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Duduza Doll Project

One of our customers is spearheading a fun and fabulous charity project – Duduza Dolls. Maya sent us an email with information on the project, and the dolls. We’ll just let her tell her story:

I first came across the Duduza Dolls while surfing the web to learn more about South Africa (a country my daughter’s current boyfriend was from). The CHABHA (children Affected by HIV/AIDS) organization was calling for charitable knitting of these simple dolls. They work with traumatized orphans in South Africa and at the end of the counseling program, they would give each child a duduza (meaning “comfort” in, I believe Swahili) doll to help with their recovery. These dolls are needed by children in many different countries will be on their way to Africa within a couple weeks of collection.

I was charmed with the idea and began altering the pattern from a flat version to a version knit on double-pointed needles (my new favorite style of knitting after having learned to knit socks).

duduza-family.jpg

I’m a fiber artist and a member of an artist colony in Vancouver called North Bank Artists Community Project. We have a storefront gallery with the back and basement comprised of studios. One of the artists renting a studio space had recently returned from Zambia where he had begun a free school for children. The public schools charge for attendance so there were many poor children who have come to depend on this pilot project he pioneered. He had planned on returning in January of this year. I went into production mode on the duduza dolls and, with a little help from the Vancouver Handknitters Guild, we sent 30 dolls with him. His next trip is scheduled for August of this year. My dream is to send a hundred dolls at least on this trip. Since there were many more than 30 students in his school, he took the 30 dolls with him into the hill country outside of Lusaka and gave them to the nurses in an AIDS clinic to give out to the children they saw.

children-in-zambia.jpg

Just recently I found out that there is a group leaving for Uganda on June 9th. I’m hoping to round up any dolls that have been completed by this weekend to send with them. Although this is an abrupt deadline it is indicative of the information that is coming to me of additional trips that are underway to Africa. Postage averages around $20 a pound so the ability to send the dolls with people traveling and working with children is a real bonus.

We’ve got the pattern (and one of the dolls) here in the shop, and will have a link to the pdf posted soon on our events page, so if you want to create something comforting for a child who needs some comfort, please make a duduza doll. You can drop them off here at Twisted, and Maya will pick them up.

UPDATE 6/7/08: Here’s the pattern!
Duduza doll pattern as a PDF (76KB) (download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader)

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