Community Programs & Partnership

Community Programs & Partnership

Dolls of Hope Project

The Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Sciences’ Dolls of Hope Project was initiated in the spring of 1998 as part of a World AIDS Day activity started by Professor Cynthia Davis. The theme for World AIDS Day in 1998 was “Youth Being A Force For Change”. Professor Davis, who is an avid doll collector, thought it would be great to make handmade cloth dolls for HIV/AIDS orphans. With a small grant from a pharmaceutical company, she identified a Master Doll Maker from San Diego, CA named Ingrid Andrews, and solicited local volunteers to come to her youth drop in center monthly to make dolls over a six month period. She also sent out solicitation letters to over 100 HIV/AIDS service provider agencies nationally and internationally telling them that she would have free handmade cloth dolls to donate to their clients with the caveat that they send back to the university a doll made by someone living with HIV/AIDS or made by women in local income generating programs. In December 1998, the project received over twenty dolls from these agencies and the dolls received were showcased in the university’s lobby on World AIDS Day, December 1, 1998. Over an eight month period, local volunteers made and purchased six hundred dolls which were dedicated at the university’s Worlds AIDS Day program on December 1, 1998. These dolls were then mailed out to the agencies who had responded to her solicitation letter as well as disseminated to local AIDS Service Organizations locally. To date, over 6,000 Dolls of Hope have been disseminated locally, nationally and globally in the following countries: South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Ghana, Honduras, Cuba, Haiti, Brazil, Peru, Dominican Republic, Thailand, and India. The project is supported by public and private sector donations. The Program Director is Professor Cynthia Davis, MPH and she can be reached at (323) 563-9309 or by email at cynthiadavis@cdrewu.edu