Grandfather João crochets dolls to make kids with skin conditions feel empowered

"I am João Stanganelli Júnior, a 65-year old from Brazil. I am a voracious reader, and I like to hike, exercise, and play basketball.

Image: João Stanganelli Júnior
Image: João Stanganelli Júnior

I was diagnosed with Vitiligo at the age of 38. Vitiligo is a non-contagious and autoimmune disease.

Even though I have not faced any kind of bullying or prejudice, I am aware that a lot of people bully those who have a disease that impacts one’s physical appearance. I have never been bothered by my Vitiligo. I do not care about the standard physical conventions set by society. My skin and my marks are beautiful. People who see us any different have horrible marks in their thoughts.


I had a heart attack in 2016 that put me on complete bed rest for a long time. I used to see my wife crocheting regularly, and that made me curious to try and learn the same. Amigurumi is a Japanese crochet technique that is used to make knitted stuffed toys. I wanted to leave my granddaughter something to remember me so I started making a doll that looked like me. I must say it was not easy. I had to be very persistent as it took me 5 days to make one doll. But the outcome was totally worth my time and effort


Inspired by the American artist Kay Black, I started making and selling personalised dolls to celebrate every skin and mark. My dolls are a symbol of self-esteem, resilience, dignity, representativeness, and empowerment. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to create a doll that is powerful. Each piece I create is unique, and I pour my heart and soul into it.

These dolls encourage those who are discriminated against, as if they were outcasts, it brings light and hope. Diversity yes, inequality no! I believe that we are living in a unique moment. Today is a good time to reflect on our beliefs, self-knowledge, and self-car. To paraphrase Benjamin Disraeli, "life is too short to be small"

You Humanity pays respect and gratitude to João Stanganelli Júnior for going above and beyond to contribute towards Humanity.


If you know someone who is going above and beyond for others, please share the story https://www.youhumanity.com/share-your-story

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