The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 12, 2011

Teen’s project touching the world

By Kasey Fowler, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

FAIRVIEW — Meagan Rhodes is encouraging her community to help young girls in Africa by making simples dresses as a part of a 4-H community service project.

“It is part of a national program,” Rhodes said. “You can use fabric or pillowcases to make dresses for girls in Africa. Then you can ship them to Michigan. They will send them to Africa.”

Rhodes’ project is part of Little Dresses for Africa, a non-profit, Christian-based relief organization.

“My aunt told me about it,” the high-schooler said. “I researched it and found it would be really good for me.”

Little Dresses for Africa started after a small group of ladies returned from a short-term mission trip to Africa. They began to sew simple dresses made out of pillowcases to be distributed to young girls through the orphanages in Africa.

While searching for simple patterns, someone suggested a simple pillowcase pattern. Pillowcases are readily available and because the hem is already in the material, even an inexperienced seamstress can be involved in the project. The pillowcase patterns are simple, and they come in all sizes, materials and colors.

“They are really easy. It is just easy sewing. It is good for younger members; most ages can do it,” Rhodes said.

So far she has made and collected 267 dresses.

“4-H clubs, my FCCLA chapter, church groups, home and community education groups, as well as individuals have donated to the project. I made presentations to the groups,” Rhodes said.

She plans to continue to make and collect dresses and send them to Little Dresses for Africa in May.

To date the Little Dresses for Africa organization has received more than 130,000 dresses and donations from all 50 states that have been distributed in 22 countries of Africa. The organization also has distributed dresses, upon request, to countries in crisis, such as Honduras, Guatamala, Philippines, Mexico and Haiti, as well as in the U.S.

Simple patterns and more information are available at littledressesforafrica.org.