Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress ... (James 1:27 NLT).
Robert and John, two young boys in the rural area of Kiryagonja, Uganda, were recently discovered by neighbors abandoned and alone in their crumbling mud and tin hut. The boys remember their mother vaguely, before she was cast out for reasons unknown by an alcoholic husband in a country where women have few rights. Eventually their father simply walked away, overwhelmed by the burden of caring for his sons. When found, the boys had not eaten in several days.
This is a true and far too frequent occurrence in Africa where means of sustainable income is even more difficult than the sparse living conditions. With the all too familiar images of starving children and dying adults, the whole problem can feel too overwhelming to any one individual to make a lasting impact.
One innovative company is making it easy and fashionable to make a difference. Pockets of Dreams™ is a unique clothing line of little girls' dresses. Every dress has 7 pockets, each pocket symbolizing the dreams that every child should have a chance to come true — dreams of family, friends, health, wealth, education, opportunity and love. The dresses are really cute but what makes them unique is that for each dress purchased, life gets a little easier in Africa.
Through partnerships with local seamstresses in Uganda, Pockets of Dreams administers the Ugandan Fabric Fund, which assists local seamstresses in buying fabric. As part of their relationship with Pockets of Dreams, Ugandan seamstresses make one dress and gift it to a child in need in their own community and then make a second dress which they sell to profit their own families — creating a viable in-home business. John and Robert's story may have turned out very differently if their mother had been empowered to create income to feed her young sons, assisted through Pockets of Dreams or a like program.
Local seamstresses are selected through in-country ambassadors. Seamstresses who have moderate sewing skills and motivation to run their own businesses are chosen, with preference given to women with school-aged children. The local ambassador administers the distribution of funds and oversees the donation of dresses to girls in nearby communities. This kind of grassroots activism insures that individuals are the direct recipients of the aid provided.
Recently, Pockets of Dreams, gifted a collection of new uniforms to a local school for impoverished children. The excitement was electric as Dianna Eckhardt, the Pockets of Dreams ambassador in Uganda, presented the dresses. For most of the girls, it was the first time they had ever received a brand new piece of clothing, much less one made especially for them with faith, hope and love. These dresses were sent with the absolute conviction and belief that life can and must become better for these young ladies, their mothers and their entire families.
Pockets of Dreams firmly believes there is a new wind in the air — a position of favor and restoration that can happen quickly when people both care and step forward to help. With God's help, we believe that change can happen quickly.
Many of the young girls we met in Uganda are nearly as optimistic as we are! For example, Judith, an 11-year-old, takes her studies very seriously, often chiding her classmates for talking out of turn. Rachel, a 9-years-old, would make you believe she was a first year medical student pushing herself daily to read her English lessons louder and longer than the day before. Rebecca, also 9-years-old, walks through her village every day in clothes so torn and tattered, they barely serve a purpose. But every day she smiles broadly and tells everyone who will listen of what grand new thing she has to be exuberantly happy about.
These young ladies emerged as leaders in their small village school on the day the Pockets of Dreams dresses arrived. They listened attentively as Dianna explained the meaning of the seven pockets. Then, Judith, Rachel and Rebecca carefully explained to the younger girls what every pocket meant — dreams of family, friends, health, wealth, education, opportunity and most importantly love and ensured they understand that somewhere — on the other side of the world — real people truly believe these things can and must come true for them.
For more information on Pockets of Dreams or to order a dress, please visit the website:
See also the YouTube video: