Uthando Project

Thursday 13 January 2021: Ann Vivers talks about the work undertaken by the Uthando Project. This is the project that you’ve seen on Instagram as UthandoprojectdollmakersSydney.

Ann Vivers of Uthando Project
Uthando Project dolls with local children in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Uthando Project is based in Perth, Western Australia and this organisation is run by unpaid volunteers.

Uthando Project Mission

To create handmade dolls for our partner organisations in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, who work with disadvantaged and vulnerable children to strengthen relationships through play.

To provide opportunities for community, shared creativity and purpose for dollmakers in Australia and around the world.

Julie Stone, the founding director of the Uthando Project

What they do: Since 2004 thousands of dollmakers from around the world have designed, made and sent or delivered handmade dolls for children in KwaZulu Natal (KZN), South Africa. The number of dolls shipped each year has steadily increased and around 6000 dolls are shipped each year to our partners in KZN from our headquarters in Forrestfield.  Groups provide doll makers with a sense of community and companionship through a sharing of skills and ideas with a common humanitarian purpose.

Uthando Project partners with five non-government organizations in KwaZulu Natal distributing dolls to children in need.

Dolls created for specific purposes

Why dolls?

We began making dolls as a response to the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic: Children’s  lives are deeply affected by the distress in every family caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. To lose one or both parents is a shattering experience for children.

The impact extends to other families, and to the elderly, who are now under great pressure to raise the community’s children. Even children in an intact family may now be sharing the attention of their parents (and all the family space and resources) with grieving cousins. All children are surrounded by family and community grief.

Instagram hosts the Sydney dollmaker group run by Julie Dodds

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