Monday, November 29, 2010

Da Mo Dolls

All of these dolls with their outfits are unique.
They are the very first ones to be produced, and while some may lack in expert finishing,
it is more than made up for in the uniqueness of each design and the quality of the Miao embroidery.
Each doll has been given the name of a girl living  in Da Mo,
 helped by sponsors around the world to go to school
and have hope for the future.

1. Tao Caichun( Sorry I've been taken)

                           2. Tao Caijie( I have a new home now)

3.Tao Xiuhui ( I'm taken)

4Tao Zhiwu ( I'm taken too)

5 Tao Meitun ( I'm taken too)

6 Tao Fengban ( I'm taken now)

7 Tao ZhiZhi( I'm gone now too)
8 Tao Xiucai

9 Tao Xiuwen ( I'm taken now too)
10 Tao Xiulan (sorry, I'm taken now)

For those who wish to purchase a doll please

1.Send payment either :-

Paypal Button on Blog ( US & Europe) $48 for one doll inc shipping
                                                              34 euros for one doll inc shipping
Send cheque to Hope4China (UK)  £27 for one doll inc pp

2. Choose your doll & let me know which one at

3. I will post as soon as payment is received.

Thanks for all the interest- think they will all be gone soon!!!!!
I can take orders for more..........

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Butterflies....and Beginnings......

We interrupt the natural flow of our Trip ( next stop Desheng – promise!!!!) to share exciting news about a new project which we need to share before Christmas…….

This was the Trip of the Butterfly….and new Beginnings.
........from the many stunningly beautiful, colourful butterflies who flitted amongst our group,
to the discussions we shared together on the long journeys about the life lessons to be learned…….

Did you know that if you were to help ease out the emerging butterfly struggling from its chrysalis, that you would destroy it, robbing it of the means to gain the strength needed to unfold its wings and fly.

                                     The struggle creates the strength to spread the wings and fly!!!!!!!

                          What a wonderful symbol of Hope to those who struggle everywhere………
(and a reminder to any who wish to help to consider the possible effects of some well-intentioned acts????)

And of course this was all BEFORE we met Silky, the Silkworm who travelled home with us to Scotland from Desheng and emerged slowly from her chrysalis on my desk (that’s another Story – watch this space :-)

Da Mo village in Jingxi, remote and beautiful,  next to the Vietnam border is home to about 350 people from the Miao ethnic minority. I have visited it in my heart many times, watching DVDs of Matthew's trips there to help the girls, holding my breath as the van lurches down the treacherous mountain road, feeling the excitement of the children waiting below for their friends to arrive, the extreme poverty of the basic living conditions, the joy of the children singing and playing together, the hard work of the women struggling to make ends meet in this remote place of beauty and wonder, the bright colourful, hand-embroidered Miao costumes, the dedication and commitment of the teacher who earns £20 a month… I could go on forever…..but this trip we finally made the journey ourselves!!!!!!

We will share about our experiences there later, but for now we just wanted to share one thing which has lain on our heart………
Our friend Shelley helped to set up this wonderful programme with Matthew in 2007? to help and support the girls to go to school.

As Hope4China first started supporting girls there at Primary school, some of them progressed so well that they became the very first girls in the village to travel outside the village to Longban Middle school. This was a major achievement for them, giving them hope for the future….or was it?

Some struggled to fit in, had a hard time from the other kids who looked down on them as Miao. We have been working to help build up confidence and encourage them…but what is progress…surely it is choice?

The choice to stay in the village they love, but also be able to do something meaningful and earn a good living.

We did not have to teach skills – the Da Mo women already have the skills!!!!!
We just needed a team to help bring these amazing skills to the world……….

Through Hope4China this team has emerged……….
A US friend and a special lady in our church have given money for Da Mo to help set up a project,
 to “make a difference” there
and a new friend in China with her skills has helped to bring it all together.

I must stop now and let Paula tell you about The Butterfly Project

"The “Big Desert” Da Mo, village of about 350 people has birthed the “Butterfly Project”.

Six women met to begin a business for Hope4China producing dolls dressed in their traditional Miao costumes to be sold internationally.

Each woman was given seed money from Hope4China and Shelley to buy material and supplies. They were also given a month to produce a prototype doll to decide if they wanted to pursue the idea as a long term business. The answer was quickly given by some of the girls upon my month return. Sixteen beautifully dressed dolls were carefully wrapped in bags waiting for me!

The dolls were not proportionally cute or marketable, however their gifting was revealed in the doll’s outfits. Each doll costume was uniquely crafted with amazing detail in beading and embroidery.

Another organization who works with the deaf community is instead making the dolls. The Hearts and Hands dolls were dressed perfectly with the village outfits and sent off to Scotland where they will raise money for the women and village scholarship fund. Future dolls will be taken to the village for the women to “dress” in their costumes. They will personally earn money for their costume handwork, but also impact their community through the sale of the dolls.

You can learn more about this project at and on their blog at You can also learn more about the organization serving the deaf community at They have a lovely catalog to purchase handicraft items.

It is an honor to work with these wonderful people and to partner with organizations. My desire is to walk along side others instead of reinventing the wheel. The traditional costumes of this village have a little “butterfly wing” on the back. It is so fitting that the Butterfly Project should begin here in the Big Desert."

         So we now have the first dolls
       ready for sale for Christmas!!!!!!!

This is a unique oppurtunity to buy these lovely dolls, dressed in completely authentic Miao costumes designed and handsewn by the Miao women of Da Mo village.
 It is impossible to capture in a photo the exquisite embroidery and detail on the outfit.
Each one is different - one of a kind!

And the joy of this gift is that it is also a gift to the women of Da Mo who will receive the proceeds of the sales to help them and their community.
                                       The dolls are available NOW                 
                        for £25, 30 euros, $40, plus shipping.

We expect these first dolls to go fast, so get your orders in quick for Christmas :-)

Please contact us at to order your doll now!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bai Jia Bei

To welcome and celebrate a new life, there is a tradition in the northern part

of China to make a Bai Jia Bei, or 100 Good Wishes Quilt. It is a custom to

invite friends and family to contribute a patch of cloth with a wish for the

baby. Part of the patch of cloth goes into the quilt for the baby, and the other

part of the cloth can go into a creative memory notebook with the wish for the

child. The quilt contains the luck, energy, and good wishes from all the

families and friends who contributed a piece of fabric. The quilt is then passed

down from generation to generation.

I love the concept and I thought this would be something that would involve the

waiting families as much as the families who have children already at home.

We (Ellen Bower and I) have teamed up to make one to raise funds for Hope4China.

I will make the quilt and Ellen will make a book of the 100 wishes. I am not a

pro but I have made a quilt or two in my time, Plan is for a large single bed size 2.2 metres X 1.4 metres,

The quilt is going to be raffled among the people who take part. During the days

of financial squeeze we have made the entry possible at two levels.

1. You need to send in a piece of cotton. No smaller than 20x25 cm or 8" x 10",

fat quarter would be ideal. It will likely be cut up and appear in several

places. That piece will include the material that goes to the wish card.

2. Create a wish on a card/paper with a piece of the material - if you are stuck

Ellen will be able to help, she is magic with all things creative.

3. Send in a cheque made for hope4china children

- £7.50 will buy you three raffle tickets


- £10 will buy you four raffle tickets

- please add 50p or £1 donation for wadding, backing material and book

materials, so all the raffle money can go to help the work hope4china does in


My address is

Pauliina Johnston




AB55 6ND

I have no idea how long it will take to find 100 people to take part. I will put

up a blog when the materials start to come in and you can see the progress. Work

starts when all the pieces are in and a single quilt usually takes me 5-6 months

to make as I like to hand quilt. If I find someone keen to machine quilt I will

not turn them down.

Please spread the word, get all your family and friends to join in. Especially

tell to the families that are waiting, tell to people who always wanted to make

one but never quite got round to it and sneak in an entry for your child, give

one as a Xmas present to the expecting family you want to remember.

At times I get donations from people who do not want the quilt but want to give

to a good cause. Those empty tickets will be raffled among the participants

before the big draw.

Pauliina and Ellen

PS From Linda...wonderful idea...would be FANTASTIC to have squares sent in from our friends all over the world. Please participate & send your square!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Majestic to Hechi......

Here we go again.........

Good old Matthew, meeting us at Nanning Airport again ......
trying to fit all that luggage into the van, along with a few extra children and adults!!!!!
I am sure the driver must think we are all crazy Westerners with our suitcases full of matching shoes and bags....
Or on second thoughts, looking at us all, maybe not??????
One year, I will travel with one suitcase, just with clothes for our trip..........

OK, Maybe not going to happen?

These cases are full of Teddies, Gifts, Medical supplies, Letters, Books, Photos, Special Requests. etc......all coming from special people around the world to precious children/teenagers/staff in Guangxi.
Somehow each year, we manage to get it all safely there!

Little ones relax & re-aquaint themselves..
letting the poor driver navigate the headache of fitting us all in :-)

Good team work...some instant lollies to keep all running smoothly.....
All last...I can't believe we're all actually here!!!!!!!! and ready to set off on our adventures

Before we know it, we have travelled along that wide, pleasant road, thro the crazy Nanning traffic to "our second home", The Majestic Hotel - a very special place for these three cuties!!!

and great fun for everyone else to join in with.......
How many wee bots have slid down these ramps????

                                         Meeting old friends...with very special new additions:-)

Desheng Sisters and Mamas

...some VERY crazy ones :-)

Special Connections :-)

               ..and some REAL special conversations...the kind that don't need words and common language?

And then we were off into the van for the long journey to Hechi to begin our work....
the little ones settled into the theme of the 2010 Trip - Nintendo DS -
the common language and lifesaver on a long and busy trip!!!!!

But soon even that was too much for the intrepid travellers zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

our very first " Situation"
( we usually have a few!!!!!)

As we all settled, the bus began to feel either very hot, or very cold............
Eventually, it just STOPPED!
The engine had overheated...nothing to do with our excess baggage, I am sure!
As the men investigated, shaking their heads at the liquid trickling from the engine, we carried sleepy children to safety and huddled in the light of a roadside stall, smiling and trying NOT to think of the prospect of transporting our sleepy children, bags of teddies and everything else to Hechi in the midle of the night.

Shawn was put on immediate Prayer Duty ( as if she was not already there :-)......

                                   ........and before long, the engine spluttered back into life,
                                       and  we all clambered back in to continue our journey!!!!!

We made it!!!!!!

                   The intrepid travellers bright and bushy tailed as we arrived at Hechi Hotel safely!

As we arrived at the deserted restaurant to eat, a wedding party complete with Firecrackers had just left. I don't know if somebody had tried to extinguish them, but there was a huge pool of water left on the floor. As we settled into a table in the corner, Matthew sprang into action, mopping up the water :-),
til the waitresses were shamed into completing the job :-)

                                                              Action Man!!!!!

Oh, the dinner tasted sooo good!
And it was good to be home!!!!!
Was that our "third home"??

Ready for Desheng Action next day....................