From the Field

The best-dressed list you won’t find on the red carpet

Traditionally dressed girl in rural China. The red carpet at the Academy Awards is crowded with glamorous gowns and tailored tuxedos as Hollywood stars put their best foot forward. We’ve got our own best-dressed list: children around the world who celebrate their cultural pageantry with traditional clothing.

The red carpet at the Academy Awards is crowded with glamorous gowns and tailored tuxedos as Hollywood stars put their best foot forward. We’ve got our own best-dressed list: children around the world wearing traditional dress, favorite gowns, and everyday attire that sweeps us off our feet.

Best-dressed in Africa

Turkana girl harvests kale in traditional dress.

Nine-year-old Esther’s garments belong in an art museum, alongside the handmade necklaces stacked around her neck. The elegance of her ensemble is breathtaking — and this is what she wears to harvest kale in her community garden in Turkana, Kenya. In 2017, drought and hunger swept across East Africa. But thanks to World Vision’s food-for-assets program, families in Turkana like Esther’s received the food they needed to survive while preparing their land for future food security. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Uganda girls dance in traditional dress.

Primary students in Uganda use singing, music, dance, and beautiful traditional skirts to illustrate messages of empowerment to peers and community members. Each girl is part of the school’s Life Skills Club, where World Vision teaches them invaluable skills, like how to make reusable sanitary pads. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)

An African girl child wears a beautiful headscarf.

A young girl in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is breathtaking in a simple dress and elegantly wrapped headscarf. She benefits from World Vision’s feeding programs and Child-Friendly Spaces in Kasai Central province. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Malawi girl child in yellow dress.

Little Mary’s buttery yellow dress clearly gives her a boost of confidence as she smiles for a photo in Chilenje, Malawi. World Vision has worked in her area since 2007. The primary areas of focus are sponsorship, education, food security, and health. The area program manager, Mereena John, shares, “People are healthy and have food in their homes. Before they ate only in the morning.” (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Best-dressed in Asia

A young Bangladeshi girl holds a photo of her sponsor.Five-year-old Millie in Tongi, Bangladesh, already knows how to dress up for a special occasion. On the day she got to choose her sponsor, she picked out her fluffiest, laciest pink dress for the choosing party. She wore it again when visitors from World Vision came to hear her story. Even more beautiful than her gown was her warm smile, readily available for all. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

Chinese mother and children in traditional dress.A mother fixes her son’s paper crown at a World Vision birthday celebration in Wuding, China. Both sponsored and non-sponsored children, like this child, benefit from the work — and parties — of a World Vision area program. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Ben Adams)

An Indian woman sits elegantly on blue steps.Rajkumari, a mother of two, is the picture of style and elegance — perched on a step outside her family home in Lalitpur District, India. Beside her is a fuel-efficient stove provided by World Vision. These stoves are not only reducing harmful indoor smoke pollution but also combating deforestation and environmental pollutions. And they’ve given Rajkumari the gift of time. She no longer has to walk 4-5 kilometers to gather firewood in the forest. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Jim Wungramyao Kasom)

Three Bangladeshi girls in traditional dress smile.Children who attend World Vision’s Child Learning Center in Kamalapur, Bangladesh, don traditional costumes and makeup to perform songs and dances for visitors from the United States. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)

Best-dressed in Latin America

A young girl dances outside her home in a long colorful skirt.Dancing in front of her home in Rocafuerte, Ecuador, Yeisy dreamily lifts the billowing fabric of her handmade skirt. She loves to dance. Yeisy’s parents abandoned her, but her grandparents raised her from infancy, helping her through significant health issues. Now, she’s thriving because of her grandma and grandpa’s tender love and because of her new World Vision sponsor, whom she got to choose. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

A young girl is all dressed up for a school dance performance.

A young girl in Fortaleza de Tarija, Bolivia, is all dressed up for a school dance performance. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jose Luis Roca)

Eight-year-old Edison, who lives in Ecuador’s Andean highlands, loves playing with his ball and studying math at school. But we love his handmade leather chaps, thick wool poncho, and traditional wool hat — not to mention his beautiful alpaca. Located at about 13,000 feet above sea level, Edison’s community collectively cultivates more than 100 alpacas, provided through World Vision’s Gift Catalog. The families use alpacas for their milk and to produce high-quality clothing and accessories from their wool. The animals improve children’s health and nutrition in addition to their families’ livelihoods. They also help promote land conservation and a rebalance of the region’s indigenous ecosystem.

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A girl chooses a photo from a wall of photos.
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Chosen celebrates empowered children

World Vision’s photographers traveled around the world this year to tell stories of children and their families. They captured moments of struggle and moments of joy. Here are their favorite photos of 2019 and the stories behind them. The community of Guarguallá Grande sits at about 12,500 feet above sea level and has struggled with the effects of poverty for generations. Alpacas gifted through World Vision’s Gift Catalog have empowered this community to begin lifting themselves out of poverty. The animals help improve children’s health, nutrition, and their families’ livelihoods. Their presence also helps promote land conservation and a rebalance of the indigenous ecosystem.
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