If you have ever wanted to use your sewing talents for a greater good, you are not alone. Simply making and donating handsewn items to charity is a worthwhile activity in itself.
However, there are many organisations who have established their good works around the premise that people who love to sew also have good hearts and a desire to create positive change through their hobby.
Here are five charities that you may want to look into to find out how your sewing skills can help make the world a better place.
Little Dresses for Africa is a USA-based charity that sends simple pillowcase dresses out to Africa. Founded by Rachel O’Neill in 2008, the charity has sent more than 6 million dresses out to young women and children in Africa since it started. Their belief is that these dresses plant the seed that ‘they are worthy’, and through delivery of the dresses relationships are formed in communities whereby further support can be given through clean water, education, and community. Even a beginner sewer can master making a pillowcase dress, however you can also help in many other ways; visit their ‘10 ways to make a difference‘ page to find out how you can get involved.
Similarly, Dress a Girl Around the World invites sewers to make high quality, beautiful dresses that can be given out to girls around the world. They believe this demonstrates how worthy these children are, that someone cares enough to have made them this gift, and that owning a new dress (sometimes their only dress) is a trigger for increasing their sense of self worth and dignity. Since they were founded in 2006, the charity has delivered over 1 million dresses to girls in 81 different countries. They also have downloadable patterns for easy-to-sew dolls, because as they state on their website, ‘all around the world girls love dolls’. Find out more by visiting their website here.
The Donkey Sanctuary is an international animal welfare organisation, that exists to protect donkeys and mules, as well as support those people reliant on donkeys for their livelihood. Through education and advocacy, rescuing and rehoming, veterinary care and research, they are currently reaching 1.8 million donkeys and mules throughout the world. You can offer your sewing skills to support this charity by using their downloadable sewing pattern to make some very cute little felt donkeys, which they go on to sell to raise funds. Find out more by visiting their website here.
Days for Girls distributes feminine hygiene kits to young women throughout the world, supporting them to break the cycle of poverty and live in dignity. For many women, their period means they must take time out from school every month. Days for Girls has an enterprise programme and patented pattern for kits, so they they can be produced to a high quality and sold at an affordable rate, ensuring the process is sustainable and supports local ownership. You can use your sewing skills to make whole or parts of the kits, which are washable and long-lasting whilst being attractive and comfortable. Find out more by visiting their website here.
Pyjama Fairies is a UK based charity that provides brightly coloured pyjamas and surgical gowns to children and babies in hospital. The founders believe these items give children an ’emotional boost’ and help them to know they are not defined by their illness. You can become a ‘Pyjama Fairy’ and help sew items, as well as support with fundraising activity. New fairies need to sew some sample clothes in order to ‘get their wings’ (garments are sewn to strict guidelines, which is understandable), but following that you become part of a supportive community of volunteers. Find out more by visiting their website here.
If you’ve been feeling inspired to use your sewing skills for charity, I hope this has given you some useful starting points. And if you think any of your followers on Pinterest might like to get involved, feel free to spread the word by sharing my pin…