What’s In a Doll



What wisdom can a toy doll impart on us? We either make our toys represent ourselves, making our toy look like us, or our toy becomes our confidant or our best friend. In either case we have the opportunity to project ourselves and reflect on our life through play. Play is a necessary for all of us, we can simulate social interactions and try new things out in a safe environment. Play provides us with insights into ourselves our strengths our challenges.

What wisdom can a toy doll impart on us? On its own not a lot, in the hands of a young girl the possibilities are endless. Two remarkable young ladies, Kaila, twelve, and Kiana, nine, have become brilliant advocates for their sister Kalli, five and has albinism. How do you tell Kaila and Kiana about the harsh words of those ignorant to the needs of their younger sister, Kalli with albinism? How do you deal with the harsh statements from other children, “we won’t play with your sister because she’s a freak!”, or “your sister looks like a cuckoo clock because her eye’s swing back and for!”. How to you explain to Kaila and Kiana when they ask, “if they don’t know about albinism why don’t they just ask?”. Frankly you don’t.

Kaila and her sister Kiana have American Girl dolls that look like them. American Girl is a premier brand for dolls and doll accessories. The American Girl’s focus is on empowering young girls, instilling values, and reinforcing for them that the possibilities to impact and change the world are endless. Kaila and Kiana continue to requested that American Girl consider developing a doll that looks that their sister, Kalli. Sharing Kalli’s story to educate people about the needs of persons with disabilities and specifically those with Albinism.

Kaila and Kiana are generating significant momentum with their advocacy. The sisters wrote a letter to the principle of their school, asking for support in the form of letters to American Girl in her request for an American Girl doll that looks like, Kalli and represents those of us with Albinism telling our story of how we overcome our disability and live. The sisters advocacy has taken hold, not only did their school agree to participate, other school’s have taken up the charge and have sent letters to American Girl. It’s estimated that over a thousand letters have now been sent to American Girl asking them to represent the stories of persons with Albinism.

American Girl has historically played it safe and has represented more traditional gender and race based issues with their dolls and their dolls stories. To date American Girl has not ventured from educating girls about basic values. No brand has really embraced the stories of young girls with, disabilities. Or stories of young girls in more recent history who’ve had to grow in the world of divorce, or other social issues. It’s not hard to wonder how inspirational the stories of those of us who have overcome and live. Kalli’s story like the story of any of us with Albinism is amazing.

Kaila and Kiana are making a difference, American Girl this summer will be releasing for the first time accessories that represent accommodations for those with disability. These new accessaries do not address specifically any one disability but could be used by a range of persons with different disabilities. The sisters have had some success in advocacy and teaching those about the issues of having albinism.

American Girl has made a difference inspiring young girls like Kaila and Kiana. Inspiring them to advocate for people like their sister, Kalli and other with Albinism. Inspiring them to respond to ignorance with education and to change the world in their own way one person at a time.

The sisters are continuing to advocate and are finding other channels to share their message and educated people about albinism.

Posted in: Abinism, Advocacy

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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