The children of MACHAO with their new dolls. Dolls provided by Cynthia Davis’ Dolls of Hope.

Machao Children with their dolls

Cynthia Davis is the Assistant Professor in the Medical Sciences Institute at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science located in Los Angeles, California. Her job involves developing community-based HIV/AIDS-related education, risk reduction and HIV testing programs targeting at risk populations. Her goals are to effectively reach at risk, hard-to-reach populations including sexually active youth, women, substance abusers, and young men who have sex with men to provide HIV screening and referral services as well as HIV/AIDS-related primary prevention educational services and interventions. She has worked in the HIV/AIDS arena for the last 30 years on a local, national and international basis. Cynthia Davis began the Dolls of Hope project as a World AIDS Day activity in 1998. This project involves volunteers making hand made cloth dolls for HIV/AIDS orphans and/or children, youth and women impacted by HIV/AIDS or in need. Davis has conducted Dolls of Hope workshops around the world including Durban, South Africa, Bangkok, Thailand, Havana, Cuba and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Over 6,000 Dolls of Hope have been distributed nationally and globally to children and youth in need. These workshops have been used not only to make the dolls, but to educate women and youth about their risk for HIV infection and to “Break the Silence and Stigma” surrounding HIV/AIDS in affected communities; especially racial/ethnic minority communities.