About Us

Uthando briefing

TREE creche receiving dolls

TREE creche receiving dolls

What we do: Since 2004 thousands of dollmakers from around the world have designed, made and sent or delivered handmade dolls for children in KwaZulu Natal (KZN), South Africa. So far, ten years on, 36,570 dolls have been sent to KZN, and we hope to celebrate 40,000 very soon.

Why KZN?: Children in KwaZulu Natal are deeply affected by the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic there. This affects the lives of all children, not just orphans, because the parental, family and cultural support around them is missing or fragmented. One way we can help them feel more secure is to support them in PLAY. You can find out more about the value of play in Why dolls? and the article, The Essential Nature of Play.

Our partners: Uthando Project works in partnership with five non government organisations (NGOs) in KwaZulu Natal. Their staff, volunteers and participants all face tough situations on a daily basis, because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We send dolls to all these partners, with specific doll designs to suit each NGO, as they will be using play (and sometimes the making of dolls) as a vital part of their work with children and caregivers. 

Our structure: Uthando Project Inc is an incorporated body in Western Australia, a registered charity and managed by a seven member Board. There are independent Uthando dollmaking groups across Australia who work closely with the original group in Gooseberry Hill, WA, as well as other doll makers worldwide who send their dolls directly to South Africa, plus groups within KZN itself. Thousands of individual dollmakers of all ages and cultures, schools and other organisations participate in the Uthando Project in a range of creative ways.