Supporters of Love

Friday, May 6, 2011

This Week's Challenge: The Star of our Event...Little Dresses for Africa

Photo provided by Rachel O'Neil (LDFA).

I have been so excited to present this lovely organization for months!  Back in January I was contacted by Jacqueline Carlisle, editor-in-chief of THINK Magazine , and we began a lovely friendship.  Her interests in philanthropic work was inspiring to me and when she suggested that we should plan a cross-border event together, she in Toronto and I in Arkansas, I was immediately on board.  Only I was not sure how to even go about planning an event and what organization would benefit from this effort?

That very same night on the world news, my husband and I were sitting on the couch listening to the usual "talking head" conversation when all of a sudden a beautiful story was told about this amazing non-profit called Little Dresses for Africa.  It almost moved me to tears and as my body became covered in chills my heart started to race.  I grabbed a pen and paper and began to write down as much information as I could to research later.
Photo provided by Rachel O'Neil.

"This is it," I told my husband, John, "I want to do something with this organization."

Upon further research, I was absolutely certain that this was the cause I wanted to promote and bring awareness to.  When I tried to call Rachel O'neil, the founder of LDFA, it was no surprise that I got her voicemail, but it was a surprise when she called me back two hours later!  We chatted only for a few minutes and the positive energy I received from the call only reinforced the fact that the universe was calling me to action.

Photo showing "pillowcase dresses" provided by LDFA.

As their website explains, Little Dresses for Africa is a non-profit 501c3 organization, which provides relief to the children of Africa. Simple dresses are made out of pillowcases and distributed through the orphanages, churches and schools in Africa to plant in the hearts of little girls that they are worthy!  Knowing the history of the girls in Africa and the difficult road that lay ahead, a small group of ladies returning from a short term mission trip to Malawi began to sew simple little dresses made out of pillow cases to be distributed to young girls through the orphanages in Africa.  To date they have received dresses and donations from all 50 states across the USA and received well over 130,000 little dresses that have been distributed in 22 countries of Africa! They have also been able to distribute dresses to countries in crisis, when requested such as Honduras, Guatemala, Philippines, Mexico and Haiti, as well as right here in the US in the Appalachian Mountains and South Dakota.
Happy children of Thobola care of LDFA.

We at The Compassion Fashion Project feel that we do not want to limit our efforts to local charities alone.  As we reach out to other non-profits who are connected in supporting communities nationally and globally, our message will spread resulting in a more powerful connection to humanity as a whole.  Divas Dressing Darlings will be our first event and introduction to our community.  We hope to bring awareness to Little Dresses for Africa, raise pillowcases and monetary donations for the shipping charges.  The Compassion Fashion Project believes that our connection to this particular organization is based in the fact that the treatment of little girls (and boys) in Africa is typically one of abuse and neglect resulting in children not having the proper clothing they need. Even the children who have families taking care of them tend to have such limited resources that oftentimes they do not have the means to properly clothe their children. Little Dresses for Africa is making this happen by not only supplying little girls with clothing, but hand-made with tender loving care, just for them, one of a kind dresses.  This proves that not only are we giving these children the vital resources that they need, but we are providing them with LOVE and HOPE.  Patterns are also designed for little boy britches, so we do not leave out any little ones that need our help.
Beautiful Malawi girl modeling her pillowcase dress.  Photo provided by LDFA.

Over the next several weeks, I will be featuring our incredible sponsors one by one who are involved in the production of this event.  I hope to see you there and if you cannot make it, but want to help, please contact me at: and I will give you the address to send your pillowcase and/or sewing machine donation.  I think the video at the top of this post says it all..."It's LOVE!"

Bloggers, please feel free to download this artwork and post to your blog!


Meredith Cavaness Corning for donation information:

Below is a video featuring Nancy Zieman from the television show "Sewing with Nancy."  She talks about Rachel O'Neil and then shows you how to sew these cute little dresses on your own!


  1. I am so touched by this post !!!!I wish you all the best for this cause and i am really happy that we have people like you in this world!!
    miss Margaret Cruzemark

  2. Gosh, thanks Margaret! I can't do it without my fellow bloggers, readers, team, sponsors, and just overall the ones who believe in me and what I'm doing. Love you girl!

  3. Friend! You are amazing. I mean I have not much else to say. This cause is so beautiful and I remember when you were just reaching out to them. I can not express how valuable I think your work is and how I am constantly impressed by you.

  4. Jamillah, you are pretty amazing yourself, sweetie. I admire that you have taken on ethical trade in fashion and have made that part of your mission on your blog. Gosh, we have known each other a while now, haven't we? Birds of a feather...

  5. Fantastic Meredith! Just love what you are doing here, thank you so much. Those dresses and little girls are just adorable and deserve to feel pretty :-)

  6. Aren't they precious?! I love the photo of the little girl holding the doll, I just want to scoop her up and give her hugs and kisses:-)

  7. This is so inspirational, you`re great for helping out like this! :)

  8. Thanks for posting our event artwork on your blog Nina! You're the best, doll~Meredith

  9. Rachel O'neil, the founder of LDFA, wrote to me today as she has read this article and here is what she said:

    I really love what you've done. Thank you so much for your kind comments! Looking forward to working with you.
    Love and gratitude,

    Rachel O'Neill
    24614 Curtis Drive
    Brownstown, MI 48134
    (734) 637-9064