Growing up, eight-year-old Sofia never felt close to toys because she found them to be different from her. Sofia, a disabled girl from Sussex, United Kingdom, wrote to Lego seeking better representation in their toys. She was born without a left hand and felt unrepresented by the toys.
After LEGO Group received a letter from Sofia which seemed a better and more relatable representation of disabled people like her, the toy-making giant decided to release a new range of toys that feature diverse characters to represent the real world.
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Who Is Sofia?
Sofia belongs to Sussex, United Kingdom. The little girl, who was born without a left hand, decided to write to Lego and express her concern over the fact that she does not feel represented because there’s no character or toy like her without a limb in the toy range. Her decision not only received massive attention and applause but also paved the way for change. Sofia’s mother, Jessica, shared the reason behind her daughter’s letter disclosing that Sofia wanted to feel like a child who belong just like any other child, and hence she wrote the letter.
Speaking with BBC, she expressed, “You don’t feel like you are represented because there is no one like you in the toys.” Sofia, who was on the BCC Breakfast show, was sharing how she wrote to the LEGO Group voicing her opinion and suggestion.
Soon after a segment, the presenters at BBC and the representatives of Lego surprised Sofia with a piece of news in person. Sofia came face to face with a character toy, Autumn.
Autumn is one of the eight new characters launched for the LEGO Friends theme in 2023. The interesting part about the character is that she has a similar limb difference just like Sofia.
Design director at LEGO Friends Fanella Charity revealed that Autumn not having a limb is not a coincidence but a conscious effort to make the toys a part of the real world and a move in the right direction for better representation.
The new range also lays focus on diversity and inclusivity featuring toy characters with physical, non-visible disabilities, neurodiversity, different skin tones, and cultures.
Fenella Charity revealed how the company had spent two years planning in designing the diverse characters. She further added that Sofia proved to be a huge inspiration as her letter helped them understand children’s perspectives better. Fenella Charity also told the presenters that apart from Sofia, a lot many children too wrote their opinions and suggestions to the Group, a lot of which were carefully read and considered.