Eco-Friendly Doll Making Workshop, Mumbai

Hinted at in the title name of Earth5R’s organization, reusing and recycling are two important concepts in the goal towards sustainable living. One project that Earth5R is developing right now is the concept of unique, eco-friendly ‘Dolls’.

The ‘Dolls Project’ is an entirely sustainable approach to salvaging waste cut-off material destined for landfill and giving women and young girls the opportunity to improve their skill set which in turn will lead to an empowering source of employment.

On Saturday 19th July, a group of international interns volunteering with AIESEC Navi Mumbai joined Earth5R’s Dolls project. Through a practical approach, they learned how to create the actual product, as well as, the packaging, design and intended impact in the community.

Led by Mantasha Kurshid Khan, the group of interns watched closely as the doll was assembled, and then had chance to create their own version of Dolls.

The script for creating each individual doll had to be simplistic enough that it could be taken into the slums and taught to women and children, for them to replicate independently.

  1. Firstly, a square piece of waste light fabric was cut for the head, enveloped into a spherical shape and secured with recycled thread.
  2. Secondly, the material for the dolls dress was selected and cut to the required shape. The bottom edge of the dress was sewn using a technique called “hemming” to create a professional finish and the upper edge of the dress was also finished by a simple stitch.
  3. The dress material was collected to fit the dolls neck and secured by stitching through the head material. The seam of the dress was then sewn down in order to finish the dress.
  4. Next, the face was crafted through sewing through the back of the head and produced on the front of the “face”.
  5. Finally, the hair for the dolls was designed. Using recycled wool yarn, different hairstyles were created; each beginning at the back of the head and attached using a variety of sewing techniques.
  6. Voilà! The doll was ready to be packaged, using recycled materials, and sold!

As the interns spanned across the globe, from China, to France, UK, Egypt and more, each of the dolls reflected their culture and individuality. The dolls differed in eye colour, hairstyle, clothing style and facial features, showing just how versatile the product is in terms of creative flexibility.

It took approximately 2 hours for the interns to create their own doll; some of whom had never sewn before. This short production time reflects the simplicity of the design; supporting the following part of the project – teaching women and girls in nearby slums to create their own. As the project continues to grow and develop, and the amount of interns involved with the project increases, the opportunity for Dolls to be realized in an international market is huge.

And this is just the beginning!

-Report by Paige Gelder, Edited by Anushka Mehta, Photos by Sharad Vegda