It’s overwhelming sometimes to figure out how to help, where to start, how to make an impact.  Here is an easy solution that you can accomplish today or any day this month.  Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade store in Green Hills, is collecting new pillowcases to be repurposed into simple dresses for African girls who have not much else.  These dresses are more than clothing:  they represent hope.  With over 300,000 dresses distributed, the children who receive them also receive a tangible message that people, even across vast oceans,
care and that each child matters.

Little Dresses for Africa is a non-profit Christian-based organization dedicated to providing relief and hope to the children of Central Africa.  With the wide-spread AIDS pandemic, young girls are many times left orphaned, often becoming the primary caretakers for younger siblings.  Little Dresses for Africa was started to show these girls that they are also cared for and to bring them a bit of joy from a new dress made from a simple pillowcase. Shorts for boys are collected and distributed, as well.  Volunteer teams travel to villages in Africa to distribute the dresses, and each distribution gathering provides a chance for the volunteers to teach about nutrition, clean water, sanitation and family skills.  More importantly, it’s a chance to spread love.

Check out the progression of this girl in the pink shirt waiting to see if she, too, gets a dress:

Her friend holds up a new dress. Miss Pink Blouse is wondering if she will get one.


Miss Pink Blouse is still patiently waiting and looking.


Yes! She scores a beautful yellow dress!


Happiness from a simple pillowcase.


Can you help?  All you need to do is drop new pillowcases off at the Ten Thousand Villages store during the month of August. I’m envisioning neighborhood drives to collect pillowcases, women scanning through overstock sites to order pillowcases, first month of school celebrations where can children learn from the start that part of their education is to make an impact on the world – and what better way than by helping other children?

Ten Thousand Villages will offer a 15% off voucher for anyone donating new pillowcases. This discount in turn will spur on buying from this store that supports villages throughout this section of the world (among others).  Sales will make an even a bigger impact on the lives of families in Central Africa.  A win-win to be sure.

Volunteers from all over the world help with this effort including gathering pillowcases, sewing and actually going to Africa to distribute.  Here in Nashville, “Members of Neely’s Bend Church of Christ have been sewing dresses for young African girls for over 4 years”, reports Executive Director, Lisa Pierce.  “It’s amazing to see their transformation of a simple household item into a priceless gift for a child who has nothing.”  The pillowcases gathered in August will be sewn here in Nashville by volunteers at Neely’s Bend and then sent to deserving children.

Gather your girlfriends, take up office collections, talk to your kids.  But, don’t let August go by without a purchase of a pillowcase –or many– and a drop off at Ten Thousand Villages.

Ten Thousand Villages of Nashville
3900 Hillsboro Pike, Suite 20
Nashville, TN  37215