What? Yes, I said, “Do it in a dress!” And it ain’t just for Aussies anymore!
Do It In a Dress is for both guys and gals. Seriously. And it all started with - “One Girl”.
One Girl is a non-profit organization founded in Australia, that helps women and girls gain access to education, especially those in Sierra Leone, West Africa. (So yes, come with me – we’re going global on this blog.)
I was introduced to this campaign by my friend Sharni Burgess who lives on the other side of the world from me. Sharni is a world traveler with a big heart, and she stands behind what she believes in. Turns out she’s not the only one who believes in this cause, as even Oprah Winfrey has put her best feet forward this past October when she donated a pair of her purple satin Christian Louboutin shoes to raise money for the campaign.
I bet you’re asking: “What exactly is this campaign about, and why is it gaining attention?” The sad and terrible truth is that “a girl born in Sierra Leone is more likely to be sexually assaulted than she is to attend high school.” Shocking – but we can change that.
So if you are reading this, you are probably saying it to yourself, “I don’t live in West Africa, so why should I care?”, and two, “I don’t have money to give, so what’s in it for me?”
See, I believe in a world where if people help others, good will come back to them in some way, some day. It may not be in the same form or at the same time, but it’s the “pay it forward” principle.
The “Do It In a Dress” movement picks up momentum every October where both men and women, all over the world, put on school (uniforms) dresses, perform challenges, and ask people to sponsor them so they can raise funds for projects in Sierra Leone.
Imagine surfing, skiing, dancing, or sky diving in a school girl dress! Funny right? The eye-catching and attention capturing concept for a good cause is a genius way to bring in the bucks.
So why didn’t I write about this in October? Because one month out of the year is not enough to fundraise for this cause – for any cause.
The founders Chantelle Baxter and David Dixon started the One Girl campaign in 2011, and since then, with the help of supporters have raised over $300,000.
My Australian friend, Sharni Burgess, first became involved with “One Girl” in June of 2012 when she joined as the organization’s Volunteer Coordinator. (And by the way, I was tempted to leave the spelling as “organisation” with an Aussie flair because certain words from Down Under are just cool that way… insert Crocodile Dundee accent here.)
“Last year I wore a school dress every day for the entire month of October. This included turning up to work each day in school attire, as well as all social events, and gatherings. I also organized a Do It In a Dress Bowling Day at my dad’s bowling club, which was such a fantastic day. The men (both young and old) absolutely loved getting their school dresses on and raising as much money as they could in support of DIIAD. I also convinced my mum and dad to make a YouTube video that saw them dancing to ‘Gangnam Style' in their school dresses which was a total hit!”
“We have had men and women from all over the world sending in photos and posts of them doing some pretty extreme challenges in school dresses – it’s amazing!” continues Burgess. “The co-founders are based in Melbourne, Australia, but there are a great team of volunteers in each state who play a vital role in the DIIAD movement which is a big reason why it has been so successful in Australia. “
What if you want to participate and don’t have a school girl dress? Well, you can buy one here, or you can borrow one from a friend, and some of you may even have one from days gone by that you can don. Yes, they sell ones just for guys, too! That’s what makes this equally cool and fun!
“Anyone can participate anywhere in the world, which makes it even more awesome! Men and women have been participating all year, but our main campaign month is October. It’s so easy to get involved,” explains Burgess.
I asked her what the best school girl outfit was that she’s seen so far, and she was hard pressed to pick just one.
“Oh that's a tough one. I have seen too many school girl outfits; it's hard to judge! I'd have to say the men from the Doutta Gulla Bowling Club put forward some pretty top competition. It's such a wonderful feeling knowing that everyone goes to so much effort to get involved. It’s such a fun movement with inspiring reasons behind it."
Ok, so if you are thinking about doing it in a dress, too, here’s what you do:
“Step 1: Sign up at http://doitinadress.com/ You can register as an individual, or create a team of your own. Step 2: Pick a challenge! Or select a challenge from the list on the website (Be prepared as some challenges are pretty ‘out- there’.) Step 3: Grab a school dress - you can buy one for just $20 or you can pull out one of your old school dresses. Step 4: Raise $300 - Three hundred dollars is the cost to give one girl in Sierra Leone access to education. The money raised goes towards the 14 communities that One Girl works in across Sierra Leone. Step 5: DO IT IN A DRESS - Do your challenge in a dress and share it to the world,” explains Burgess.
So…for your next fundraiser or generous gesture, “Will you wear a school dress so that a girl in Africa can wear one too?” like the One Girl slogan promotes? Go for it! Do it in a dress!