Doll project connecting Japanese, Haitian quake kids begins

Doll project connecting Japanese, Haitian quake kids begins

"The children in Haiti suffering from the earthquake, the children in Japan suffering from the tsunami and the earthquake...all the children in the world need to know that they are connected, that someone cares," disaster care psychologist Judy Kuriansky told reporters during the kick-off event Tuesday in Manhattan.

Using her experience following the Sept 11 terrorist attacks on New York's World Trade Center in 2001 when teddy bears were distributed through the Red Cross to children to help them heal, Kuriansky pitched the idea to Nozomi Terao, the founder of HappyDolls Inc.
Since its inception in January 2011, HappyDolls, a New York-based non-profit organisation using traveling dolls as messages of hope, had been planning to have children in Tokyo make dolls for Haiti's youngest survivors of the 2010 quake.

Following the devastating March 11 earthquake in northeastern Japan, a new idea was proposed to include those children in the doll exchanges.

"It's like sending letters. Instead of letters we decided to use a doll," Terao explained, adding that the process of creating the dolls can be "therapeutic".

Tomorrow, Kuriansky and Terao will meet with a Haitian Catholic priest, Father Wismick Jean Charles, at the capital city's Church of Saint Louis King of France, where 100 children will receive the dolls.

To jump-start the exchange, the Haitian children will then create 100 dolls to be sent to the affected children in Japan as well as to survivors of the Sept 11 terror attacks on the United States.

The simple stuffed cotton dolls will be signed by the Haitian kids with uplifting messages and decorated individually before being sent overseas.

As part of the doll exchange event, the children will learn about the recent disaster in Japan, and composer Russell Daisey will lead the Haitian group in Japanese, Haitian Creole and English songs. (Kyodo)

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