SUGAR LAND, Texas - A local mom says she fell in love with a unique home in Sugar Land. It needed some remodeling and some cleaning out, but she was up to the challenge.
Little did she know, that challenge would turn into an incredible find that would put her renovations on hold.
Sara Ahmed thought she had 300 boxes of junk on her hands after moving her family into a new home, but once she started digging, she found much more.
"It was really cool because you found these amazing love letters from the 60s, and I found this timeline of their family dating back to like 1865," she says.
Soon after digging through a few boxes of tax records and receipts, she discovered nearly 200 rare and vintage Black dolls, mostly consisting of limited-edition Barbie dolls.
"This is the first one I found," she says showing off a Bob Mackie-designed Barbie dressed in a red velvet gown. "That little nine-year-old in me immediately woke up, and I was like ‘I've never seen anything like this, it's like the most stunning thing I’ve ever seen."
Ahmed did some research and found that her new home was once the Black Like Me Doll Museum, founded by Phyllis Hunter who passed away in 2018.
"These were not your typical Barbies that you picked up at Toys R’ Us. They were just so intricate; they had costumes and jewels," she adds.
According to an online article, the museum once housed 6,000 dolls, but there were plenty of gems left behind in Sara’s new home.
"It turns out, this is one of the rarest Barbies in the world," she says while displaying a 100th-anniversary edition of a green and pink dressed Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority doll.
Sara posted her doll discovery on Instagram, hoping to donate them in a meaningful way.
A representative from the jewelry designer Kendra Scott suggested teaming up to support Birthday Bash Box, a non-profit which gives Houston-area children in low-income families personalized birthday party boxes.
The organization’s most requested item happened to be Black Barbie dolls.
"We ask them what books they like, what types of gifts they like, what types of activities they like to do, just so we can customize the box to the child," says Birthday Bash Box founder Seante Johnson. "Little girls or even boys who say that they like Barbie- we give them Barbie stuff."
Sara picked about 50 dolls to be donated to kids, and Kendra Scott took it a step further by hosting a 48-hour International Women’s Day event where 20 percent of sales went to the organization. Barbies could be spotted around the store posing with jewelry pieces.
"We really are focused on lifting women, especially in underserved communities, and empowering women and children year-round," says Kendra Scott Philanthropic Manager Hilary Wetmore.
"In March it was really fun to have this celebration, but it’s something that we’re focusing on all the time."
Ahmed is hoping to find a museum for the rest of the dolls so they can be preserved and shared with the world.
To keep up with her progress, follow her at https://www.instagram.com/sugarlandsara/.
For more information on the Birthday Bash Box organization, visit https://www.birthdaybashbox.org/.