Addressing the situation

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By Dave Kastner


Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa with a population of about six million people with low life expectancy and can be a tough place for a girl to live.

Only one in six Sierra Leone girls get the opportunity to attend high school. This is also a worldwide problem with over 66 million girls not in school.

But in Sierra Leone, it is perhaps even more of a problem with an estimated 23% of adolescent women already in marriages or unions. This means a girl is more likely to be a child bride than attend school.

Melbourne-based charity One Girl, founded in 2009 by Chantelle Baxter and David Dixon aim to change these statistics.

The charity group has been working in Sierra Leone since 2011 and has provided 200 girls with scholarships, and trained over 3000 girls in small business and financial literacy skills.

It has also given 1200 women and girls access to affordable, biodegradable sanitary pads.

One Girl have also built a new school and toilet block through their ‘School Awesomisation’ project which benefits over 270 students, and they plan to help other schools next.

School Awesomisation is a project that aims to rehabilitate schools that have become unsafe or lack toilets.

One Girl started a fundraising campaign in 2011 called Do It In A Dress, which has seen over 2500 participants across the world and raised just over $1 million for One Girl’s girls education projects in Africa.

CEO of One Girl Chantelle Baxter explains the impact of sending just one girl to school.

“She will marry later, have a smaller and healthier family and for every year she stays in school she’ll increase her income by at least 10% and invest 90% of it back into her family” Ms Baxter said.

She also added “Do It In A Dress is all about having fun while making a difference. If you believe every girl has the right to an education, it’s time to make a stand – in a school dress – for girls education!”

This year St Kilda local Kat Thompson is hosting a trivia night in a school dress at St Kilda Bowls Club on October 25 to raise funds for One Girl’s fifth annual Do It In A Dress campaign.

They are calling on Australians to complete a variety of challenges wearing a school dress to raise awareness and funds to educate girls across Africa. The trivia night is just one of many challenges in the campaign that Kat Thompson is taking on.

“Aside from the trivia night, I will also be wakeboarding in a dress and deadlifting 100kgs in a dress. Follow along and please donate to this amazing cause,” Ms Thompson said.

She also explained that “sometimes all you need is a bit of perspective and by being involved with One Girl, and hearing just how hard life is for the young girls of Sierra Leone, it makes my daily struggles pale in comparison.”


One Girl invites you to Do It In A Dress. Go to to sign up, pick a challenge and wear a dress in the biggest Do It In A Dress campaign yet! ?


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