At a glance: Italy

Real lives

Adopting a doll and saving a life with the Pigotta project

© Italian Committee for UNICEF/2003
A family in Italy looks through the vast selection of Pigottas available for “adoption.”

The Pigotta Project began 15 years ago in a small Italian town outside of Milan. A devoted UNICEF volunteer came up with the fun and creative concept that would raise funds for UNICEF as well as teach children about less fortunate children living in other countries.

What started out small in its early days has become a signature event of UNICEF in Italy. Today, 3 million children continue to die each year from diseases that are entirely preventable with available vaccines. The Pigotta Project is just one step in helping UNICEF try to reach the 30 million infants who grow up without being immunized. The project raised more than $2 million last year for UNICEF’s immunization programmes.

What is a Pigotta? Pigotta, is an endearing Milanese petname for rag doll. Each year school children, seniors citizens, service clubs and volunteers get together to hand-make rag dolls representing children around the world. These dolls are then exhibited and sold to raise funds for UNICEF.

Each doll represents a “real”child who will benefit from UNICEF’s immunization campaign. The Pigottas are “adopted” by the public for approximately $17, the cost of one complete cycle of immunizations against the six deadly childhood diseases (pertussis, childhood tuberculosis, tetanus, polio, measles and diphtheria).

In Italy, Pigottas have become a much loved symbol of UNICEF and The Pigotta Project is now being adapted in other countries, including France, Finland and the Czech Republic under various names.

In Italy

The Pigotta Project was the brainchild of Jo Garceau, a committed volunteer of the Italian National Committee who wanted to do something important for the millions of children who need UNICEF’s support. In its first year 2,000 dolls were produced raising approximately, $14,000.

Today, 15 years later, the Pigotta is a much loved symbol of UNICEF in Italy, raising over $2 million in 2002. Volunteers such as Jo remain the backbone of this project, from making dolls to visiting schools and arranging sales points. Pigottas have been featured in many magazines and on TV across the country, as well as having been created by recognized doll-makers and costume-makers of the famous La Scala Opera. Find out more about the Pigotta doll sale on the UNICEF Italy site.

© Italian Committee for UNICEF/2003
A Pigotta Project doll.

In France

Les Frimousses, Une poupée adoptée, C’est une vie sauvée” (A doll adopted, is a life saved…) is the slogan for this project in France. The French Committee for UNICEF launched the project in 2001 and it is being rolled out by 58 sub-committees throughout the country.

Exciting activities are taking place for 2003 as Les Frimousses hit the runways of Paris.  Some 60 of France’s top couturiers and designers have created and dressed their own dolls that will be exhibited and auctioned off on 20 November in Paris. A special catalogue has been produced to showcase this unique collection.

The foundation of the project remains the thousands of school children and volunteers who make the dolls that will be available in various location throughout France. The funds raised will go towards UNICEF’s immunization programme.

Find out more about "Les Frimousses"on the UNICEF France site.

In the Czech Republic

The “Adoptuj Panenku” (Adopt a doll) programme raises money for UNICEF’s global immunization programme. The dolls are produced by Czech volunteers, most of whom are children themselves. Each doll is original and costs CZK 600, the cost of six life-saving immunizations for one child.

When a doll is "adopted," the new parent sends a note to the maker of the doll to inform him/her that the doll now has a new home and parents, and that one more child will be receiving a full course of life-saving immunizations. Find out more about "Adoptuj Panenku" on the UNICEF Czech Republic site.

In Finland

UNICEF-dolls, Anna & Toivo ("Give & Hope") “born” in Finland give hope to the world's children. This volunteer initiative is supported by school children across the country who learn about the work of UNICEF while raising funds for children. Find out more about "Anna and Toivo" on the UNICEF Finland site.



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