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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Hasegawa

On how to join a dress and an economic phenomenon into one powerful message

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

The dress that I wear was made entirely out of Venezuelan currency. Despite being made up of approximately 2,500 banknotes, in Venezuela today, you would not even be able to use that money to purchase a single cup of coffee. Those 2,500 Venezuelan banknotes, which in 2008 would have been worth approximately £5,000, was now effectively worthless.

Photo by Benjamin Guy at CJBS

Why a ‘money dress’?

Reason 1: The Injustice of hyperinflation caused by poor governance

The people of Venezuela have experienced a drastic decline into a state of emergency due to the negligence of the current government, led by President Nicolas Maduro. Venezuela has been in this state of emergency since 2015 when the economic collapse left the Bolivar almost worthless.

Hyperinflation has since driven approximately 3 million people to leave their loved ones and their country behind, searching for a living that will allow them to send money back to family members who would not be able or eligible to be employed abroad. Indeed, the UN has predicted that this number is forecasted only to rise more rapidly in the next few months and will likely reach 5 million before the end of this year.

Hyperinflation dire consequences have been woefully under-reported and under-remediated during the last four years; this cannot continue. I was lucky enough to have been able to leave Venezuela in 2015, but many of my family and friends remain.

Reason 2: Taking up the challenge and determining to be a voice for humanity

Despite the hugely challenging circumstances in which Venezuelans live, I am heartened by the courage of all of my family and friends who remain in the country. It is, by taking inspiration from their determined, unified spirit of bravery, that I have found myself the courage within me to speak out about the state of my country and call upon others to stand up for humanity and assist Venezuela in this time of need.

My intention with the dress was never to merely raise awareness. The dress was created to provide a visual representation of the problem.

Reason 3: This issue needs to be spoken about and solutions must be sought

In each occasion that I have presented the dress in Universities, I have called upon the students to turn their attention to this problem and seek solutions for Venezuela's crisis.

Making the dress came up from the opportunity two showcase my country culture at an event at my University. Click here to find the meaning of the dress.

You are also invited to join this group that seeks to develop more ideas to create awareness of the delicate situation in Venezuela.

Got any ideas? Please share it with us by email on in our box chat.

Many thanks for your contribution and for reading!

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