Tuesday 13 September 2011

a green gala fling

On Friday night I attended 'Dining at Sunset', a benefit organised by one of my friends to raise funds for Sunrise Orphanage in Nepal.  Australian Emma Taylor co-founded Sunrise with two friends in 2005 after volunteering in a Kathmandu orphanage the previous year; it was their vision to establish an orphanage to provide a loving, nurturing and safe environment for Nepalese children in need. Today Sunrise supports over 70 children in the orphanage and also runs scholarship programs and community training and development centres to support the larger Kathmandu community.
Emma Taylor opening the evening
This dinner (and similar events in Melbourne and Adelaide) was held to generate funds to build Sunrise Children's Village.  The village will incorporate a permanent home for up to 100 children (they currently rent facilities and are forced to move on average every 18 months), a training and development centre and a school, which will serve both the Sunrise children and the wider community.  Last year I read the incredibly moving book Half the Sky and the number one recommendation in the book to reduce female poverty and extremism is education; Sunrise is a perfect example of a charity putting that principle to work right now.  I felt honoured to attend this dinner and even more so to have a few words with the charming Emma herself (who is missing her kids terribly after two weeks in Australia!).
The beautiful setting at Doltone House - inside 6 Star
Green Star - Office Design v2 workplace6
As if all of that wasn't enough to encourage me to support this amazing organisation, the new Children's Village is designed to be environmentally sustainable and self-sufficient. Below is a pic of the draft plan including solar panels, rainwater collection tanks, a natural toilet system and organic gardens included amongst the meditation rooms, sports and activity areas, school and dorms.  Local materials, resources and labour will also be used and assist the local economy whilst instilling a sense of ownership among the people.  It is Sunrise's intention to provide a model that can be replicated in other communities.

As the date of the gala approached of course I'd been thinking about what to wear.  I was tempted to rent another fabulous frock, but instead I opted to put the money I'd have spent on the rental toward solar panels at Sunrise Children's Village, and dug around in my wardrobe for something appropriate.  One of the best things about being a recovering shopaholic is the range of quality pieces remaining in my closet.  I pulled out an oldie (but a goodie) and styled it a little differently than I have before so I didn't feel like I was wearing 'this ole thing' again. (This was also great practice for Buy Nothing New month coming up in October!)

On the left (apology for the fuzziness!), 2007, long hair down and long bling necklace. On the right, hair pulled up, black tights, red lipstick and shorter bling necklace; I also wore my black Gorman Tencel bomber jacket for part of the evening. Four years on and I still love my Flame dress by Willow, and with its timeless, flattering design I suspect it will remain a favourite for years to come. (My hubby is wearing the same suit in both pictures as well - totally unplanned coincidence - he also re-styled the suit with short hair, glasses and a dark shirt and tie.)

Okay, I admit it. There were some incredibly beautiful and trendy women at the benefit and I experienced the slightest twinge of jealousy of their 'so hot right now' dresses.  But surrounded by friends and having a great time eating, drinking and dancing the night away in honour of the beautiful Sunrise children, I really didn't dwell on it.  I still felt like my glamorous self in a fabulous dress.

Feeling inspired? Donate and support Sunrise Children's Association.

A side note on transportation - even in my fabulous frock and sparkly stilettos I took a ferry, then a train, and finally a bus, to get to the gala dinner.

My sparkly shoes look even prettier on a dingy train!

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