Since 1962, close to 295,000 people have disappeared in Mexico, and over 111,000 have not been found, according to the Comisión Nacional de Búsqueda [National Search Commission] of the Mexican government. Thousands of people across the country are still looking for their loved ones, especially mothers who will not rest until they find their children.
Three years after her daughter, Rubi, went missing in Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico, Araceli Salcedo decided to start a collective in her own community. Today there are over 350 members in the group, and 90% of them are mothers. Together, they have successfully found 15 people alive, returned 71 bodies, and spotted 53 clandestine graves in the past year. However, most of these women have not found their children.
One of the coping and healing mechanisms that Salcedo created for the mothers in her collective are muñecos sanadores or “healing dolls.” The dolls represent missing children and serve as a tool to help the mothers navigate the void that their loved ones left behind.