The handmade dolls inspiring change across Australia one stitch at a time

One young mother’s moment of reflection whilst trying to soothe her anxious child to sleep sparked a question, that led to an idea that now inspires and connects communities and families across the Nation.

“If a fortunate child with a loving family routine surrounded with a room full of toys and books still felt anxious about going to sleep, how does a child living in poverty or the victim of trauma cope?”

That was the question Project KIN Founder and Managing Director Maryann Webb asked herself one evening. As a parent and teacher, Maryann knows the impact literacy and social skills have on a child’s wellbeing. When a child has little access to books and learning resources, they are very likely to fall behind in their learning which often means a future of continued disadvantage.

Based in Medowie, Project KIN is a registered community-centred charity helping Kids In Need (KIN) play and learn. Project KIN believe in a world where all children should feel loved and given the chance to play and learn.

Project KIN is on a mission to break the cycle of disadvantage which 731,000 children living in poverty in Australia, face each day.

Project KIN have developed high-quality Play and Learn packs which provide positive opportunities for children and their families. The heart of the project continues to be about promoting healthy bonds in the home. The Project KIN team are passionate about bringing positive, powerful and lasting impact to families across Australia, one pack at a time, so that what a child faces now, isn’t their tomorrow

Each Play and Learn pack includes a unique, handmade doll that a dedicated volunteer has ‘sew’ lovingly created, the Project KIN storybook ‘Imagine if you had a Friend’ which tells the story of the child meeting their new friend their doll, as well as an activity kit, all which seek to educate, empower and equip families. 

On August 21, Project KIN has invited all locals to a sewing bee. Locals can get involved by sewing, knitting, crocheting or quilting. The sewing bee will run from 10am until 2pm at the Greenhouse Eatery in Medowie. For more information on this event visit or email

Project KIN Play and Learn packs are gifted to Australian kids in need through a number of organisations including Salvation Army, Anglicare, Wesley Mission, Jericho Road and Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation. Packs have been gifted to children, usually in group settings, who are from low socioeconomic backgrounds and experiencing disadvantage, trauma and vulnerability.

In just two years, Project KIN’s movement for change has attracted over 600 volunteers who live within every state and territory across Australia, despite being a local charity. The predominantly female volunteer base of makers lovingly sew, knit and crochet the boy and girl dolls of every skin and hair colour that are included in the Project KIN Play and Learn packs.

For those who are non-crafters, there are still many ways to become involved and/or support Project KIN:

  • Volunteer – cut material; stuff dolls; pack ‘Play and Learn’ packs:
  • Fund a Play and Learn Pack – (as a family).  Fund as many packs as you like once, or on a regular/ongoing basis;
  • Sponsor/Fund Play and Learn Packs – (as a business);
  • Become a Local Gifting Partner;
  • Become a Schools Partner and/or
  • Join our team and/or become a Project Kin Ambassador.

For more information, photographs or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Lisa Taylor
0401 046 527
Lisa Taylor @ LinkedIN