Tugu Designs

Browse a selection of handmade children's toys made from recycled natural fibres.

Soft toys made with love and resilience

Lhakpa Chodon

“In the future I hope to ask some men or women from my community who can sew, and teach them how to make soft toys and have a permanent market. This is my dream.”

Lhakpa came with her family to Australia from Tibet on a refugee visa in 2009.

Due to the poor provision of education for children in Tibet, Lhakpa didn’t learn how to read and write until she was 20, after she had escaped from Tibet to India for a better life.

It was also there that she learnt how to use a sewing machine while working at a local factory, making traditional dresses and robes for monks.

After arriving in Australia she needed to find a job. It wasn’t an easy time. Then she saw a market stall where handmade toys were sold. This gave her an idea. “I could do this,” she thought. 

Through the Stepping Stones program, Lhakpa explored how she could use her sewing skills to develop a small business. The program provided her with skills in developing financial literacy, creating a budget and even using a calculator.

“Stepping Stones taught me how to market and sell my product. This was very helpful to me.”

Her business is called Tugu Designs – tugu is the word for children in the Tibetan language. Lhakpa hand-sews children’s toys using recycled material and natural fibres. Many of her toys depict Australian animals, and are simple and beautiful in design.

Lhakpa sells her toys at local markets, making them as she sells. She would one day like to establish a permanent market stall and employ Tibetan migrants like herself, teaching them her craft and selling toys to larger markets and suppliers.

Location: Mobile business
Categories: crafts | children's toys | gifts

Business owner: Lhakpa Chodon
Contact number: 0415 819 597
Find Tugu Designs online: Facebook

The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse.
Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.

The Brotherhood recognises the harm that family violence causes and that freedom from violence is a basic human right.
We will support our staff, volunteers, clients and the community if they experience violence.

Find out more about the work of the Brotherhood
Australian Aboriginal flag, a yellow circle on two horizontal black and red stripes

The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.

Torres Strait Islander flag, an icon of a traditional headdress on blue, black and green stripes