The seeds of Dolls4Tibet arose out of a family story. When Samdol Lhamo was two her German mother, Mona, and her Tibetan father, Karma Sichoe, were searching for a doll their daughter could culturally identify with. The only answer was for Mona to create one herself.
While watching this first doll evolve, it dawned on the couple that this could become an ideal product created within a gender-specific work environment. They envisioned Tibetan refugee women, who were unskilled – or otherwise marginalized – creating unique Tibetan handicrafts reflecting their own rich culture. Just as their small daughter did identify with her much-loved doll’s features and colourful costumes, so might a Tibetan team creating such dolls.
As Mona trained and was employed as a social worker and designer, and Karma is a renowned Tibetan thangka painter, they were inspired to provide a socially aware, supportive training and work environment for the most vulnerable women in the Tibetan refugee community. The motivation to create culturally relevant handicrafts came from their family’s deep commitment to the Tibetan cause.