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Marystown Central High’s Helping Hands support Little Dresses for Africa

Gloria Dawe made sure every stitch is perfect as she worked on one of the many dresses the Helping Hands group at Marystown Central High School produced for the Little Dresses for Africa project.
Gloria Dawe made sure every stitch is perfect as she worked on one of the many dresses the Helping Hands group at Marystown Central High School produced for the Little Dresses for Africa project.

A line of sewing machines.

That was the first sight that greeted people upon entering the library at Marystown Central High School (MCHS) on Monday evening.

Volunteers from The Thimble Box, a local sewing and quilting supply store, assisted members of the Helping Hands group from MCHS as they sewed pillowcase dresses to be donated to the Little Dresses for Africa program.

“We’re doing the little dresses and they come in four different sizes – small, medium, large and extra large,” explained Jackie Peach, teacher facilitator for the group.

Peach was inspired to get involved with the cause after she visited Tanzania in July. 

Volunteers in Marystown have given their time over the past number of weeks to help sew over 60 dresses for the Little Dresses for Africa program.

The Helping Hands are involved in a variety projects, including the Me to We organization, where they collect funds to purchase goats and chicks for families in developing countries.

“I wanted something that the (group) would learn from and a hands-on activity, so I went online searching and I found this group in (the) northern (United) States,” she said.

The Little Dresses for Africa program was founded in 2008 by Racheal O’Neill. According to their website, the initiative provides relief to vulnerable children throughout the continent of Africa and beyond.

Peach explained that she does not sew herself, so she approached Sherri Dodge, owner of The Thimble Box to see if she could assist in the project.

“She jumped all over the idea, and it just took off from there,” Peach said.

The ladies from The Thimble Box not only helped to sew the items but also stepped in to teach others how to operate the machines.

Dodge said there are a number of reasons why she got involved with the project.

“One would be you’re helping the less fortunate out,” Dodge said.

It also allows a younger generation to learn new skills.

“(It) teaches them about sewing, quilting, ironing and those sorts of things because it is a dying trait here,” she added.

Helping Hands member Courtney Kilfoy said it is nice doing something for others.

“I think it is wonderful,” she said. “Knowing that all of our hard work it going to go somewhere they are going to appreciate it — it is not going to be gone to waste, someone is going to enjoy it.”     

Kilfoy has enjoyed being able to do the work the group has done since she joined the Helping Hands three years ago as a Grade 10 student.   

Along with the dresses, the group also produced a hundred sani-panties and donated a pair of underwear with each one they’ve made.

“In a lot of these Third World countries or developing countries the girls once a month can’t/won’t go to school,” Kilfoy said.

Women do not have the option to go to a store and buy hygiene products, she added.

Peach said the group has had an overwhelming amount of support from the community for their latest efforts.

“People are dropping off fabric, people are dropping off underwear, and giving money for us to buy the underwear to put in with the sani-panties and so on,” she said.

colin.farrell@tc.tc

@Colin_TCMedia

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