Cutting child poverty, one paper doll at a time.
By Carolyn Pogue
I’ve been making dolls for more than 60 years, but I’ve never made them with such purpose as now. Nor have I made them with such fervent prayer, nor in the company of so many people. These dolls represent 70,000 Alberta children living in poverty. They are part of the ongoing push by the Child Wellbeing Initiative (CWBI) to raise awareness about this emergency situation. This is the passion of Alberta women in the United Church.
In 2010, the CWBI inspired people around the province to help with the poverty doll project. We began by making a rag doll for each of our 83 members of the legislative assembly.
It was interesting to be in the visitors’ gallery to see the surprise on the faces of the MLAs as they entered the house and found a doll sitting on their desks. Attached to each was a card with the question Jesus posed: “If a child asks for bread, who would give a child a stone?” The card also contained the five things we want for the 70,000 Alberta children who live in poverty: school breakfast and lunch programs, more affordable daycare and housing, higher minimum wage and a provincial poverty-elimination strategy.
On November 20, National Child Day, dozens of us will return to the legislature. We’re taking each MLA a pin, handmade by Sharon Prenevost of Lethbridge. Each bears a picture of the rag doll and reads “End Child Poverty.”
We’ll hear MLA David Swann address the house on the problems that poverty presents to children (such as a poor standard of health, the risk of failure and school dropout), and how society is in turn impoverished by this situation. We’ll speak at a press conference and display the paper