One mum’s line of dolls with disabilities makes clear just how few toys like this there are. [Photo: Caters]
A mother of two autistic boys has created empowering dolls to encourage acceptance of children with disabilities.
Maria Kentley, from Melbourne, Australia, started the Hope Toys line last year in response to the perfect figures manufactured by the major toy companies.
Her dolls represent a number of disabilities - some are amputees with prosthetic legs, while others have wheelchairs or walking aids.
Ms Kentley, a mother-of-four with two sons with autism, said: “I like to use these dolls to help raise awareness of various disabilities, rare illnesses, cancer, birth defects and so on, to hopefully help remove the stigma of many often misunderstood conditions people live with.
One of the toys, with it’s happy owner. [Photo: Caters]
“I also make wheelchairs, walkers and other medical accessories to go with the dolls.”
Each toy comes with information about its corresponding disability and provides links to charities and fundraising websites.
“Seeing the look on the child’s faces when they receive their dolls is something I will never get tired of,” she said.
“Knowing these dolls have made a positive difference in their self-esteem is priceless.
“This experience has been very therapeutic for me in the sense that I see my own children in every child receiving these dolls.”
All the money raised from sales goes straight back into making more toys.
“Hope Toys makes absolutely no profit on any of the dolls because it’s more of an awareness mission for me rather than a business,” said Ms Kentley.
“Dolls and toys like these should be seen as normal toys for all children.
“Encouraging children to play with a diverse range of toys and dolls is a great step in helping children accept, understand, and value their rich and varied world.”
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