What they do …

8. Marieke

Almost every week, we can read about somebody making a difference in this world … With small steps, or in a big way, but always positive. Looking back on these first couple of months of posting in this category, I can only be thankful for all these awesome stories and their diversity! So much creativity to make this world a better place!

Marieke was certainly not lacking creativity when she came up with her special campaign: she wore the same dress for a whole year! About half way through 2015 I first heard of her and started following her on Facebook. I admire her perseverance and I think it’s superb how much money she collected with this, but mainly how much awareness she created for an important subject like this one.

Today she tells you more about the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of her fundraising campaign.
By the way, she wrote her story in Dutch, so if your Dutch is ok, I recommend you read the original story instead of my translation!

“1 jaar 1 jurk [1 year 1 dress]
In the year 2015 I wore the same dress every day: 365 days of no choice in clothing, to raise awareness for modern slavery; for slaves who don’t have any freedom of choice. By doing this, I also raised money for International Justice Mission (IJM), an organization that saves women, men and children from sweatshops and brothels and sues the offenders.

IJM challenges us to help fight the injustice by using our own talents, from donating your birthday money to running sponsored marathons. My daughter Saari organised a bingo, with her own toys as prices.post-marieke-inpostI got inspired by Sheena Matheiken, who wore the same dress for a year, in 2009, to raise money for a charity. This had never been done in The Netherlands before, which clearly showed in the many reactions I received. My campaign got the attention of newspapers and national radio. Even now, after the year has finished, they keep on contacting me about it, so I decided to keep the donating page open for a while longer: you can still donate to IJM through my campaign page.

The reactions on the Facebook page were heartwarming. That support really helped me through rough times throughout the year. Mainly the second part of the year was difficult; I was sick of that dress! And it wasn’t the dress alone, it was also the daily selfie that annoyed me. I couldn’t get used to it.

My campaign for freedom for others gave me, too, more freedom.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed the lectures I gave, for schools, students and churches. I like having conversations about how we can all contribute to a better world in our own unique ways.

I didn’t expect the effect this campaign would have on myself. That one dress made me aware of how much unused clothing and stuff I had. My family sorted out so much stuff during 2015! After that, our house turned out to be too big and we sold it. We now live in a smaller house, but have more financial freedom to do things that truly make us happy. My campaign for freedom for others gave me, too, more freedom.