Manipur: How Crocheting Japanese Dolls Is Empowering Displaced Women

Following the outbreak of ethnic conflict in Manipur in May this year, a unique project launched a couple of months later in the state is empowering women displaced by violence with skills in the Japanese craft art of amigurumi.

Nikita Gupta
New Update
Manipur crochet.jpeg

Image Credits: NDTV

Following the outbreak of ethnic conflict in Manipur in May this year, the Singapore-based brand 1 Million Heroes initiated the project 'Stitching Hope' a couple of months later to empower women displaced by violence with skills in the Japanese craft art of amigurumi.


Detailed templates, tools, and materials were provided to women in relief camps, enabling them to create dolls. The initiative served as a sustainable means of livelihood for those affected by the ethnic violence, which has resulted in nearly 200 casualties and the displacement of over 60,000 individuals.

'Stitching Hope'

As reported by The Hindu, the pre-sale campaign for crochet dolls, handmade by the displaced women, surpassed expectations by raising $11,000.

The online campaign for the dolls, which took place from October 7 to November 5, resulted in $11,000 worth of pre-sale orders from North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia.

The women underwent training to create dolls such as Buddy (the pet Dog), Mitten (the Cat), Raja (the Tiger), Oliver (the Bear), and Bole (the Buddy). Monish Karam from 1 Million Heroes noted that the business generated through the pre-sale campaign exceeded the initial target by twice the amount. He attributed this success to a combination of compassion and the therapeutic aspect of crafting dolls.

Karam emphasized that the campaign's success goes beyond numbers; it reflects a human connection. He highlighted the impact on children worldwide learning from stories of resilience and the artisans finding healing and purpose through their craft.


Officials from the State's Trade, Commerce, and Industries stated that as the campaign transitions to the production phase, it has instilled a narrative of hope among the women, empowering them to regain control over their lives. The dolls are expected to be delivered to homes around the world by the end of December.

Women Come Forward And Take Ownership

According to NDTV, Laishram Geeta Leima, a 36-year-old mother of three, who is part of the program is placing her aspirations on crocheting to provide support to her family. Forced to seek safety after her village in Sugnu Awang Leikai, Kakching district, was attacked on May 27 this year, Geeta finds optimism in the craft of crochet due to its simplicity to learn and its productivity.

"We are delighted to have acquired these new skills. We've been informed that they are devising ways to generate income for us through these dolls," expressed Geeta Leima.

Agom Sangeeta Leima, aged 48 from Sugnu town, Manipur, faced an attack on her village on May 28. She expressed that the doll-making program has heightened her confidence by presenting a solution to financial difficulties. 

Utpala Longjam, a doll artist and the camps' master trainer, mentioned that the Stitching Hope campaign has played a role in enhancing their mental well-being. It has shifted their focus from the distressing memories of burnt homes and the loss of loved ones to a creative outlet and a means of earning.

Suggested Reading: Manipur: Kuki MLAs Accuse State Police For Atrocities Against Women

crochet #manipur Crochet art Women In Manipur Displaced Women