Doll-making workshop to uplift children

2016-05-23 09:35
Nombuso Cele with her daughter Sisanda and her much-loved doll, made by volunteers in the Uthando Project.

Nombuso Cele with her daughter Sisanda and her much-loved doll, made by volunteers in the Uthando Project. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - A unique public workshop takes place next month that will give Pietermaritzburg residents the opportunity to learn to make a doll and become part of an international community of doll-makers working to change the lives of children and their communities in KwaZulu-Natal.

Hosted by local NGO dlalanathi, the workshop is an initiative of the Uthando Project based in Perth, Australia.

Since 2004, Uthando volunteers in Australia have produced over 50 000 dolls for children in distress in KZN. Each doll is handmade and unique, and distributed by NGOs TREE, Lifeline, Family Literacy Project including Vukuzakhe Projects, Sizabantwana and dlalanathi.

Dlalanathi operations director Robyn Hemmens said the Australian project was now seeking to extend its network of doll-makers and set up groups in Pietermaritzburg and KZN. As well as serving as toys for children, helping them access the benefits of imaginative play, the dolls are used to raise awareness in adults of the importance of play and to build trusting relationships, particularly between children and their caregivers. Hemmens said the social process of meeting to make the dolls had also produced positive and often transformative effects in the lives of volunteers who have been drawn into a supportive community of doll-makers enriched by a sense of purpose and meaning.

Five members of the Uthando project, including director Dr Julie Stone and co-ordinator Georgia Efford, will be in South Africa to attend the workshop, share their story and demonstrate the process of doll-making, with a view to inviting Pietermaritzburg residents to set up their own doll-making groups.

No sewing skills are needed; just a desire to participate, learn and be adventurous, said Hemmens.

The workshop takes place at dlalanathi at 31 Peter Kerchhoff Street on Friday, June 3 from 9 am to 1.30 pm. Contact Robyn Hemmens at or 033 345 3729 for more information. — Supplied.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  community development

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