Clare Tawell’s creations look a little different than other dolls — just like the children they’re made for!
The mom of two works as a medical radiation technologist in the U.K., but in her free time, she helps kids with disabilities see themselves in the toys they play with.
A couple years ago, Clare created a nonprofit called Bright Ears U.K., through which she modifies baby and elf dolls to match children with varying medical conditions. Her 4-year-old daughter Matilda, who is deaf, inspired her wonderful mission.
“I became really disheartened when I couldn’t find a doll or any toy with hearing aids,” she told Today. “It felt to me that society didn’t deem her important and therefore she shouldn’t be acknowledged.”
So she decided to make one herself! When other parents of deaf children took notice, requests for more custom dolls came pouring in!
Clare has since sold more than 2,000 dolls and has expanded her collection to include toys with cleft palates, feeding tubes, insulin pumps, and limb differences.
Her goal is to make every child feel accepted and normalize their conditions, and it’s working! Some schools are even buying her dolls to teach their students about inclusion!
“I would love for children in the future to be able to go into a shop and see dolls with hearing aids and cleft lips next to the regular dolls, because then it makes it normal, not different,” Clare explained. “When people see these dolls, it can open up a dialogue and increase awareness and understanding of these differences.”
What a sweet way to promote and support inclusion! If you’re interested in ordering a custom doll, get in touch with Clare on Facebook.
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