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Social Enterprise Leads Unique Doll Crafting Workshops In Egypt

18 April, 2016
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This week, the social enterprise Dumye Dolls launches their first project in Egypt. Dumye Dolls is a toy company that donates one doll to an orphan or vulnerable child for every doll sold. The founder Sahar Wahbeh first spoke to BECAUSE in February about her unique enterprise. Now children in Egypt will have the chance for the first time to participate in a workshop to make and personalise their very own dolls.

In partnership between several local NGOs and orphanages in Cairo and the Delta, more than 3,000 boys and girls will be invited to take part. The workshops encourage personal expression through creation. Following methods of child psychology, the creativity made possible in the workshops can be a means for children to express the issues they have faced in their life in a safe environment that is not emotionally damaging but still opens a channel for expression and externalising of what they have been through.

During the workshops each child is offered a doll-making pack and is provided with the opportunity to create and see their own unique doll come to life. The idea is that they are able to create something that is uniquely theirs and reflective of who they are, an important point for many of these children who rarely accumulate personal belongings. 

For many abandoned children, the damage they feel is internalized, explained Wahbeh. At a young age they don't necessarily know how to speak about these feelings, she claims, and creation and expression through art offers them an opportunity to do so.

During the workshop children are also taught about recycling and why we need to protect the environment; learning about essential resources that cannot be replaced once they run out and how our actions today will impact the world around us in the future. 

The workshops that will run for several weeks are targeted towards both boys and girls. At a young age dolls are something that every child loves. The doll template design is unisex and the kit offers a wealth of different possibilities for personal adaptation, giving children the opportunity to shape their doll as they see fit.

"One of the best parts of these workshops is that it offers so much joy to children who have already seen so much pain and sadness," Wahbeh added. 

In Egypt, orphans are most often remembered on national orphans day, an annual one-day event where companies come together to provide children with a day of fun and support orphanages and charities in raising the money they need to ensure that annual costs are met. Sadly, however, for most of the rest of the year these children are forgotten with quick-fix solutions. The workshop offers a lengthier encounter and perhaps a more realistic approach beyond these token moments, and leaves every child with a tangible, hand-crafted reminder of the time they spent in personal expression.

Tags crafts creative therapy play therapy orphans Nile Delta Cairo orphanages social enterprise