Bendigo gallery gets behind worthy cause

Staff and friends of Bendigo’s View Point Handmade Gallery are donning school dresses in a bid to raise money for the education of girls in Sierra Leone.

As part of the second annual “Do it in a dress” campaign, gallery owner Jess Cola will wear her school dress in the store every day this month.

Any donations will be used to help support girls in Sierra Leone attend school, including school fees, books, bags, uniforms, medical care and stationary.

According to the organisers behind “Do it in a dress”, a girl born in Sierra Leone is more likely to be sexually assaulted than she is to attend high school.

So far the charity has helped 150 girls attend school.

Ms Cola said she “jumped at the chance” to get involved. “I have constantly been hearing stats about how educating girls is the best thing you can do for the local economy,” she said.

“This is a really holistic approach, too. For example, teenage girls in Sierra Leone often miss one week of class a month simply because they have no access to sanitary napkins.

“So the donation covers things like that.”

As part of the fundraising drive, the gallery will also be holding two “crafternoons”, the first this Saturday.

Ms Cola said there were still a handful of tickets left to the event.

“It’s about coming together to enjoy a few cups of tea and making something,” she said.

“People are encouraged to bring a plate to share.”

Tickets are $10, with all proceeds going to “Do it in a dress”.

A second crafternoon is planned for October 27.

For more information, visit www.viewpointgallery.com.au or drop by the shop at 13 View Point, Bendigo.– ELISE SNASHALL-WOODHAMS

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