Finding a doll that represents different races, ethnicities and religions can be a difficult task. Many retailers only carry a small selection of dolls, and often they come with blonde hair and Caucasian skin. But for one woman in Canada, the kindness of a stranger has made it possible for her and the children in her life to have dolls that represent them.
Sheza Hasan is a mother herself and growing up, she never found a doll that looked like her and wore a hijab. But earlier this month, that all changed. Hasan arrived at her home in Milton, Ontario to find a box filled with 25 handmade dolls waiting on her porch. The dolls had different skin colours and dresses and all wore hijabs.
The dolls were left by an anonymous gifter and arrived with a note addressed to Hasan. The ‘wonderful soul,’ as Hasan described the doll maker on her Facebook page, asked that Hasan distribute the dolls as she saw fit. The note reads “Dear Sheza, I noticed that dolls wearing hijabs seem hard to find, so I made 25 simple ones. Not being part of the Muslim community myself, I’m not sure who to give them to, but thought you might.” The message ended with a line indicating the doll maker knows Hasan, with a sign off that reads “Thank you for all you do and for being the wonderful person you are.”
Understandably moved by the stranger’s act of kindness, Hasan posted a picture of the dolls and the handwritten note on her Facebook page. “Between being told by stranger to ‘go back to my effing country’ and ‘eff you, terrorist’, this warmed my heart and reminded me that there are ALWAYS more good people out there than the other kind,” wrote Hasan. “Some gestures touch you deep into your soul. This was one of those for me. For some one to recognize me, my religion, and to give us agency herein. I felt acknowledged. And accepted. And welcomed. Thank you to the wonderful person who dropped this off to me… When being ourselves – a seemingly simple idea – seems like the toughest thing to accomplish, gestures like this reach out to us and provide the strength we need to carry on.”
Hasan’s story has quickly gone viral, with her Facebook post receiving close to 600 likes and comments of support from across the country, with one commenter writing “My newsfeed was filled with stories that made me sad, angry or disappointed until this one came up. I’m very thankful that you shared this story. It gives me hope that there are still far more good people out there.”
Many commenters on Hasan’s Facebook post have asked the doll maker to step forward so that they can order dolls for their children, but as of now the kind stranger’s identity is still unknown. Hasan is currently deciding on how she will distribute the dolls, but according to her comments on her Facebook post, she is considering making shadow boxes for local libraries so that the dolls can be on display for all children to enjoy.