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Vincy woman dressing girls around the world

Vincy woman dressing girls around the world


A Vincentian woman living abroad has brought joy to several girls here, through the simple act of donating dresses made from pillowcases.{{more}}

Oneka Horne Tolentino and daughter Maia Tolentino who reside in Sugar Land, Texas, are actively involved in the “Dress a girl around the World” organization which seeks to provide dresses for needy girls.

“Dress a Girl Around the World” is a programme that is part of Hope 4 Women International, an organization geared towards empowering and dignifying impoverished and underprivileged women throughout the world.

Dress a Girl Around the World’s mission is to uplift the future women of our world by providing new dresses for the otherwise threadbare wardrobes of needy little girls. Most of these dresses are made, quite simply, from pillowcases. To date, the organization has delivered more than 38,000 dresses to girls in many nations.

Oneka and her daughter became involved after reading about the organization in a local publication. “I was completely moved by the notion that the simple humanitarian act of transforming a pillowcase into something beautiful and wearable could make such a tremendous difference to a child. I immediately volunteered for the upcoming “Sew Fest” as did my eight year old daughter Maia.” Oneka said.

They attended the “Sew Fest”, a gathering of volunteers all working in different capacities to produce as many dresses as possible during a six hour period. Her daughter Maia, however, became involved in the movement two weeks prior to the event, printing fliers and soliciting donations of pillow cases from the neighborhood.

Several dresses were handed over to the St. Benedicts Children Home in Georgetown. Oneka related her experience when handing over the dresses to the children at the home.

“We could not have anticipated the reaction of the St. Benedict’s girls. We could not have anticipated that a shy and initially reluctant Aneisha would don her dress and then play a lovely rendition on the steel pan for us. We could not have anticipated that Ari-N, wheelchair bound, would erupt into a fit of giggles when she discovered that her blue and white dress had a single pocket in the front. And we could not have anticipated how a feisty two year old Kianna, afflicted with Cerebral Palsy and unable to walk on her own, would absolutely refuse to take off her new dress once it was on,” she said.

They also handed over toys to the boys at the home.

Oneka added that it was a life lesson for her and her daughter as well. “Some of the most rewarding and unforgettable educational moments occur when that lesson is practical, tangible. For my daughter Maia, her lesson has come full circle today, as she was able to see where pounding the pavement and handling colourful swatches of fabric have led,” Oneka said.

She added that it is easy to become apart of the “Dress the girl around the world” initiative. “It can be as uncomplicated as a weekend gathering of friends, or a retirement home past time, a church group get-together or a group of Girl Guides working on a sewing badge. Either way, it is spare time well spent,” she said.

The dresses are also very simple to make. Since the pillowcase is already sewn on the sides and hemmed at one end, it’s just a matter of gathering the neckline, cutting out the armholes and adding shoulder ties at the other end to make the body of the dress. Pockets, buttons, ribbon and other embellishments can also be added.

For more information on the organisation persons can visit