Matric dresses for the underprivileged

Amy van Niekerk, events organiser at dOlyfboom Family Estate, and Lihle Mdidimba from #YLO with some of the matric farewell dresses they have collected.

With thousands of matrics planning their matric farewells, it’s easy to forget that for many underprivileged children the idea of attending this important event at the end of their school careers, is just not possible.

With this in mind, d’Olyfboom Family Estate in Paarl has joined hands with hospitality intern, Lihle Mdidimba, who founded a non-profit organisation called #YoungLeadersOrganisation (#YLO) in 2018 to do just that – collect matric dresses to be donated to pupils who cannot afford one.

d’Olyfboom events organiser, Amy van Niekerk, explains: “d’Olyfboom is often used as a venue for matric ‘pre’ photo sessions.

“We wanted to bring something ‘real’ to the general razzmatazz and this project gives us the perfect opportunity to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves and many of our guests and visitors too.”

Explaining her involvement in the project, Lihle says: “After completing a leadership course, my friend told me that she cannot get hold of a dress to wear to our matric farewell. There and then I decided to make use of my newly-learnt leadership skills and help her and others like her.

“It wasn’t easy at all, and that’s when we decided to start a non-profit organisation to collect more than 50 dresses. I also met Sarah Brown from America who was at the course with us, and she is visiting South Africa again in June with heaps of dresses she and her friends have collected at home as well.”

The group collects matric farewell dresses, bridesmaid dresses, evening gowns and shoes, jewellery and accessories.

People are invited to drop off any unused or previously worn items at the reception office at d’Olyfboom in Napier Street, Paarl during office hours on weekdays, before the end of July.