Initiative inspired by Anne of Green Gables sees city use dolls to find foster families
A new initiative aimed at encouraging people to foster children is set to launch today in Wałbrzych, by drawing inspiration from the classic children’s novel Anne of Green Gables,
Wanting to encourage more people to open their homes and hearts to foster children, 50 residents will receive a handcrafted doll resembling the novel's iconic red-haired protagonist, Anne.
Lovingly produced in collaboration with a local puppet theatre, the dolls will have many of Anne's signature features including her straw hat.
Penned by Lucy Maud Montgomery in 1908 but set in the 1870s, the novel tells the tale of 11-year-old orphan Anne Shirley, who finds herself mistakenly sent to live with two middle-aged siblings, who ultimately become her loving family.
The campaign, launched under the hashtag #AniaSzukaDomu (#AnneIsLookingForAHome), aspires to capture the attention of potential foster parents.
Izabela Małek, the organizer and deputy head of the foster care department at the Municipal Social Welfare Centre (MOPS) in Wałbrzych, said: "It will be a game of pass it on. People who receive a doll but cannot provide a safe home for 'Anne' will be asked to pass the doll on.
“They will have to find trustworthy people who have an open heart and may be able to be foster parents.”
The dolls will circulate until they reach individuals willing and capable of providing foster care for children.
Recipients interested in fostering will be asked to contact MOPS, where they will undergo the necessary training.
If chosen, the doll will remain with the foster family, receiving a vibrant new dress to symbolize the union.
Małek said: "Anne of Green Gables was an orphan, a child in need of love, care, and attention, who found these in the home of Marilla and Matthew, her foster family."
She added that despite the story's 150-year-old origins, its relevance endures today.
She said: "We still have children in foster care who urgently need the care of loving adults in a nurturing family.”
According to Piotr Sapalski, coordinator for family foster care at MOPS in Wałbrzych, there are currently 140 children in care and educational facilities within the city.