Skip Navigation

Sew and tell the gospel

Sew and tell the gospel

Mon 21 August 2017

Former CSU students and college friends of 13 years, Maryann Webb (mother and primary school teacher) and Ali Robinson (mother and lecturer/former student of St Mark’s National Theological Centre), along with several volunteers, have founded an Australian charity with a vision to see children and communities in need educated, empowered, and equipped through the gifting of ‘Play and Learn’ packs.

In late 2015, Maryann had an idea – make dolls for children in need. Though simple, she knew the impact would be more profound than just gifting a toy. As she looked around, she noticed that her own children had so much and yet there were children in her very own community who did not have access to the same beautiful resources. So, she began sewing.

As she shared her vision with other women (Ali included), this small idea started to gain momentum. They, too, dreamed of a world where all children felt valued and were given the opportunity to play and learn. Ali, with experience in children’s ministry and after completing her PhD in New Testament Studies, instantly began to dream of ways to share the gospel with these children. Ali has a love for teaching the bible, training young people and using creative methods to explore the gospel. Drawing on these skills she has helped develop the books and ministry resources now used by Project KIN.

With funding won from an Anglican Deaconess Ministries grant in 2016, the Project KIN Play and Learn packs were born. These packs contain a handmade doll, a  beautifully-illustrated storybook, an activity pack, educational resources, and guides for caretakers on providing their child with an engaging and personal educational experience.

Project KIN is completely powered by volunteers, primarily women who are becoming instruments of change in their own community – local hands for future change. There are currently 200 active volunteers ‘sewing’ into the project. Each of these volunteers has played a special role in the Project KIN journey. One volunteer shared her childhood story of how a doll that she received one Christmas, while living in an orphanage, brought her great comfort, ‘I clung to that doll, it made such a difference to have something that was mine. I loved her with all my heart!’ (Sue). The day she finally left the orphanage, however, she was forced to leave the doll behind, ‘I cried and cried, they dragged me out and still wouldn’t let me have my doll’. A grief and pain remained for many years, but ‘when I started making cloth dolls for Project KIN,  something magical began to happen. I remembered the joy, happiness and a feeling of safety that my doll brought to my life, at that very difficult time. Such is the power a doll can have in a young child’s life’.

Each Project KIN doll is a handmade one-of-a-kind doll, offering each child a special companion created and clothed just for them. At the heart of the project, says Ali, ‘we want children to know that like this doll, which was specially made for them, they have been specially made by God’. Our accompanying resources teach the gospel and point children and families back to the Christian message because we want children to know that they have a Creator who loves and cares for them.

We have now gained the support of Anglican Aid, Wesley Mission, and Anglicare in bringing this mission to life. Our packs have already started going out to communities around NSW as well as an orphanage in Uganda. 171 packs have been distributed to supported community playgroups and reading groups where children have little access to such resources. Many of these children live in difficult financial circumstances, have fled from domestic violence, or are seeking refuge. Children are delighted by their gifts and we are seeing a positive impact in these communities. With the help of established aid organisations, facilitators are working closely alongside these families. One facilitator shared that some of the children in their group had never sat still before, but when they received their Project KIN doll they were completely changed, ‘focused and settled’. Parents and carers have also been encouraged by the children’s engagement with the storybook, saying that reading has now become ‘fun and enjoyable’. We have a vision to see 200 packs go out by the end of 2017 and an additional 300 by the end of 2018.

We are calling for volunteers – people to ‘sew’ into the Project KIN vision. And we are seeking sponsors – people to support this small idea by funding a pack from just $48. Join us as we watch God help make this small idea into a powerful and exciting reality.

Visit our website at and sponsor a pack today.

< Back

Latest Positions Vacant

  • DEPUTY WARDEN, Wollaston Theological College Perth, Australia

    Wollaston Theological College
    Perth, Australia
    (permanent full-time opportunity)

    Wollaston Theological College, celebrating its 60th year, is the Diocesan College responsible for Theological Education, Formation and Training (EFT) of lay and ordained people in the Diocese of Perth.

    The College is situated adjacent to Bold Park, with breathtaking views of natural bushland and the Indian Ocean. It includes an architecturally significant Chapel which has recently undergone some restoration, with more promised in coming years. It has long been a place of prayer, reflection and formation for people across the Diocese. The College motto, J’attends, speaks of its continuing desire to wait upon the LORD in hope, and assist all God’s people in providing a reason for the hope that is within us.

    Recently reconstituted, the College seeks to employ a Deputy Warden to assist the Warden in all aspects of College work and life.

    Some of your responsibilities would involve:
    • Oversight of programme and academic studies of candidates in formation
    • Oversight of Supervised Theological Field Education and of continuing education for those recently ordained or new to the Diocese
    • Administration of annual budgets
    • Representing and promoting the interests of the college
    • Fostering collaborative educational environment

    To be successful in this role, you shall:
    • be an Anglican Priest in good standing with graduate theological qualifications to at least Master’s level
    • have proven experience within the Anglican Church and adult education, preferably with teaching or supervising experience in academic contexts
    • be able to form effective relationships with a diverse range of people
    • be able to give clear, accurate and high quality feedback
    • support with integrity both female and male candidates for ordained ministry

    A full position description is available on our website
    For a confidential discussion about the position, you may reach us at +61 (0)8 9425 7271.
    To apply:
    Submit your applications to or GPO Box W2067, PERTH WA 6846.

  • Anglicare positions

    Please click the link above for the latest positions vacant with Anglicare.

Our Partner dioceses

Starting Mission Shaped Churches