23 de mayo de 2019
English - News

First shop exclusively selling black dolls opens in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 20 (efe-epa).- Brazil, a country whose population is more than 50 percent black and mixed race, and which has problems with racism, now boasts its first shop exclusively selling black dolls to promote diversity and educate the public.

The goal of the store is to strive for social transformation using a toy as emblematic and traditional as a doll and drawing on black history.

Jaciana Melquiades, inspired by her race and the suffering of ancestors who fought for freedom and equality, decided to create a business that would have a social impact and help low-income families in the area.

The process has not been easy and the expectations were high, but the project grew wings and took off without knowing what the destination would be.

Despite the uncertainty, the early results appear promising, with the store, which opened last weekend, selling out its 30-day inventory in 90 minutes.

Era Uma Vez o Mundo is located in downtown Rio's Saara market, one of the busiest commercial areas in the city.

The simple store was designed to fulfill a dream, which is to promote equality and be a place where black children can feel comfortable with their identity.

Some people, however, have criticized the venture, saying the store itself is "racist" and instead of advancing the goal of equality promotes discrimination by "blacks against whites."

The criticism "is completely wrong and far from the truth," Melquiades, a 35-year-old who was never able to play with a black doll as a child due to the lack of such toys, told EFE.

Melquiades said the experience had an impact on her life that she felt until she was attending a university and studying history.

As a student, she taught a workshop for doctors, helping them understand the situation and conditions of black people so that they could provide better health care.

Melquiades said she saw how strong discrimination was among adults and realized that the problem had to be fixed at the root - during childhood, marking the beginning of her project.

She began holding an awareness program at schools and found an opportunity for a venture with dolls.

"I started creating things for the workshops, that I would use for my work in the university and the city. I started selling without expecting much, only by order. In 2013, I set up a website to sell the products online. In 2017, I decided to focus on the project as a full-time job," she said.

Melquiades said the physical store came into existence a few months later, after a long list of doors shut in her face "because no one would approve a loan for a black woman with no credit history."

Melquiades is a thin woman of average height with a gaze that overflows with hope and a smile that is impossible to say no to.

She was born and raised in Baixada Fluminense, a depressed area in the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area, where violence and poverty are part of the daily experience.

Melquiades wants kids to be aware of their race and culture when they look at one of the dolls she sells.

The dolls were inspired by the history of Brazil and the main character is Dandara, a heroine who fought for equality and freedom.

Melquiades's story is one of the many battles people have fought against racism in Brazil.

In 2001, Congress approved a resolution calling on toy manufacturers to make more black dolls; however, the numbers have not improved.

A study by the non-governmental organization Avante found that only 7 percent of the dolls made in Brazil in 2018 were black, up by just 4 percent from 2016, when the group had conducted its previous study.

Although the figures are low, Melquiades said it meant that production has "doubled! A great achievement and an invitation to move forward."

By Maria Angelica Troncoso.


Histórico de noticias
Massive seaweed influx in Cancun's hotel zone

Cancun, Mexico, May 22 (efe-epa).- The hotel zone along the beaches in the Mexican resort city of Cancun on Wednesday experienced a massive influx of...

Judge upholds congressional subpoenas for Trump's financial info

New York, May 22 (efe-epa).- A federal judge ruled here Wednesday that two financial institutions can turn over information sought by US lawmakers regarding...

Journalism in digital age must rethink how to reach its audience

By Gina Baldivieso

US jury sentences Spaniard to life in prison for triple-murder

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, May 22 (efe-epa).- Spaniard Pablo Ibar, convicted in January after a third trial for his part in a 1994 triple-murder, was...

With electricity, gasoline, Caracas is oasis of sorts amid Venezuelan crisis

By Hector Pereira

Bucking US sanctions, American Airlines expands flights to Cuba

Havana, May 22 (efe-epa).- American Airlines, the leading international carrier serving Cuba, said Wednesday that it intends to offer additional flights to...

US senator seeks answers after 5th migrant youth dies in custody

Washington, May 22 (efe-epa).- Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent a letter Wednesday to the acting head of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)...

Craft-making on the decline in southern Mexico due to lack of pupils

By Mitzi Mayauel Fuentes Gomez

Pelosi accuses Trump of cover-up, president says he won't work with Dems

Washington, May 22 (efe-epa).- Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday the President Donald Trump is engaged in a "cover-up" to hide possible...

Colombian builds thriving wafer dessert business from humble origins

Jeimmy Paola Sierra

Uruguayan recording artist sees music as ritual, emotional journey

Concepcion M. Moreno

A darker side of Paraguay flooding: isolation of elderly

By Carlos Villar Ortiga

Raul Castro, Diaz-Canel express support for Venezuela's Maduro

Havana, May 21 (efe-epa).- The head of the Cuban Communist Party, Raul Castro, and Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel met with Venezuelan Foreign Minister...

Argentine ex-president's corruption trial gets under way

Buenos Aires, May 21 (efe-epa).- Argentine ex-President Cristina Fernandez faces charges of diverting public funds and accepting kickbacks in a trial that...

UN forecasts global economy to grow 2.7 pct. in 2019, 2.9 pct. in 2020

United Nations, May 21 (efe-epa).- The United Nations on Tuesday downgraded its forecast for world economic growth, announcing that it expects overall...

Hundreds protest against anti-abortion laws at US Supreme Court

Washington, May 21 (efe-epa).- Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday in front of the US Supreme Court to protest against the laws passed this year banning...

Plastic waste being made into ecologically friendly houses in western Mexico

By Mariana Gonzalez

Mexican scientist works to find mysterious fish using DNA

By Zoilo Carrillo

Star Wars Canyon: where enthusiasts go to watch fighter pilots practice

By Ivan Mejia

Olivia Wilde: Rupture of a friendship can be tougher than romantic breakup

By David Villafranca

Brazil's Candomble religion battles rising intolerance

By Maria Angalica Troncoso

Federal judge backs Congress's request for Trump's financial records

Washington, May 20 (efe-epa).- A US federal judge on Monday ruled in favor of a request by the House Oversight Committee to secure financial records of...

Venezuela's Maduro calls 1st round of talks with opposition positive

Caracas, May 20 (efe-epa).- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday called the first day of contacts with the opposition "very positive" as the two...

Watching "Aladdin" as a boy, Mena Massoud saw himself reflected on the screen

By David Villafranca