Empowering Through Self-Identity - Laureate

Empowering Through Self-Identity

A trip to the mall to buy dolls for a social drive turns into a mission to instill black children in Brazil with positive self-identity and affirmation through Amora Brinquedos Afirmativos.

Three years ago, Geórgia Nunes was shopping for dolls as part of her efforts in a group that supports children of a mainly black community. While browsing the toy stores, she couldn’t help but notice the lack of diversity of the dolls in display – a common problem she had experienced as an Afro-Brazilian child growing up in Bahia, Brazil.

After a little research, Geórgia discovered that less than 8% of the dolls manufactured in Brazil were black, despite 54% of the total population being afro-descendant.  Armed with her own sewing machine and a degree in Product Design, she set out to make the dolls on her own. The vision for Amora Brinquedos Afirmativos (Amora Affirmative Toys) was born.

Today, Amora Brinquedos Afirmativos promotes racial equality, diversity and inclusion through affirmative action activities, sales and donations of racially-diverse toys that self-affirm the identity of the children playing with them. The organization manufactures, sells, and donates dolls through Amora’s website and retail stores in Bahia. For each doll sold, another one is donated to a local school. Over 200 dolls have been produced since 2016.

In addition, Amora hosts doll-making workshops giving students practical skills while instilling positive self-identity. One children’s workshop, The Color Changing Pencil, addresses diversity by encouraging students to use different colored pencils for skin tones. Amora also partners with local schools to embed African history storytelling into their lessons. To date, 150 children have participated in their workshops, and more than 500 people have attended lectures and workshops on Afro-Brazilian children’s advocacy. “This initiative is so important to empower children who face discrimination and racism in our community,” says Joelma Lopes Sousa, the mother of a child impacted by Amora’s activities. “They see themselves represented in the toys and included in the history lessons. That matters a lot.”

In recognition of her impact, Georgia was recognized with a fellowship in the Laureate Brazil Young Social Entrepreneurs program in 2017, gaining additional skills and resources to grow her project. In 2018, Amora was one of thirty initiatives chosen by Vale do Dendê, a business incubator in the city of Salvador, to receive guidance and support in scaling its business.

In the next two years, Georgia wants to expand Amora to other regions in Brazil. She envisions a world where all black children feel represented and included in society, becoming the next generation of leaders. While she continues to scale Amora, she is also pursuing a specialization in Higher Education Teaching at UNIFACS so she can become a teacher. “I believe education is the only way we can make the world a better place,” she concludes.