Buy a doll – and make a Zimbabwean child happy!

One of the charities we have been pleased to support this year is the Batsiranai project in Zimbabwe. Amanda Root provides the background.

Batsiranai began when fourteen mothers of disabled children formed a support group in Harare, Zimbabwe. In addition to living with extreme poverty, these families suffered from stigma related to local beliefs about the origin of disabilities. Furthermore, 25% of the population is HIV+, a situation in which families can easily spiral into extreme poverty and isolation. These women’s talents inspired them to begin making dolls and handicrafts to earn an income for their families. They named their group Batsiranai (BAT-si-RA-nai) which means “helping each other” in Shona, the local language. Thus, in Zimbabwe, there is much opportunity for “helping each other.” Batsiranai, located in a poor, highly populated township in Harare, creates Fair Trade dolls, as well as embroidered and painted handicrafts.The project has created a housing co-operative, paid medical and school fees and, of course, ensured many families can afford medicine and enough to eat. When the handicraft project began, these families were underfed and hungry, now their motto is... “Batsiranai has made us, FAT AND FATTER!" It is through your interest and support that Batsiranai can be successful. Please visit the online shop to view their beautiful dolls, some of which feature a mother with a baby dolls strapped to her back and designs using embroidery, fabrics and recycled bottle cap painting. The proceeds from your purchases go directly back to the members. You’ll find further information at www.batsiranai.com

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