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Maiah is 9 years old. She was named Maiah because of her green eyes - rare among her people so her mother called her “precious - like an emerald.” Her world was turned upside down when her village in Myanmar was attacked, forcing her family to flee. Maiaih was 4 years old when her family made their way through Bangladesh to Malayasia where they registered as refugees. At length, after several years of waiting, the United Nations Refugee Agency invited Maiah’s family to settle in the United States, in Chicago. Maiah barely remembers her parent’s home in Myanmar - she was so young when they left. All she really knows is that she was never allowed to belong in Malaysia. For Maiah, moving to Chicago is a chance to belong somewhere. When Maiah discovers she is expected to go to school, she is beyond excited - and also a little afraid. Will she be able to learn English? Will she make friends? Will they allow her to belong? What does home feel like? When her family first arrived, they were warmly welcomed into their small apartment on the north side of the city - even their neighbors were Rohingya - just like Maiah's family. At first it was comforting having them so near, but after a few months, Maiah is beginning to fear she’ll never be allowed to fit in; she’ll always be different. Will she ever get the chance to belong?


  • This 18” doll has medium brown skin, striking green eyes, and wavy brown hair. She wears her long hair swept out of her face in a braided bun and tiny hoop earrings.
  • Maiah loves to look feminine but her family can’t afford new clothes yet so she manages to create new outfits from hand-me-downs: a baggy green cardigan becomes a cute wrap-around sweater knotted at the back paired with highwasted jeans.
  • She pulls everything together with her signature headscarf in blues and greens to match her eyes.

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