Dresses And Hope For Girls Around The World

By Nicole Luna Cleburne Times-Review, Texas.

Somewhere in the world a girl will be wearing a dress made by someone in Cleburne, Texas.

The City Union of King's Daughters made about 400 dresses to support the "Dress A Girl Around The World project" for Hope 4 Women International. The objective is to make dresses for girls in more than 75 countries that could prevent them from falling victims to sexual predators.

"One of the statements says, 'We are joining together because we believe every little girl has the dignity to own at least one dress,'" said Barbara Boulware, a Friendship Circle member and vice president of King's Daughters International, said. "And that's what we want to do, help young girls around the world."

Boulware presented the project to the Johnson County circles and received positive feedback.

"When I first heard about the project I thought it would be a wonderful idea," Friendship Circle member Ellen Parnell said. "It gave us a chance to work together and it was such a blessing to make a dress for someone else."

In Cleburne, there are seven circles within King's Daughters: Victory, Watch and Work, Friendship, Girls of Grace, Hearts of Gold, Lend a Hand and In His Hands.

Each circle made dresses or contributed in some way. Friendship Circle made 261 dresses.

"We started in February and just kept going," Boulware said.

The In His Hands circle made 63 dresses, circle member Kay White said.

"Everyone wanted to participate but not everyone can sew so we made an assembly line to move quickly and give everyone a job to do," White said.

Boulware said members were able to find fabric at wholesale and buy sufficient fabric for enough dresses at a low price.

Members designed the dresses based on a simple pillowcase style that easily slips on and has straps that will adjust as the girl grows.

Each dress has a colorful pattern and with a small patch that reads Dress A Girl Around The World, an important factor in helping save girls' lives.

"When a predator sees a girl wearing the dress with the patch on it, they know someone is watching over the girl," Boulware said.

City Union mailed the dresses to Hope 4 International that will deliver the dresses directly to the girls. Hope 4 Women International President Rachel Cinader visits some of the countries and delivers the dresses directly to the girls.

"To me the most exciting thing is to put the dress over the old clothes and tell them, 'This dress was made especially for you because you are special,'" Cinader said. "This is not about the dress but it's about showing these girls love and that someone cares about them."

Although Cinader said she has no statistics to show the dresses prevent sexual predators, she has heard from Uganda officials that the dresses make them look less like a victim.

White has been to medical missions and said she sees the impact of poverty in different countries especially to children.

"We don't understand poverty here in the United States," White said. "We're very privileged to be able to provide clothing to these girls."

KD members agree the experience has given the group the opportunity to bond with one another while also helping someone in need.

"To know a child around the world would have clothing and be protected is just great," White said. "We hope this brings a lot of color and joy to these children's lives."

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