THE DRESS PROJECT was founded by Jocelyn Kumwenda and Jody Stephenson in 2013. Jocelyn and Jody had been partnering for years to support school fees and other educational expenses for a young girl in Malawi. In the process of her story, they discovered many other young girls who did not have the basic tools needed to continue school and to make a choice about the women they would like to become.
In a country where many people live on less than $2 per day, school fees can be too large of a burden to bear. High school in Malawi may cost $35-150 per semester and there are three terms per school year. These fees do not include the cost of transportation to and from school, mandatory uniforms, or expenses for basic necessities or examination fees. As a result, many girls stop at Grade 8, leaving them vulnerable without opportunity.
Jocelyn and Jody decided to address the need for educational support with abundant existing resources. Many women keep out of use dresses in their closets for years because each dress comes with a story of a wedding, prom, holiday party or special evening. What if there was a way to remember them and then these dresses were given a chance for a second story? Donated dresses can be featured on our website and will create a promise of a future story, to be worn again, toward new memories. THE DRESS PROJECT believes that these dresses not only offer a second life to another wearer but also offer young African scholars the opportunity to complete secondary school and have a choice and a voice in their future.