BG’s Extend Love to the Poor: Pillowcase Dresses for Africa!

Another Balcony Girl’s lesson about extending love to the poor, this time we made Pillowcase Dresses for Africa.

The poor do not need our compassion or our pity; they need our help.
Mother Teresa

Last week my friend Jeannie opened her home again to the Balcony Girls and me. This time we came with old pillowcases (many from Good Will), sheets, curtains, sewing machines and the girl’s grandmas.

Up in the craft room many hands were working. As Jeannie laid out the plan for the day – who would cut, iron, and sew – we all got to work.

Our desire was to make as many dresses as we could for orphanages and poor little girls in other countries. It’s called Little Dresses for Africa.

Little Dresses for Africa is a non-profit 501c3, Christian-based organization which provides relief to the children of Africa. Simple dresses are made out of pillow cases and distributed through the orphanages, churches and schools in Africa to plant in the hearts of little girls that they are worthy!

With Little Dresses for Africa, there are many ways to provide help from starting or hosting your own sewing group, sizing and packing little dresses, or donating financially toward shipping costs.

You can read more, here.

While the girls were able to earn community service hours for school, at the same time, we learned a lesson of gratitude and love. And so I asked the girls:

What do you think about “stuff” and materialism?
Does it make you happy?
Did you realize that even adults fall into materialism and “wanting more?”
How does it make you feel to help the poor?

I explained to the girls that cultivating a heart of thanksgiving usually begins in our homes, with our parents. But there are other ways to learn how to reach out.

1. Look for an opportunity. (In our case, pillowcase dresses.)

2. Be aware and recognize when your heart feel envious toward things that you want. (Or the people who have them.)

3. Realize that God is our source of joy, and not “stuff,” beauty, fame, or money.

4. Happiness comes from self-less service, loving others, and gratitude – being grateful for what we’ve been given.

I’m thankful for this group’s attitude about “giving back.” It is true that parents help cultivate a generous heart in kids, and I’m also thankful for a school that promotes community service and learning how to give beyond themselves.

True fulfillment to me comes in days like we had last week. Everyone working together toward a goal, not focusing on pity, but on love.


  1. Wow – this is a great idea. My youngest is starting to sew, and I’d love to do this with her. What a meaningful project!

  2. Beautiful hearts all of you have. I love this. xoxo

  3. What a great cause! And the dresses are adorable. I know they will be greatly appreciated.

  4. What a great group project I feel like I am watching the Balcony Girls grow up. I’m confident that with your wonderful guidance they are going to be women to make a contribution to their community. Thanks for being a role model Sandy, so many young women need that.


  5. Oh, wow! What a wonderful idea! I have not heard of this organization, but I am sending your post on to my sewing friend–we have four girls between the two of us, and we already MAKE pillowcase dresses–what a wonderful way to get our GIRLS involved in a service project!
    Thank you so much for sharing this!

  6. I love the idea of the Balcony Girls…. What a beautiful community of folks you’ve surrounded yourself and your family with. And what a rich time together in serving the recipients of these dresses. I love how the Lord is using you to richly bless, mentor and encourage those He puts in your path. What a great post.

  7. What a beautiful way to teach the girls about charity and giving hope to someone in need.

  8. AWESOME!!!!!! I want to be in your group! {we’re making progress on the RSVPs and I requested an e-mail sent with a deadline! So hard when I’m not in charge- ha!}

  9. It really is so much more blessed to give than to receive and ironically, in doing this, we really “receive” a multitude of blessings. Thanks for the wonderful idea.

  10. Love love love this!! Those dresses look amazing!!

  11. Thank you so much for your help and also for passing this information on to others. That’s exactly how it’s grown to include all 50 states. Please also consider sending us names of orphanages, churches and communities in Africa that would like to receive these dresses. We are always looking for people to take them with their mission teams or addresses of people who will agree to distribute them to the children in their villages and communities in Africa. Thank you so much for all you do!
    Rachel O’Neill
    Founder and Director, Little Dresses for Africa

  12. What an awesome way to help the less fortunate! I so want to instill in my kids the desire to help others. Thank you for sharing!

  13. I’ve never heard of this organization, but now I totally want to make these with friends!!! Maybe a small group/wine club holiday event. Thanks for sharing!!!

  14. Thanks for introducing us to this group! I wish I had a sewing maching! I think this is something my sisters would love to do. I can’t wait to pass it on!

  15. what a super idea. I’ve never heard of this.

  16. I love this project. The principles you are instilling in the girls are “right on”, especially ” Happiness comes from self-less service, loving others, and gratitude – being grateful for what we’ve been given.”
    Yes, we adults need to be reminded of this too. It is so easy to get caught up in wanting more. My husband always says, “People are more important than things.” Giving to others, especially those in need, is such a privilege.

  17. What a beautiful labor of love and a lovely life lesson for the girls.

  18. Love, love this give back!!!

  19. Sandy, as usual what a great day. I personally really, really loved this BG girl day because I was able to participate! I love this project, it allows the girls not only to learn a lesson about themselves and their community but to think more globally and know that anyone can help from all over the world. Thank you again for sharing your sweet amazing spirit with the girls and introducing them to others who have so much to share with them, Jeannie was great.

  20. Pingback: Thanksgiving Day: It’s Love and Thankfulness — Reluctant Entertainer

  21. Pingback: Link Love and Giving Back

  22. What a totally awesome idea, thanks so much for sharing! I am a transplanted American now living in Australia, and plan to show this to the ladies at my church and see if we can get Australia on the bandwagon!! xoxo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *