Lusia Kiroyan: Empowering female inmates through batik-wearing dolls
If you like to collect Barbie dolls, you might know the hijabi Barbie-lookalike doll named Jenna that just turned into a hit for wearing an abaya robe, a modest couture dress and colorful headscarf.
Created by French businesswoman and mother Samira Amarir, Jenna followed the success of Hijarbie, a popular Instagram account owned by Nigerian scientist Haneefa Adam, which featured images of a hijab-wearing Barbie toy from Mattel.
Indonesia too has Barbie-like dolls and they are clad not only in hijab but also in batik, one of the country’s intangible cultural heritages.
Unlike Jenna, the Indonesian Barbie-lookalike dolls are created by female inmates who name their toys after themselves, such as Yanti and Widya. The brand of the batik-wearing dolls is Batik Girl that is masterminded by Lusia Efriani Kiroyan from Batam, Riau Islands.
Since setting up the Cinderella from Indonesia Center (CFIC) foundation in 2012, she has empowered over 740 female inmates at two penitentiaries in Riau Islands and one in Jakarta to make dolls with dresses made of used batik attire or fabrics.
Photo courtesy of Water.org.