Dressing others for success

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Project Rags to Riches founder has big dreams for operation

IN THE business of helping people, project Rags to Riches is in the process of becoming a registered Non-Profit Organisation and founder Cheryl Scheepers has big plans for the project.

FAIRY GODMOTHERS: Cheryldene Scheepers, left, Cheryl Scheepers, middle, and Erica Goddard are three of the women behind Project Rags to Riches Picture: MADELEINE CHAPUT.

“I like to help people and give whatever I can. I wanted to start the project for years and I’d always donate clothes and help people who were in need,” Scheepers said.

The project has been running for two years and helps underprivileged young women find garments for their matric dances as well as weddings.

Scheepers is set on growing the project and would like to start catering for men as well. Her main focus, however, is to start giving free sewing lessons to help underprivileged women make a living for themselves.

“I want to empower women and show them that they can do whatever they set their minds to. Teaching them to sew may be a small thing, but they can learn to do alterations for people and make things to sell,” Scheepers said.

For now, the project ensures a complete transformation for underprivileged women. Through the project the women are dressed from head to toe.

“We give them a dress, bag, shoes, as well as a hairdo and makeup,” Scheepers said.

A pack of tissues, lip gloss and perfume samples from Perfume Den are also included in their bags. Scheepers’ daughter, Cheryldene Scheepers, also assists with the project, contributing the lip gloss and ensuring the women feel like princesses for their special day.

Rags to Riches make matric night special

Recently, Erica Goddard joined the group, offering her photography skills for all the women dressed by the project.

Having been dressed by the project for her wedding, Angelique Abrahams has also joined the group of women and runs the admin and advertising for the project.

“Sylvia Friend also does nails for us, but we’re looking for more people to come on board and offer their skills to help young women in need,” Scheepers said.

All the women are dedicated and very involved in the project, from collecting items and donations to performing miracles and ensuring the women they dress look their best.

Abrahams said: “Project Rags to Riches is really close to my heart. Cheryl and her daughter really go out of their way to make it special and I don’t know what I would have done without them on my wedding day.”

Scheepers said: “The best payment is seeing the transformation, when the girls are all dressed up and just so happy. Many of them don’t have much. Once a girl walked in and she didn’t even have a bra. I made sure she never has to go without one again.”

Relying solely on donations, Project Rags to Riches is in desperate need of dresses, shoes, bags as well as men’s suits and shoes. The team is also willing to collect items from anyone who can spare a few.

If anyone is willing to donate and support Rags to Riches please contact Scheepers on 084-840-2690 or visit the Project Rags to Riches Facebook group.

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