What if every girl had just one dress?
Around a week before we were due to come to Cambodia, I came across a UK not for profit organisation on Facebook called Dress a Girl Around the World UK. They encourage and enable volunteers to make dresses and then arrange to distribute to girls around the world who live in poverty. They were asking for volunteers to with access to projects around the world to help to distribute the dresses that their volunteers had made.
I sent a quick email to Jacqui Onslow at Dress a Girl to offer our services to take some dresses out to Cambodia and a few days before we were due to arrive a box packed full of lovely dresses arrived, these were duly packed in our cases before our adventure began. My parents work at an International Church CFSR in Siem Reap, Cambodia which brings them into contact with several NGO’s that work with poor families in Cambodia.
One of their Church members Michaela (who works for OMF International) offered to take us to the village she is working with to meet the kids that come to their Sunday school and give out some of the dresses.
This village was relocated by the Cambodian Government from slums along the river and each family was given a small plot of land to build their new home with a ready built toilet cubical. The government also provided the village with electrictity, which a lot of villages on Cambodia will not have. Although the standard of living appears to be better at this new village than it was in the slums, as many of the families are very poor as they lost their source of income when they were moved away from the river.
The Sunday school is run by the local Cambodian Pastor assisted by Michaela and her colleague Cindy and many village kids attend. They are provided with a snack at the end of the teaching. On the morning that we visited attendence was low as there was also a ceremony happening at the village Buddhist Pagoda, but there were probably around 30 kids there that morning, mainly girls.
We sized the dresses against the girls so they all got one that fitted nicely. Cambodian children tend to be a lot smaller than kids in the UK, especially the poorer ones.
Girls comparing their dresses…
We also handed out some lollies, which the kids were clutching as tightly as their new dresses.
These two girls with matching dresses couldn’t wait to put theirs on.
Waiting for their snacks.
(I think some of the kids were not too happy having to pose to have their photograph taken!)
There were a few dresses left over that will be passed to a Cambodian man called John, who works with families who live in the slums at the rubbish dump, some of the larger dresses may be suited to the older girls or smaller adults their. John has been asked to provide us with photos
The girls all said thanks to the people in the UK who made their beautiful dresses.