Uthando Project


To create handmade dolls for our partner organisations in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, who work with disadvantaged and vulnerable children to strengthen relationships through play.

To provide opportunities for community, shared creativity and purpose for dollmakers in Australia and around the world.

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. The number of dolls shipped each year has steadily increased and around 6000 dolls are shipped each year to our partners in KZN from our headquarters in Forrestfield.  Groups provide doll makers with a sense of community and companionship through a sharing of skills and ideas with a common humanitarian purpose.

Why KZN?

The millions of children living in poverty in KwaZulu Natal are among those most deeply affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  Parental, family and cultural support around the children is often 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 a registered charity based in Western Australia and managed by a seven member Board. Thousands of individual dollmakers of all ages and cultures, participate in the Uthando Project in a range of creative ways.  There are independent groups of Uthando dollmakers across Australia who send their dolls to the headquarters in Forrestfield WA for shipment to KwaZulu Natal.  Many schools and other community organisations have included Uthando Project workshops in their programmes.  There are also dollmakers worldwide who send their dolls directly to South Africa.

Uthando Project