The article below is about the Duduza Doll Project that was initiated by Bett Hargrave, a longtime supporter of The Nyanya Project and member of Grace Episcopal Church in Lexington, N.C. Bett and her two daughters came to Kenya with TNP in the summer of 2009 and volunteered at our preschool. Since their return, Grace Church has donated playground equipment and mattresses to our preschool, and Bett’s daughters have raised funds to support the education of some of our AIDS orphaned students. Bett and Teen Timberlake, another Lexington supporter, donated a computer that Teacher Elizabeth uses every Friday to show videos to the students. Most recently, Bett galvanized friends of hers in Lexington to knit 80 Duduza dolls for our students. They are being sent to our students in time for Christmas.
“NC Women Build Bridges with Comfort Dolls.” an article in the 2010 summer publication of the NC Diocesan ECW, was the inspiration for a project that has involved many women in Grace Church and the community. These women have knitted over 80 “duduza” dolls to be sent to the children of the Nyanya Project preschool in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Nyanya Project (TNP) is an organization that teaches skills to grandmothers raising their AIDS orphaned grandchildren in Africa. TNP opened a preschool for 40 children near the Kibera slum in the summer of 2009. There are now 80 children in the school where the grandmothers work as cooks and teachers’ aids. Grace Church’s Christian Social Concerns Commission has supported the school by providing money for swings for the playground and mattresses for rest period.
The duduza doll project originated in the Diocese of Vermont and was adopted by Juli Hauser of Burlington’s ECW; now, two years later, hundreds of the small, hand-knit dolls have been made by multiple parishes and sent to orphanages and children’s centers in Guatemala, Haiti, Sudan and Botswana. The dolls are about 6 or 7 inches high and made from scraps of leftover yarn. Although everyone follows a pattern, the finished products exhibit a variety of colors, styles and creativity. The vision is to have the dolls sent to the children in the preschool in Nairobi from the children in the preschool at Grace – a “child to child” personal contact.
Thanks to the following women of our church and the community who have contributed to this ministry: Kathy Alexander, Bett Hargrave, Gay Hutchins, Kim Leonard, Kristie Miller, Marte Perrell, Mary Williams and Patty Younts.
The Nyanya Project is expanding its preschool model into Rwanda and if folks are interested we can continue to make the dolls. Also, we might investigate a local place that might need them. If any parishioners who knit would like to be involved, please let us know by calling the church office.