Students and teachers at Adelaide’s Craigburn Primary School wore dresses on Friday for their “Do It In A Dress” fundraiser, which attracted a phenomenal $291,000 for charity after criticism from Senator Cory Bernardi.
For their end of term “casual clothes” day, students at the school chose to donate money to the One Girl charity’s “Do It In A Dress” intiative.
The charity says it costs $300 to educate a girl in Uganda and Sierra Leone for an entire year, and every year of education girls receive increase their income by 10-20 percent.
Senator Cory Bernardi took to Twitter to hit out at the fundraiser, writing: “One school in SA now has ‘wear a dress day’. This gender morphing is really getting absurd.”
But the students’ initiative went viral online, attracting a flood of donations from all over the world, far surpassing the school’s original goal of $900.
Principal Paul Luke, who also wore a dress on Friday, told the ABC he was “unbelievably proud” of his students.
“The level of excitement with our students has been just amazing. They’re in awe of the amount of money they’ve raised but, more importantly, the translation of the money into the number of girls who are now able to be educated in Africa,” he said.
One Girl CEO Morgan Koegel (pictured below, centre) travelled to the school from Melbourne to personally thank the students for their efforts.
“The reality is that two in three girls in Sierra Leone don’t get the opportunity to attend high school. A girl born in Sierra Leone is more likely to be sexually assaulted than attend high school,” Koegel told HuffPost Australia.
“This week started with something that could have been negative, but we are left with nothing but pride. The kids were so excited to be in their dresses and I’m so proud because while it got so much atention, people were inspired about knowing that there are girls in Africa who cannot go to school.
“The amount raised is just overwhelming and we are so grateful to everybody involved.”
She said the publicity around the school’s campaign had resulted in hundreds of people signing up to host their own Do It In A Dress events around Australia and in countries like the US, Canada and New Zealand.