Thursday, 22 October 2009

Jireh Women - The best thing to come out of this project so far.

You have probably gathered that I love cake, Husband and booze by now. But one thing I really love that you may not have picked up on thus far… is old people. Old people warm my cockles, they seem to be the last generation with manners and their take on life the universe and everything is usually both wise, and more often than not hilarious.

I used to live next to a little old man called Sid. He was a super star. Everything about him is lovely. So much so that I’d get a burning urge to give him a great big cuddle every time I saw him (which I had to fight so I didn’t get into trouble for cuddling old people against their will). Then we moved, and there are no old people on my new road, no one that wears a shirt, tie and hat on a Sunday.

That’s why I was over the moon today to meet Gladys. I had arranged to meet Carol from Jireh Women at a local Church where she was giving a talk to the Women’s Fellowship. Gladys is the secretary and from the minute she sat down to talk to me, it took me all my power to not cuddle her senseless.

When Gladys realised why I had turned up, she sat with me right up until Carol arrived, introducing me to all her friends as “Josy” (which isn’t my name) and telling them why I was there. Her friend Elsie took great delight in telling me that she had stored her wedding dress in a Kwik Save bag for 40 years and that she could still get into her dress on her 40th anniversary.

The reason for Elsie’s subject of conversation was because I was sat there with Gladys and a very large suitcase. In the suitcase was my wedding dress, and I was going to give it away.

In October’s issue of Marie Claire, I read the first editorial piece so far that genuinely moved me so much so that I had to act. The report is about a western lady who lives in Uganda, who organised a mass wedding to give the women and men in the camp hope. The dresses were donated by women in the U.K. and enabled a handful of women and men to move on from their past of unthinkable atrocities, and begin working towards a happy future.

Jireh Women is an organisation that is collecting wedding dresses to send over to Uganda for a new project. A wedding dress hire shop, the proceeds of which will go to Ugandan women to begin building their own business, enabling them a means to their own independent sustainability.

After reading the article I didn’t think twice. I love my dress, but it’s been hanging in my mum’s wardrobe for the last 2 years as a reminder that I’ve put on a stone since I got married. I can no longer get in it without spilling out of all the nooks and crannies and so my only reason for still having it was pure sentiment.

I’ve thought of a number of uses for it over time from selling it, to making teddies and blankest out of it for my first child. After reading the article however, I knew that this was the destiny of my dress and contacted Carol at Jireh Women to arrange getting it to her.

As luck would have it she is local, and even luckier still was in my area tonight. So I went over to the church she was speaking at after work and got more than I bargained for. Not only did I meat Carol and Pearl who were lovely, I also met Gladys and friends who I could have spent all evening with if I didn’t have other arrangements.

This is probably the most significant event to come out of my year long project so far. It was emotional giving away my wedding dress, I was sad to think I would never see or touch it again. But the thought of that dress working to contribute to future of the women I read about made it easy to hand it over.

I did consider replacing the dress in my suitcase with Gladys, but quickly reminded myself what was socially acceptable and lawful when it comes to the abduction of little old ladies, so returned empty handed and cuddled my cat once home instead.