Knitting enthusiasts in Pointe-Claire, Que., have spent months handcrafting 150 little dolls to give to children in underprivileged countries around the world.

The wool creations are part of a 20-year-old initiative that began when Master Cpl. Mark Robert Isfeld of No. 1 Combat Engineer Regiment was killed while removing landmines in Croatia in 1994.

Master Cpl. Isfeld’s mother Carol was the first to craft the small wool dolls after her son told her of the children he met while serving as a peacekeeper who had no toys to play with.

Today, the toys have been given the term “Izzy dolls” – aptly named after the late Master Cpl. Isfeld – and they’re given to almost 100,000 children in more than 100 developing countries worldwide through a partnership with Health Partners International Canada.

Since the fall, Point-Claire knitters have regularly gathered at a local wool shop called Les Lainages du Petit Mouton, where they’ve helped create their own Izzy dolls. The shop’s owner, Robyn Grauer brought the initiative to the Montreal suburb.

“I like the idea of knitters coming together to do something,” Grauer told CTV Montreal. “It’s nice to make something to give.”

Knitter Mona Wizenberg said she’s happy that the dolls she helped make will go a long way in helping others.

“It just feels good to know I could do my little part,” Wizenberg told CTV Montreal.

“I’m not a millionaire. I wish I could donate money and make changes in the world but I can’t so this way at least I know I can.” 

Despite their small size, the dolls each have a unique personality ascribed to them.

“Every doll that’s knit reflects that person’s personality, and some of them are kind of crazy-looking,” knitter Catherine Roy told CTV Montreal. “The imagination of these women is amazing to see.”

Les Lainages du Petit Mouton will be donating the dolls in January 2018, but it will continue to accept hand-knit Izzy doll donations year-round.

With a report from CTV Montreal