Hand-sewn rag dolls offer
hope to children living in
a violent world
In war, children suffer. They are the "collateral damage" politicians refer to when they dismiss civilian deaths in armed conflicts.
Last summer, as I listened to a report of the death of Israeli children in a bus bombing and Palestinian children shot during a raid by the Israeli army, my frustration and anger spilled over at the untimely termination of so many young lives. Rag Dolls 2 Love was my response, born the day I read a story of how a Raggedy Ann doll was a tear catcher, friend, adviser and parent for a child who was in need.
Rag Dolls 2 Love Inc. was started to offer children solace that, unfortunately, their lives don't offer.
The project has enlisted volunteers in several states to be peacemakers with needle and thread. We hope to put a soft cloth doll in the hands of children under 6 in countries ravaged by war.
I knew a soft rag doll could bring comfort to children traumatized, maimed or orphaned. Such cloth ambassadors can express love to children turned all too quickly into adults by the violence of everyday life.
Rag Dolls 2 Love isn't just a gesture of good will, it is a gesture of understanding. Volunteers around the world are now sewing dolls. The first shipment of dolls has been sent to children in Gaza. More will be sent to the children in Palestine/Israel in late June. In the next year we will be shipping dolls to children in Haiti. How wide our effort will be, though, depends on how many more people are willing to join us.
In the Middle East, Palestinian boys and girls have been shot while eating a sandwich or crushed by falling walls as their homes were being demolished.
They grow up psychologically damaged by the continuing sounds of war, fearful as their towns are turned into rubble and a new wall rises to separate them from family members.
Israeli children have been blown up while riding a bus, eating a meal at a restaurant with their family or hit by bomb fragments in their strollers. Many have been orphaned by suicide bombings and traumatized by stories of random violence.
This doll is something that can't suffer and can't die. It is loved by the child who hugs it at night, whose tears wash its body and who tells it the secrets buried in their heart.
The six-piece doll pattern kit is available on line at www.ragdolls2love.org. Or you may order a pattern by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. The online pattern is posted at greater than 100 percent and should be reduced to 100 percent before printing.
Mary Page Jones lived in the Middle East for four years and worked with Palestinian camp occupants while her husband, Episcopal Bishop Bob Jones, served as dean of St. George's College in Jerusalem. They returned to the United States in 2000 and have lived in Hawaii this year while he served as interim pastor of St. Elizabeth Episcopal Church in Kalihi.