On Sunday 23rd August, residents of the inner north were treated to a magical evening of music with world class violinist Mohamad Hamami, with all proceeds from ticket sales going to support the work of Melbourne based charity One Girl as part of their 2015 ‘Do it in a Dress’ fundraising campaign.




Since 2008, One Girl has been providing educational scholarships to girls in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is regarded as one of the worst places in the world to be born a girl,  confirmed by these shocking statistics:

  • A girl in Sierra Leone is more likely to be sexually abused than go to high school
  • Approximately one third of her friends will be sold to a man
  • She will be considered a woman at the age of 12 and most likely pregnant by the age of 15
  • If she survives childbirth, she may have to sell her body to support her family, which also increases her risk of contracting HIV




Although October marks the month of One Girl’s national ‘Do it in a Dress’ campaign, a team of local One Girl ambassadors, comprised of Jayma Nann, Heather Dinas, Robyn George-Chilvers, Sue-Ann Cozyn, Ana Roman Cuautle, Tenzin Kazz, Amy Minichiello, Pragya Singh and Juhi Sengu, have started their fundraising early. Last year they created their own initiative, named ‘A Classroom of Girls,’ which raised $8,000 and allowed 26 girls to go to school; their target for this year is $12,000 and 2 classrooms of 40 girls.




One Girl ambassador Robyn George-Chilvers believes that education is a vital tool for girls from impoverished communities to stop the cycle of severe poverty, physical abuse, poor hygiene, and forced marriage.


“An educated girl is more likely to marry later, have fewer, healthy children, earn a larger income and give more than 90% of that income back to her family and community. This is our chance to make a real difference in the lives of girls that would otherwise only dream of these opportunities,” Robyn says.




The ‘Do it in a Dress’ campaign involves participants picking any challenge they like and performing it while wearing a dress. It costs around $300 a year to send a girl to school, which covers her tuition, uniform, books and stationary, and scholarships last for the lifetime of a girl’s schooling.




Mohamad Hamami is a violinist from Syria, who now lives in Dubai. He has been playing for over 30 years and describes his music as Arabic in style, although he confesses he only plays ‘what comes from the heart.’ He was recently involved with Sharq-East, an orchestra that consists of 70 musicians of 24 different nationalities, including several Australians, and has just finished recording an album in Sydney.




Mohamad was accompanied on stage by musicians from Stringspace, who provide contemporary string quartets, symphony orchestras and jazz bands for events, recordings, concerts, weddings and TV/Film. Guests were enthralled by their beautiful playing and captivated by Mohamad’s incredible musical style.




Guests also enjoyed stunning vocals from Lady Fox, MC for the night and resident performer at HQ Speak Easy on Little Bourke Street. Also a One Girl ambassador, the charity’s vision particularly strikes a chord with Lady Fox, as her mum was pulled out of school in South Africa to look after the family.




The event was held at 75 Reid Street in North Fitzroy and complimentary wine and nibbles were included in the ticket price. This was made possible by generous donations from Brown Brothers Winery, Tassal Tasmanian Salmon and El Colmado, who provided sparkling wine, smoked salmon and Spanish gourmet cheeses.




The ambassadors and performers celebrate a successful event and prepare for the next round of fundraising! For more information and to track the progress of the ‘Classroom of Girls’ team, visit www.doitinadress.com/team/aclassroomofgirls.


All photos copyright Donna Killeen.

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