There’s a lot of very pretty dresses being made for little girls around the world, as part of the Dress a Girl Around the World project – a lot of talented & kind bloggers are signed up to participate, and I think there was a recent blurb about it in Sew Hip magazine. I was intrigued & thinking about getting involved, because I love the idea of making lovely clothes to give as gifts. But after some looking around, I wont be getting involved with this one…
The Dress a Girl Around the World project is run by a Christian charity called Hope 4 Kids International. I imagine they have all the very best intentions, but their extremely conservative, evangelical Statement of Faith makes worrying reading. I am a believer myself, but I’m not a fundamentalist & I hate proselytising of any kind. I couldn’t get involved with projects set up by organisation that believes “in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; the saved unto the resurrection of eternal life and the lost unto the resurrection of damnation and eternal punishment”. That’s just hideous.
I’m no expert on this, but I’ve got interested in this subject since I read John Paul Flintoff’s Sew Your Own recently. I’ve read around a bit & come to the conclusion that gifts of charity given in kind (known as GIK) like this have significant negative impact. Giving away clothes (in spite of how lovely they are!) is not a great idea because:
- It’s disempowering to people who might prefer to choose and make their own clothes, given the opportunity.
- It undermines local businesses selling second-hand or locally made clothes.
- It undermines skills and traditional crafts.
- It can be culturally insensitive.
Here’s a blog post that addresses this subject with more insight and experience than I have:
Good intentions are not enough blog: 6 questions you should ask before donating goods overseas
So, if you have been making dresses for this project, I’d really urge you to rethink – perhaps a better way forward would be to sell the dresses yourself and send the cash instead…