Selina Prevost has her work cut out for her. She’s on a mission to transform 100 teddy bears and 100 Bratz dolls into welcome gifts for Syrian children before Christmas.
She says she was partly inspired by local artist, Wendy Tsao, who turns Bratz dolls into real-life heroines, including Malala.
“She made a Malala doll, and when I saw that, I sort of went, ‘oh my gosh”, I could totally do that.”
Prevost took some of her daughter’s old Bratz dolls, removed the make up, painted on new eyes, and made an outfit out of felt using a hot glue gun.
When people asked her what she was doing for the boys she thought of collecting teddy bears and dressing them up.
“I had a thought about collecting small teddy bears and making vests for them with little buttons, and little canvas legs and lapels.”
Each teddy has a tag that says “Welcome to Canada” in both English and Arabic.
Prevost says she was inspired by a story she heard about Syrian children being afraid of their pillows because they associated them with bombs falling at night.
She was struck by that image, and it made her think about what she would take with her if she had to flee with her children.
“I think about it with my own children, my daughter is seven and my son is five…If we were fleeing I know exactly the two toys I would grab for them. Coming to a new country and new place, and everything is new and everything is scary, and people are telling you you’re safe but you don’t feel it yet. Just to have something in your hand, for a child would make a big difference.”
Lots of “likes”
So far Prevost has 47 dolls in different stages of completion, and 20 bears.
Her goal is to get 100 dolls and 100 bears by Christmas, and if she gets more than that, she’ll keep making them.
“I’ll make as many as I can get. I’m getting lots of likes and lots of shares, but not a lot of donations, so I’m really trying to get people to search through their toy boxes or their thrift stores and find some and bring them.”
Prevost says that the owner of Sticky’s Candy in Coquitlam recently approached her and is going to match every doll and teddy she completes with a small bag of candy.