Joao Stanganelli Jr. is a grandfather from Brazil who’s decided to dedicate his retirement days to a new hobby.
This hobby helps children with vitiligo feel better. Stanganelli himself also has this condition. He started experiencing symptoms of it in his late 30s.
Even though this condition isn’t painful, it changes one’s physical appearance- it causes pigment loss and thus, forms white patches on different parts of the skin.
Today, in his 60s, this grandpa has found a way to fill his free time and help children with vitiligo feel better- he started crocheting dolls in amigurumi technique.
Amigurumi is a special technique of crocheting which focuses on making cute plush toys for children.
Stanganelli was persistent and dedicated while learning to make these dolls.
For the first one, he needed more than a week. Once he did this doll, he wanted to make another one for his granddaughter as something to remember him by.
So, he decided to make a vitiligo doll.
This doll was same as all other plush dolls; however, this one was named Vitilinda and had spots on her skin, just like real people with vitiligo have.
After making his first doll with vitiligo, he started crocheting more inclusive dolls and not just dolls with vitiligo, but dolls in wheelchairs and dolls with other visual impairments.
Stanganelli claims he’s made more than 200 dolls.
Inclusion Dolls, Children Love Them
It’s really an amazing moment when we see ourselves represented in a doll especially if we haven’t seen this before.
And, thanks to this thoughtful grandpa’s crochets, children with visual impairments are now able to experience this good feeling.
The grandpa says he doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. He wants to continue improving children’s and adults’ self esteem.
He uses an Instagram and Facebook page to showcase his creations.
He recently crocheted a doll for author Tati Santos de Oliveira whose daughter Maria Luiza was only 3 years old when she diagnosed with vitiligo.
Exposure to difference and understanding and accepting differences is how we can best promote inclusion and fight off the stigma. This amazing grandpa is doing precisely this and putting smiles on a lot of children’s faces.
What a wonderful man, right?!