can’t take credit for this – I know that God’s hands are all over this ministry when I see women who thought they no longer had a purpose dust their sewing machines off,” Rachel said. “They feel like, ‘Yes! I’m doing something,’ and they pray over a little girl who is going to receive the dress. There’s nothing in the world that is more beautiful to me that putting a beautiful dress over a little girl that is wearing rags.”
Dress a Girl Around the World provides patterns for ministries to use when making dresses for girls. There are ambassadors all over the world for the campaign, and these ambassadors sew the Dress a Girl Around the World labels onto the dresses and send them to Hope 4 Women, who then hand-deliver the dresses on various mission trips. The ambassador the Whitney Point UMC sends their dresses to is Angels of Mercy out of Rochester.
Some may question what a simple dress can do for a young girl; Dress a Girl Around the World has identified four additional amazing gifts the girls gain when they receive a dress:
- They receive dignity. When a vulnerable girl living in extreme poverty is given a beautiful new dress and told it was made especially for her by someone who loves her and prays for her, it gives the girl a sense of self-worth and dignity.
- Their health is protected. When a girl wears a dress with the Dress a Girl Around the World label, this indicates the girls are under protection of an organization and deters would-be predators.
- The girls receive joy. Imagine a little girl being given a new beautiful dress made just for her and being celebrated like a princess. She twirls around in joy, with a wide smile. For most of these girls, this is a new, exhilarating experience.
- Most importantly, these girls receive love. As a Christian organization, the foundation of everything Dress a Girl Around the World does is show the love of Jesus.