Rag Dolls 2 Love, Inc was started to put a soft cloth doll in the hands of children who live in countries ravaged by war, are orphaned or infected by HIV/ AIDS or traumatized by natural disasters. In the summer of 2003 as I listened to a report of Palestinian children shot during a raid by the Israeli army, and the death of Israeli children in a bus bombing, my frustration and anger spilled over at the loss of so many young lives.
RAG DOLLS 2 LOVE was my response. Inspired by the memory of my daughter’s love for a Raggedy Ann and haunted by the faces of children in the Holy Land where my husband and I lived for four years, I knew these cloth ambassadors could bring love to children who are being turned into adults all too quickly by their everyday life. This isn’t just a doll. It is a doll without hair, it is a doll without clothes. It is a doll who has nothing but its heart, its smile and its face. This doll is something that can’t suffer and can’t die. It offers children solace that, unfortunately, real life doesn’t offer. It becomes real when it is loved by a child who hugs it at night, whose tears wash its body, and who tells it the secrets buried in a child’s heart.
Rag Dolls 2 Love is a gesture of understanding. The volunteers who make the dolls put love and caring into their stitches, knowing that the doll will be in the hands of a child who has so little, a child who needs this love. One volunteer wrote, “It is one small way I can make a difference in the lives of children who are traumatized by life.” Imagine, over thirty thousand distressed and traumatized children have found comfort in these rag dolls!
Thousands of volunteers across the United States have their lives and hearts touched as they make the dolls. Children who have watched the devastation of their communities, witnessed their friends being snatched away or their families killed, or children who face yet another day without food – these children have a simple rag doll to hold for solace and companionship.
In 2007 sixteen organizations in South Africa wrote, asking for dolls. Four hospitals in Lima, Peru wrote, asking for dolls. Service people in Afghanistan wrote, asking for dolls. People going to China, Thailand, Mexico, Uganda, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Sudan and other countries take dolls with them to children in orphanages or poor villages. We ship dolls to India, three organizations in Gaza, 6 different areas in Iraq, World Vision Zambia, four places in South Africa, Uganda, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus, El Salvador, Jordan, Romania, Nigeria and other countries besides these.
The story of Rag Dolls appears in newspapers, on local TV stations, in magazines, by newsletter and word of mouth. There is a website, but no formal advertisement has been done. The “staff” includes myself and a neighbor in Wyoming, Ida Harris, who handles the receiving and shipping of dolls when I am out of town, and our only expenses are the cost of shipping the dolls and buying the proper size box for shipping.
This is a ministry for the children who receive the doll, as well as the doll maker who gains compassion for the plight of children in other parts of the world. Anything is possible with God’s help and God has been very active in this project.
My original goal was 200 dolls for children in the Middle East. God had a different idea.
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