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Let's Do It In A Dress.

Chantelle

by CHANTELLE BAXTER

Poke your head in any club house at the end-of-footy-season booze-up and you’ll be sure to see it: blokes in dresses.

Dressing up is funny. The fact that a girl born in Sierra Leone is more likely to be sexually assaulted than she is to attend high school: not funny at all.

And that’s what Do It In A Dress is all about: helping the world’s poorest women and girls by wearing a school dress.

My Story:

I have seen first hand that when a girl is educated, everything changes. She’ll marry later, have a smaller, healthier family and for every year that she stays in school she’ll increase her income by 10% and invest 90% of that back into her family.

Four years ago, I got tired of living a life that revolved around mind-numbing work, drinking, shopping and parties. So I packed my bags and jumped on a plane to volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa. During my travels, I met a young girl called Brenda. Brenda had spent two days wandering the streets, asking strangers for donations to pay her school fees. During her days on the streets, she’d been spat on, kicked and abused. After offering Brenda $40 to go to school I thought to myself, Is this all that is needed to change a girl’s life?

When I got back to Australia, I knew I couldn’t go back to my old way of living. So, together with David Dixon, we co-founded the charity One Girl. Our focus is to provide life’s most basic rights to the world’s poorest women and girls: education and employment.

The Fundraiser:

To fund the work we do, we’re gearing up for a fundraising campaign with a difference: Do It In A Dress.This October more than 1000 people from all over the world will wear a school dress so that girls in Sierra Leone can wear one too.

Already, we’ve seen participants striking yoga poses in school dresses and others going out to dinner in school dresses -iIt’s easy to do and a whole lot of laughs. You can register as an individual or a team. So rally your co-workers, your friends or your netball team and think of a challenge you want to do in a school dress. What would people pay money to see you do in a dress?

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Our Projects:

Funds raised will support 150 girls to attend primary and high school. It costs just $240 to give a girl access to education for one year. One Girl provides everything a girl needs to go to school: books, bags, tuition fees, medical care, stationary, and you guessed it, school dresses.

One of the other things we provide is the humble sanitary pad. The majority of women and girls in Sierra Leone don’t have a hygienic way of managing their period. They may use five pairs of underwear, kitchen sponges, old cloth or whatever else is at hand. If you’ve ever been stuck somewhere public without a tampon or a pad at that time of month, you’ll know the feeling of wanting the world to just swallow you up. The reality for so many girls who don’t have access to sanitary pads means the situation is beyond a once off embarrassment – it’s a week without school, every month.

To address this issue, we’ve created LaunchPad, a social business that trains local women to sell affordable, biodegradable sanitary pads in their communtiies. Each woman  receives basic health and hygiene training, financial literacy, and marketing training. She is responsible for educating her community about the importance of menstrual hygiene. When she sells 100 packs of pads, she’ll earn herself $10.00 – and she can invest that money back into her family.

So if you believe that every girl in the world has the right to an education, then get your school dress and register. And if you know a blokey-bloke who’s footy season is almost over, let them know they can raise money for an amazing cause while lip syncing to Britney in his sister’s school dress.

The impact of a tiny contribution makes an enormous difference. So let’s do this – let’s pick a challenge, let’s raise $240, let’s Do It In A Dress!

Chantelle is the co-founder of One Girl, a self-care blogger, aspiring yoga goddess and red wine enthusiast. She dabbled in the world of property investment at 21, started a web design business when she was 23 and then gave it all up to start One Girl. Now she’s 27 One Girl is on the cusp of something epic and she’s driving full steam ahead to change the lives of millions of girls around the world. If you want to find out more about Chantelle, check out her About Page.

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