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Barbie Gives 2 Indonesian Sisters Meaning in Life

Posted: May 3, 2012 8:44 AM

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Two sisters who live in Indonesia would probably spend most of their lives hidden in their home, away from the main population. They were born with birth defects that cause abnormally twisted arms and legs. The locals believe it was because of evil spirits. Their deformities are believed to hold bad spirits of the dead. They've never been allowed to go to school or play with other kids.

However, their Barbie dolls have given them a purpose and joy in life. Their mother is a seamstress who works long hours to support her family, five daughters and no husband. The girls picked up the craft and began sewing beautiful outfits for their dolls. They have become local celebrities. Other children come to see their creations.

A volunteer with a local health group went looking for the girls years ago, hoping they were alive. Sakti Soediro, a volunteer stated, "We were determined to find out what happened." She found the girls: Putu is the oldest, at 21-years-old, and can not move her legs. Alit is the younger, only 11-years-old, she is the size of a toddler and has severe breathing problems because of her ribcage pressing against her lunges. She can only move one arm. It was during this first meeting that Soediro gave the girls the dolls. On her third visit she saw the beautiful dresses, sarongs and shirts the girls made for their dolls.

They are able to help their family by selling these doll clothes in the area. They make about $70 a month, which feeds the family. The best part is that the girls have friends. The neighborhood kids come to visit the girls and buy clothes for their dolls. "They just want to be our friends," Putu says, "And that's what we want, too. I feel happy now, I'm more excited now to live."

The news of their dresses has spread and visitors from resorts come to visit the girls. A visitor from Australia summed it up well, "We Westerners," she said, "are all about looking out for ourselves and saving money so we can buy more things. We don't always realize the important thing in a life is our relationships, people, and what you can do to make someone else happy."

Alit is weak and constantly being hospitalized for her condition. However, the girls are happy, and it is thanks to one woman who gave them some Barbie dolls. Someone mentions to Putu that the dolls aren't giving a realistic portrayal of women's bodies. Her response, "To me, Barbie is a princess." She looks at her sister, Alit, "And for her, they are beautiful fairies."

This is a reminder that it doesn't take much to make people happy. Sometimes just being able to have a purpose in life gives us hope. It is also a reminder that one good deed from a stranger can make all the difference in someone's life.

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