MALONE — They’re back for one night — all the poodle skirts, bell bottoms, platform shoes, shoulder pads and grunge getups you can imagine.
It’s Mom Prom for ladies only, and it invites guests to come dressed in their craziest retro clothes from the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s or ‘90s for a night of dancing and fun without the guys.
All of the money raised will help train young women in the East African nation of Rwanda to use sewing to make a living for themselves and their families.
The event is from 8 to 11 tonight at the Malone Elks Lodge, featuring music from each decade by DJ Jody Tosti of Double Dutch Entertainment.
Snacks, coffee, tea and bottled water are included with admission, and a raffle is planned.
Tickets are $25.
Event coordinator Marcy Bright said Ubushobozi is a vocational-skills-training program that started in 2008 when her friend and Bangor native Jeanne Siporin went on a volunteer vacation to Rwanda and saw the bleak future of so many of the young women there.
Orphaned when their parents were killed during genocidal attacks in the 1990s, the girls have little family support and cannot afford to continue their education beyond age 12.
“There is little for them to do and nowhere to go,” Bright said.
But through Ubushobozi, there are now 19 girls and young women between 12 and 19 learning to sew using sewing machines purchased through program donations, and they use fabric and materials bought in the Congo.
They make and sell purses and bags, and some are learning to make weekender sets that include a small duffel and shoe bag.
Depending on their skill level, the students are paid between $7 and $20 a week to attend the program.
“They are providing for their whole family,” Bright said, adding that there are often grandparents and other children in the home to support with their earnings.
The girls get meals and free health insurance, and there is also an hour of computer training and an hour of English lessons provided daily.
‘A GOOD CAUSE’
This might be the only other formal education a lot of them receive because there are few secondary schools in Rwanda.
And the ones operating are quite a distance from some villages and require students to wear a uniform and be housed there during their studies, which many families cannot afford.
Bright said she hopes to raise $3,000 with the Mom Prom event and $10,000 total in the coming year through product sales and other activities, including the annual Cooking Challenge in January.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Candy Gadway, the community school coordinator for the Malone School District, who is helping Bright with the Mom Prom. “I’m a teen from the ‘80s, so I’ll be going disco-y.
“There will be decorated stations set up for each of the decades so I know where I’ll be,” she said, laughing. “We just want everyone to come out and have a good time for a good cause — and the men stay home.”
Gadway said American children are schooled for years with a goal to graduate and perhaps attend college while the young Rwandan women would have few opportunities without Ubushobozi.
“We think about spending $100,000 on a child’s college education, but we forget it would costs only a couple hundred dollars to teach these women skills to provide for themselves and their families,” she said.
For tickets or more information contact Marcy Bright at 529-6325 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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