Reaching a hand of kindness across globe

Irene Metcalfe and Judy Mackintosh with some of the dolls made for children in South Africa. Picture: Marcelo Palacios d418250
Irene Metcalfe and Judy Mackintosh with some of the dolls made for children in South Africa. Picture: Marcelo Palacios d418250

Known as ‘the doll lady’, Ms Mackintosh has been volunteering her time and expertise to create handmade dolls for children affected by AIDS.

The dolls are destined for children in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal region as part of the Uthando Project, a Perth group of knitting and sewing enthusiasts.

The project started in 2004 and was led by Australian infant and child psychologist Dr Julie Stone, who was working in South Africa at the time.

Ms Mackintosh said the Uthando Project aimed to help meet the children’s emotional needs.

‘Now it is a huge team of collaboration of doll-makers throughout Australia and worldwide, which is wonderful to be part of,’ she said.

‘The word ‘uthando’ means love in Zulu, and that really is what it’s all about.’

The former nurse said several people in the SwanCare community had supported the project, with some leaving bags of wool and fabric on her doorstep.

So far, more than 34,500 dolls have been sent to South Africa to help children deal with loss and grief through play.

For more information, visit uthandoproject.org