Since last summer, women from ALIVE Wesleyan Church in Central, S.C., have been sewing dresses and sending them to other countries for young girls to wear.

The dresses have been sent to Nepal, Africa, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Sometimes the dresses are shipped, other times they are sent with missionaries or church groups affiliated with The Wesleyan Church. These aren’t just any dresses. Each dress is prayed over and made with love and serves an important purpose. According to the Dress a Girl Around the world website, “village pastors tell us that a girl wearing a new dress presents an appearance that she is well cared for and may discourage would-be predators.”

The ladies from ALIVE Wesleyan first learned about Dress a Girl around the World, a campaign that is part of Hope 4 Women International, at the Wesleyan Women Alive women’s conference held in Nashville in 2015. Dress a Girl “dreams of a world in which every girl has at least one new dress.” Ever since that April 2015 conference, about 20 women in this group have sewn dresses for girls of all ages. More than 400 dresses have been made and collected in the last year, just in this one local church.

“Everybody has their own vision as to which age of girls they want to help but all have the same goal,” said Jeanette Childs, who has spearheaded this initiative at ALIVE Wesleyan Church.

One missionary in Africa reported how the young girls there were so grateful for their new dresses:

The girls were really in awe. They don’t get new things. Children in African culture, especially in poor situations, get the scraps in terms of food, and they wear rags. I have seen it. So these dresses are a gift beyond their wildest dreams. God knows this labor of love is making a whole lot of girls know they are loved and that someone cares–all in Jesus’ name.

Some of the women have provided underpants, t-shirts, and hair bows to accompany the dresses.

A dedication service was held at ALIVE Wesleyan in April 2016, where a large number of dresses was collected and prayed over before being sent off to various locations.