Knitted dolls help women escape a life of oppression
DOROTHY Kirk remembers seeing a girl in Thailand cuddling one of her knitted dolls.
"She was cuddling it so tightly that if it was china, it would have broken."
The girl was 22, and had received one of the dolls through Destiny Rescue, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to rescuing children from human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Mrs Kirk, 72, has knitted more than 1000 dolls since she moved from Gympie to a Buderim retirement village with her late husband seven years ago.
The knitter with a mission said she simply wanted to contribute and do something to help others.
"I did it to be useful and to do my part for society. It wasn't just to keep me busy," she said.
"I didn't want to come into the village and sit in a unit and walk down the hall to collect my mail.
"I wanted to be part of the community."
Mrs Kirk began knitting while she was at home with her ailing husband.
She started knitting trauma teddies, popping a couple into every ambulance that came for her husband during his regular trips to hospital.
After his death, Mrs Kirk was looking for more ways to get involved with the community, and booked herself on a team trip to Thailand and Burma with Destiny Rescue.
She took three suitcases of dolls and watched some children carefully pick dolls in their favourite colours and others dive in en masse.
Mrs Kirk said no two dolls were the same.
Some of the wool and haberdashery she uses to make and clothe her dolls is donated, but she also buys her own materials.
She has not counted how many dolls she has knitted over the years, or the hours she has put in.
"When I've done all my housework and all the things I need to do for a day, I just sit and knit, sometimes for 10 minutes, sometimes for two hours," she said.
Mrs Kirk feels she is counteracting some of the human damage done by westerners who travel to Asia with one thing in mind.
"I just try and do my bit to show that not all westerners are the same," she said.