Ever since her beautiful daughter Evelyn died, at the age of seven, Helen Smith has been trying to direct her grief towards useful projects.
Evelyn collapsed and died at home in September last year despite Mrs Smith’s best efforts to re-start her heart. Earlier this year she and her friends worked with the British Heart Foundation to lay on resuscitation classes for teachers in Warwickshire schools in case a similar tragedy occurred during daytime lessons.
More recently Mrs Smith has helped form a sewing group at Evelyn’s former school, Coten End Primary, where more than 100 dresses and pairs of shorts have been made to send to girls growing-up in the shanty towns of northern Peru.
More dresses have been provided by members of the Barford Sewing Circle which has links with an organisation called Dress a Girl Around the World.
Altogether it means 230 garments have so far been donated to a charity called the Otra Cosa Network run by Warwick couple Peter Murphy and his wife Juana, who was born in Peru.
After Mr Murphy retired from his job in finance at Jaguar Landrover he helped Juana run the charity which recruits volunteers for education and literacy programmes in some of the poorest Peruvian communities.
Juana Murphy said: “It is hoped that these dresses will help boost the self-esteem and confidence of girls who are taking their first steps in education.”
She has set up links between the Coten End and Barford sewing groups and three schools in Peru where girls will almost certainly be receiving the first new dress they have ever worn.
At a recent meeting of the Coten End group Mrs Smith was joined by Warwick mayor Cllr Moira-Ann Grainger who dropped in to find out more about the scheme.
Mrs Murphy told them: “The families reached by our projects are living on less than one dollar a day and in many cases they have also experienced the loss of a child.
“These dresses represent the reaching out of motherhood and caring across the world from one school community to another.”
For more information about the Otra Cosa Network visit www.otracosa.org/ or tel Mr or Mrs Murphy on 730029.