For Indian families in the U.S., it can be hard to mimic the authentic traditional style of important events such as Diwali. For many, an integral part of celebration is wearing traditional Indian clothing. While these clothes are beautiful, most kids quickly outgrow them.
Avani Bansal, 14, did not know what to do with her old Indian clothing that no longer fit her.
“I’ve had experience trying to donate them to Goodwill, but they won’t accept them because no one here really has a use for these formal, traditional clothes,” she said.
Her friends agreed with her, and that is when she realized others may have the same issue. So she started a nonprofit called Dream Dresses with the goal to collect used traditional Indian clothes that can then be distributed in India to those who want them.
“When I was little, I loved wearing fancy and traditional dresses. Now that I’m older, I see that there’s many kids in India that don’t have access to these types of clothes,” Bansal said.
On the Dream Dresses website, Bansal mentions that it is a great solution that benefits both sides. Bansal has already collected over 100 articles of clothing and is starting the distribution. She sends them to her grandmother in Mumbai, India. Then, her grandmother, along with some volunteers, sanitize the clothing before they are given to the Jayshree Foundation, a local humanitarian group. This organization then distributes the clothes to families who want them.
Bansal has also made the process of donation simple. Once patrons are ready to donate articles of clothing, they can contact Bansal through her website and she will arrange a pickup or drop off. The only conditions are that the clothes are traditional Indian in nature, in decent condition, and packaged in a box.
Processing the donations can be a lot of work, so Bansal has created volunteer opportunities to get some help. Those opportunities include collecting clothing, packing and shipping.
Bansal wants to see Dream Dresses get bigger in the long run. She has received clothing from many places in Washington state, and she hopes to expand donations from across the U.S.
She said that these fancy clothes are something that many Indian kids would want to wear.
If you are interested in donating articles of clothing or volunteering with Dream Dresses, please visit their website.