Kenyan cultural dolls to inspire young girls

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13892173 159975991094172_7483926104021962102_nTwo sisters, Risper Mukuiri and Nancy Schürch want to inspire little girls with their creation of Kenyan cultural dolls.

“The dolls are a representation of our Kenyan culture,” said Risper Mukiri, one of the sisters behind the dolls. “We were inspired to start the line of dolls after one of my sister’s daughters bought a Barbie doll in which the other noted it did not look like them. Unable to find one that would represent our identity, we decided to start our own line of Kenyan Barbie dolls.”

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For young girls, Barbie dolls are more than toys, it has effects on their self esteem too. According to a 2006 study conducted in the UK, young girls’ self esteem suffered after reading Barbie books.

The researchers conducted the study with 162 girls, ages five to eight. They gave a small group a picture book that did not show bodies at all, another group a book that featured Barbie and the last group a book that featured Emme, a more realistically proportioned doll.

After the girls looked at the books, they were asked questions about their body image. Younger girls who read the Barbie books were more dissatisfied with their bodies than those who read the Emme or the books that did not show bodies at all.

It is this dissatisfaction that young girls feel from playing with Barbie dolls that Risper and her sister want to address using their Kenyan-inspired dolls. “Young girls have always identified with Barbie dolls so when they play with a doll that is somewhat different from their appearance, they will feel as if they are not beautiful, which can lead to skin bleaching in a bid for the children to identify with the dolls,” said Risper.

“Our dolls are black thus young Kenyan girls can identify with them. They are also cultural i.e Kikuyu and Kalenjin dolls and have their own stories depending on its culture because we want to teach children about where they come from.”

Currently, they have the Nairobi, Kikuyu, Maasai and Kalenjin Mimi dolls.

Their store is located at Star Mall (G13) in the CBD, Nairobi. One cost Sh 2900 including and Ankara dress and another free. The Maasai Mimi doll cost Sh 500 more due to beading.

To get in touch with them call: 0722178511

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