Brooklynite Sheena Matheiken has been wearing the same little black dress since May 2009 to benefit the Akanksha Foundation, a group working to give children in India's slums equal access to education.
OK, full disclosure: a crafty pal whipped up 7 copies of the exact same little black dress. Each day, Matheiken posts a photo of how she's reworked her dress into a totally unique look.
So what does a dress have to do with education?
Matheiken grew up in India, where school uniforms were ubiquitous:
I was raised and schooled in India where uniforms were a mandate in most public schools. Despite the imposed conformity, kids always found a way to bend the rules and flaunt a little personality. Boys rolled up their sleeves, wore over-sized swatches, and hiked up their pants to show off their high-tops. Girls obsessed over bangles, bindis and bad hairdos. Peaking through the sea of uniforms were the idiosyncrasies of teen style and individual flare. I now want to put the same rules to test again, only this time I'm trading in the catholic school fervor for an eBay addiction and relocating the school walls to this wonderful place called the internet.
Akanksha does more than just get kids to school. The foundation helps support underprivileged kids to make sure they stay in school. These kids face challenges that many of us can't even imagine. According to the foundation's website, "Of the children in school, around 50% drop out by class 5, and of the remaining less than 10% finish class 10." Enrollment numbers are dropping steadily, especially in rural areas.
The Uniform Project has already raised over $32,000 for the Akanksha Foundation. It takes about $360 to send one Indian child to school, which means that little black dress has scored a chance at an education for almost 90 kids!
Matheiken's eBay addiction has paid off, too! The eBay Green Team is matching donations through the holiday season up to $15,000. The Green Team has pitched in to support the project in the past. In October, they helped campaign to raise $12,160 for the kids of Akanksha.
With the help of the donation-matching, Matheiken is hoping to raise $63,000 for the foundation, sending 175 underprivileged Indian kids to school!
If you'd like to support the Uniform Project, head on over to their donations page! She's also taking donations of vintage and handmade accessories to help mix things up with that little black dress.