The Story of the Dolls

Diane Millett (Pleasant Grove, Utah) served as Humanitarian Coordinator in her ward relief society. She wanted to know what projects were needed, so she contacted Roger Brown, who served in the Salt Lake City area Humanitarian Services effort. A missionary couple who had returned from their mission told of a village high in the mountains of Paraguay. Earlier the village had been converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The young men from the village who went on missions for the church struggled. They were socially backward and had very little education.

The village people were very poor and everyone had to work. They planted their crops in terraces on the mountain side so the babies were strapped to their mother’s backs or laid on the ground. The babies did not receive the stimulation needed for healthy, social and mental development. The children in the village needed to be taught, so items for teaching were needed. The missionaries assigned to the village needed ABC books, colors, and certain types of toys to teach them how to play and to learn about the outside world.


Patterns and instructions were given to Diane Millett for her people to produce these items. Patterns for six-inch cloth dolls of different colors (both male and
female) were designed. These dolls were greatly appreciated and well received.

The dolls were designed by Claudia Johnson (Cedar Hills, Utah) who also designed an 11-inch cloth doll. Claudia and her sister-in-law, Laura, made these dolls for more than six years. They worked very hard and provided many dolls.


In 2010, RoseAnn Gunther, director of the Launfal Foundation located in American Fork, Utah felt the need for 11-inch cloth dolls to be made for children who had never seen or knew what toys were — not even a word in their language for “toy.” Eloah Dawn Beckstrand (Orem, UT), Claudia Johnson, Anne
Worden (American Fork, UT) and Laurine Mefford (American Fork, UT) coordinate and instruct the many volunteers who make these dolls.


Number of dolls made from June 2010 to December 2015: 6,593