From Rags to Ragdolls

Elimu Resource Centre
byElimu Resource Centre

In this pandemic period where shutdowns were the order of the day, and nothing much was going on, Elimu chose to think outside the box. We decided to engage our sewing students with income generating projects. Bringing them back to Malindi to sew removed them from the harsh environments that poverty dictates at home in their rural communities and kept them from the risk of being married off by their relatives.
An innovative idea of sewing ragdolls that could tell the story of their struggles was born. The girls took to the task and accepted the challenge. Having never attempted such a thing, they were a bit unsure of what the result would be. It took a few prototypes and learning from their mistakes before they finally came up with the perfect design. Over a period of the next four months of trials and errors, hard work and endless sewing, they produced 100 adorable Kenyan-inspired rag dolls.

"A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform."

Each doll bears a beautiful dress with a touch of African fabric designed by L.A. design company, Tomfoolery.la. The owner of Tomfoolery spent a month with a group of Elimu sewing graduates in Kenya to produce a Kenyan line of her signature drop seat jumpsuits that were showcased at her 2019 Paris Fashion Week launch. For a group of village girls this was really progress! What they learned in the process is helping to make their businesses stand out from the crowd back at home in their communities.
The handmade Kenyan ragdolls will be used as fundraisers overseas. Proceeds will help more vulnerable girls from impoverished rural communities to improve their lives and economic prospects as they become the change makers of the next generation.