Little Dresses for Africa

posted Jun 25, 2015, 7:00 AM by Kathleen Power

 St. Patrick’s High School Students Sew for Africa

At the end of a semester, high school students in classes throughout the province engage in end-of-course projects called ‘Rich Summative Tasks’.  The tasks require students to use their knowledge and demonstrate skills learned at the end of a period of study.  Few of these tasks are as creative and rewarding as the one given by teacher Stephanie McConnell of St. Patrick’s High School to her Fashion Design students.

Stephanie involves her students in a very worthy cause. Three years ago, Stephanie became aware of a charity by the name of “Little Dresses for Africa”. This charity, founded in Michigan in 2008, sends hand-crafted clothing to children in countries throughout Africa. Simple dresses for girls and shorts for boys are sewn by volunteers and then delivered to schools, churches and orphanages for distribution to children in need.  


Although the original dress pattern calls for a pillowcase, Stephanie teaches her students to sew pinafores which require more extensive skills. The students enjoy working on this project very much, not only because they produce colourful, pretty dresses, but they experience a wonderful feeling of satisfaction by using their talents to help others.  Students are given the opportunity to sew shorts as well.

On June 24, 2015 as the school year drew to a close, Stephanie was busy packing up her students’ creations.  Beautiful dresses and practical shorts were being bundled for transportation across the ocean. “Changing lives one little dress at a time” is the motto of Little Dresses for Africa. Indeed involvement with this charity also changes the hearts of our students.