About Persona Doll Training

Who We Are

Persona Doll Training was founded by the late Babette Brown in 2000 and registered as a UK charity in 2003.  Since then we have introduced the approach and provided training in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand, Australia, India, Turkey, Spain, Eastern Europe and South Africa.

Over the years, we received funding for specific projects from: Rowntree Charitable Trust (2003-4), Open Society Foundation (2013) and Prism Charitable Trust (2018 – 2020).

In 2024, Persona Dolls relinquished its charity status, and is now run by Robb and Meeta Johnson, independent education consultants, who have worked with Persona Dolls for many years providing training and guidance.


Meet the Team

Robb Johnson
Robb JohnsonExternal Consultant - Training and Projects
Meeta Johnson
Meeta JohnsonExternal Consultant - Training and Projects

How the Dolls are Made

Our beautiful hand-made dolls are made in Paarl, South Africa by an all women group – including pattern cutters, seamstresses, wig makers and finishers – who share our vision and feel very much part of the project.  They are from a disadvantaged, rural and under resourced area and are trained and supervised by Juanita Bosch, a highly skilled doll maker and manager. 

Most of our dolls’ clothes, including all trousers, dresses, knickers and some of the T shirts are made by Milly Parker, also in South Africa. Milly is in her nineties is still making clothes for us! 

Juanita Bosch
Juanita BoschDoll Maker and Manager

Our Approach

The Persona Doll approach encourages inclusion and participation as well as the celebration of diversity and challenges to inequality and discrimination. It supports international principles of high-quality early childhood and primary education and the UN Convention on Human Rights.  

  • Our focus is on fairness and equality
  • We offer resources to support inclusive practice
  • Our training, advice and support help you implement anti-bias and equalities
  • Children’s communication and listening skills are developed
  • Persona Doll stories encourage empathy, critical thinking and problem solving.

The Persona Doll approach provides an effective, stimulating and enjoyable way to combat discrimination, foster emotional literacy, raise self-esteem and empower children.

It involves telling stories using a ‘special’ Persona Doll. Through creating a lifelike persona for the doll, it becomes like another child, or friend to the children, with real life experiences.  Some stories will be happy, others about difficult events or problems (exclusion, unfairness, prejudice). The children help to solve the problems.

Persona Dolls Across the World

Persona Doll Training have engaged for many years with Persona Doll practitioners across Europe and further afield, learning and sharing experiences and ideas with our colleagues. The Persona Doll approach is recognised as good practice in so many different situations.

Persona Dolls effectively support the learning needs both of the group and the individual, addressing critical thinking, problem-solving and speaking and listening skills. This also strengthens the vital social skills of empathy, self-confidence and well-being in a variety of situations. It also boosts the confidence of practitioners in tackling inequality issues.

The essential attributes of the Persona Doll approach – the importance of the story, the ability of engaged practitioners and the dolls (because of their unique physical characteristics) to create a safe, inclusive space – have proved successful in settings as diverse as Al Tafawk Centre for refugee children in Jenin, in Palestine, and in the UK with children with special needs.

Al Tafawk Centre for refugee children in Jenin, in Palestine