Bringing the World Closer

By Helena Wimpole

The Rotary Doll Lovers Fellowship is a worldwide group of Rotarians who share a common interest in dolls as a symbol of international culture and friendship.

The Fellowship came about as a result of the establishment of a Doll Museum in the city of Rajkot, Gujarat State, India in 2004. The idea for this Museum started some three years earlier when a request was made from the Rotary Club of Rajkot Midtown to Rotarians worldwide. The Museum required dolls from Rotarians that were handmade and symbolised the culture and traditions of the country in which they were made. The main purpose of the Doll Museum was to enable disadvantaged children and others to attend the Museum, enjoy the dolls and through them learn about other parts of the world, their people’s culture and customs.

As a consequence of the outreach to Rotarians around the globe, the Museum received a very generous supply of ethnic dolls, indicating an ideal example of the true internationality of Rotary. Together with the Dolls, there were letters and notes explaining the culture, tradition, life styles, food recipes and prominent personalities, etc. of the relevant country. This proved a helpful addition to the understanding of each of the countries, their traditions and history.

Some Rotarians developed such a fondness for the dolls that they decided to make the extension to forming the Doll Lovers Fellowship, which commenced in 2005. The Fellowship maintained the program, known as “Gift a Smile,” which continues to encourage Rotarians worldwide to send their ethnic dolls to the Doll Museum so that as many countries as possible are represented. In addition, Rotary clubs or individual Rotarian members of the Fellowship are requested to donate 50 toys for under privileged children.  

Membership of this Fellowship is open to all Rotarians, their partners, Rotaractors, and others connected to Rotary. There is no joining fee. However, there is the requirement that an ethnic doll is made for the Rajkot Doll Museum.

Membership of the Rotary Doll Lovers Fellowship offers the possibility of international cultural sharing, lifelong friendships and sharing experiences with others around the world through newsletters and the website.

Although not every country is represented in the Doll Lovers Fellowship, it is pleasing to note that Australia is represented through the Rotary Club of Albany Port, Western Australia.

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