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Woman damages hand sewing dresses for young girls in need, has no plans on stopping

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VINEYARD, Utah (ABC4 News) – Utahns are striving to make a difference all around the Beehive State.   

For the past four years, Arda Molen has been working six to eight hours a day sewing dresses for girls all around the world. 

Her dedicated repetitive hours over the years have taken a toll on her hand,  wrist, and arm, causing her to wear a brace and undergo surgery. She has worn-out cartilage and strained ligaments resulting in two operations. 

Through the elements of her pain, she continues working with no plans to stop. Arda says she started making the dresses four years ago after she was in a car accident that left her temporarily unable to walk. She says after the accident she couldn’t do the things she normally did. 

She said the decision to make dresses was obvious. Se knew her dresses were the best thing she could offer. “I decided to start making dresses for little girls in orphanages and other underprivileged girls all over the world,” Arda says. 

Over the past four years, she has made and donated 5,000 dresses with materials purchased and picked by her. 

“I buy them all myself and then I get the material to match, then I match them up and sew the skirts on,” she says. 

Many of her dresses were recently distributed to orphan girls in Malawi, Africa by The World of Difference, a humanitarian organization based in Provo.

The dresses are made up of cotton t-shirts and cotton-poly skirt, and trim of lace along the bottom of the skirt.  

“When I get hurting really bad, I look at the pictures of the little girls. I decide I don’t hurt near as bad as they do…” Arda says. 

The World of Difference is a humanitarian organization that takes volunteers to Malawi each year. While there they repair and build schools, provide healthcare, drill water wells and donate clothing, Arda’s beautiful dresses, to orphan children in the area. 

Dr. Richard Nielsen, President of Rocky Mountain University and Health Professions and co-founder, and president of World of Difference say they have taken 1,000 of Ards’s dresses to Malawi over the past three years. 

He says he has been going on humanitarian trips to Africa for the last 32 years and has never seen more joyful reactions then Arda’s dresses bring. “And every one of those stitches is done in love from Arda,” he says. 

He says Arda is the perfect ingredient for a corporation like World of Difference to give back truly change lives. 

“You can image how when they see the love that goes into it, and they feel that love, that goes into these dresses. It’s one of the most amazing experiences of my life because Arda is here in the United States and does all this great work…with her hands–with her heart,” Dr. Nielson says. 

Utah Strong is a series celebrating Utahn’s will to do good. If you know anyone who goes above and beyond to help someone or an individual who is extraordinary themselves click the here to recommend them.

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