Elizabeth Lonsdale Zambia

Elizabeth Lonsdale, 10, of Snow Hill, traveled to Zambia in June for a wedding, and brought homemade pillowcase dresses and stuffed animals to give to children in the African nation. 

Elizabeth Lonsdale, 10, plans to make additional clothing, visit Africa again

(July 6, 2018) Ten-year-old Elizabeth Lonsdale is a girl with a big heart and much of talent. She recently traveled to Zambia and delivered dresses she and others made out of pillowcases to young girls in the African nation.

The Snow Hill resident made a bright yellow pillowcase dress at the Berlin library in April, where the Pillowcase Ministry Group was holding a workshop.

“We heard about it, that [the Pillowcase Ministry] were doing [a workshop] through the Berlin library as an activity, and I wanted to go and try it out because it sounded very interesting,” Lonsdale said. “I wanted to help other countries out so children would have clothes to wear.”

She initially planned to give the dress she made to the group to be donated to missionaries.

“It was my first dress and I was just going give it to the ladies there so they could do whatever they wanted to do, and then I had the thought, ‘What if I could take it to Zambia?’” Lonsdale said. “So I asked them and they said I could actually take a few more dresses with me to Zambia.”

Lonsdale and her parents, Christopher and Sharon, were traveling to Kabwe, Zambia for their nephew’s wedding in June and she wanted to take the dresses with her.

The family has previously traveled to Canada, England and the United Arab Emirates.

“I was pleased with how Elizabeth wanted to make a dress, and she pretty much did it herself,” Lonsdale’s mother said. “Then to see how much she enjoyed giving the dresses and stuffed animals to the children was great. She really loved the children and said it was the best part of the trip.”

Pillowcase Ministry Director Barbara Entwistle admired the young girl’s generosity.

“It’s just the opposite of being selfish and self-centered, and those are good qualities, good traits to have, especially in such a young person,” Entwistle said. “I think she is really going to do something with herself when she gets older. She can think beyond herself at such a young age.”

Lonsdale hand delivered the dresses to girls in Zambia.

“It was very pleasant meeting them because their faces were so delighted, and a few seconds later they had their dresses on and they looked so happy. It felt very exciting,” Lonsdale said. “It felt good to see someone I made happy.”

The 10-year-old has plans to make more dresses in the future and wants to return to Zambia at a later date.

“I want to go to Uganda, and between high school and college I want to go back to Zambia again for another one or two years,” Lonsdale said.

Entwistle started the Pillowcase Ministry in 2011 as an activity for older Girl Scouts after hearing about pillowcase dresses. The ministry has made and delivered over 4,000 dresses overseas to communities in need.

In addition to dresses, the ministry also creates sleeping mats, kitchen kits with pot holders and scrubbers, bath kits with washcloths and new bars of soap, as well as market bags and boys’ shorts, which are both made out of T-shirts.

“You have to see them to believe them,” Entwistle said. “You sew the bottom of the T-Shirt together, cut out the armholes and scoop out the neck a little more and you’ve got a shopping bag.”

Lonsdale encourages more people in the community to take part in the activity.

“A lot of the children [in those countries] don’t have very many clothes, or are very dirty and are ragged and old,” Lonsdale said. “It would help to give them nice new clothes and it will make them very happy, and they looked very good in the dresses.”

For more information about Pillowcase Ministry or to find out about the next meeting, contact Entwistle at 443-944-5868 or bentwistle@clarionoc.com.

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