Community Programs and Partnership

Dolls of Hope Project

The Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Sciences’ Dolls of Hope Project began in 1998 as part of a World AIDS Day activity initiated by Professor Cynthia Davis. An avid doll collector, Professor Davis identified a master doll maker and solicited local volunteers to help make handmade cloth dolls for HIV/AIDS orphans. She also sent solicitation letters to over 100 HIV/AIDS service provider agencies, proposing that she would provide free handmade cloth for their clients if they would 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 20 dolls from these agencies, which were showcased on World AIDS Day.

Over an eight-month period, local volunteers made and purchased more than 600 dolls, which were distributed to the responding agencies and local AIDS service organizations. Today, the tradition continues and over 6,000 Dolls of Hope have been disseminated locally, nationally and globally to 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.

For more information, contact:
Cynthia Davis, MPH 
(323) 563-9309