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Lillian Weber – 99 Year Old Makes A Dress A Day For African Children

For the last few years, Lillian Weber, a 99 year old woman from Iowa, has had a big goal. She wants to create 1,000 dresses for African children by her 100th birthday on May 6th, 2015. So far, she has made hundreds of dresses and is on track to achieve her goal!

Little DressesLillian helps support Little Dresses for Africa, a charity that provides dresses to young African children who are in need of clothing. Due to AIDS and other health problems, many young girls in the country of Malawi and elsewhere in Africa are orphans. Sometimes these very young girls are responsible for raising the other children in their family.

The mission of Little Dresses for Africa (and Lillian) is to show these girls that the world cares about them. Lillian makes one dress every single day for a child she will probably never meet. While she could make two per day, instead she focuses on making each one extra special. After Lillian reaches her goal, she intends to keep going and making more dresses.  At 99 years old, she is a great example of the difference we can all make no matter what our age.

If you are inspired to help Little Dresses for Africa, there are many ways you can do so. For ideas on how to get started read below. But first, here is an inspiring video that tells Lillian’s story:

Additional Resources:

Topics for Discussion:

  • What character traits does Lillian exhibit?
  • Do you know anyone like Lillian?
  • Talk about an older person who inspires you.

Take Action:

  • Visit the Little Dresses for Africa website to learn ways you can help.   It is easy to participate! You can donate pillowcases or material, sewing supplies, elastic or double bias tape. You can donate financially.  Or you can independently or form a group to sew. 
  • Learn how to get involved with the great efforts of Save the Children and The World Food Program to help children in Africa

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


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