The Difference a Dress Can Make

In 2009, a sewing group called “Sewing for Hope” began at Trinity-by-the-Cove Episcopal Church in Naples, Florida. Since its founding, more than 1,000 new and colorful dresses have been shipped abroad to orphan girls whose lives have been ravaged by the AIDS crisis.
Proudly wearing their new dresses, these girls are now eager and able to attend church and go to the market. Without decent clothing, the children will not venture out in the village to attend church as the feel they are dishonoring God by wearing ragged clothing in church.
“We are told that it is extremely meaningful to these little girls, most of whom have lost both parents to the AIDS crisis, to know that some special person far away cared enough about them to hand sew a dress especially for them,” explains Lis Wilson, “Indeed, each dress is sewn with love and prayers for the little girl who is to receive it in Africa.”
The “Sewing for Hope” ministry is quickly expanding across the United States. The dressmaking project is thriving in many groups and homes in the Southborough/Boston Massachusetts area, and recent shipments of dresses have been received from Oklahoma, Georgia, Maine and several other individuals and groups in Florida. Also, Tumaini Fund Canada has a very active and productive group in British Columbia.
In addition to making dresses, volunteers are also knitting sweaters for the children as the nights in Tanzania can be quite chilly. And, they haven’t forgotten about the boys! “Sewing for Hope” recently began sewing simple, drawstring shorts for the younger boys of Tumaini Fund. “Sewing for Hope” invites more volunteers to join their mission. For those unable to volunteer, donations to purchase fabric and cover shipping are greatly appreciated. For more information, contact Lis Wilson at


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