Happy kids make happy volunteers
Dear Toybank Project Supporters,
A Happy New Year to you all! It’s always a pleasure to share our reports on Global Giving and know that we have the backing of many people who inspire us to keep doing what we do. The year for us started off on a good note and we hope to sustain this year through.
Toybank, under The Opentree Foundation, constantly works to provide children with access to healthy play and games to ultimately reach our long-term goal of addressing development needs in children. Specifically, for the months of November, December and January, Toybank has conducted 235 play sessions at our centres across Mumbai, reaching out to 6648 children. In these three months, we have also replaced toys at 39 of our urban and rural centres to restock them with new and innovative games to suit each child’s need.
On November 19th, 2016, we held a large toy distribution event for 650 underprivileged children at one of our Toybank centres in Dharavi, Mumbai. 36 enthusiastic volunteers and 11 Toybank team members gathered at the centre for a briefing session. Following that, the kids started trickling in, each with an energy that got everyone else excited! The event began with a few activities for the children, conducted by the volunteers. During the actual toy distribution session, each kid was given toys and games to keep for themselves. Zaosh Elavia, a volunteer at the event shares his experience saying, “It was such a thrill to be in a classroom with these energetic, enthusiastic young kids who were absolutely having a ball giggling and screaming and laughing their way through all the activities that I immediately realized what a wonderful way it was to spend a Saturday morning! The happiness on their faces when they realised they were getting a gift to keep was priceless”. Through many such toy distribution events like this, Toybank aims to simply provide the kids a sense of ownership, and to possess a toy or game they can call their own.
The month of January began on a positive note with Toybank opening 12 new rural centres and replacing toys at 12 schools in Beed District, Maharashtra. Over the two-day visit, six team members reached out to 24 schools with almost 3,500 children. The association with these schools are all thanks to our local Beed partner- Manavlok. Day one was focused on teacher training, where we trained 45 teachers from various schools where our game libraries are present. The sessions were interactive, inspiring and involved a lot of cross learning. One the second day, we visited 12 schools for new set-ups. Each child at these centres were extremely curious on seeing the toys come in, and the looks on their faces were those of excitement and inquisitiveness. We’ve set up these new libraries in the hope that many more kids in rural India get the access and chance to enjoy these board games and toys, and create memories of a happy childhood.
Story from the Field:
Krish (name changed) is a 12-year old who is a regular at Cosmos School in Borivali. Good at his academics and actively participative in his school activities, Krish was noticed to demonstrate hyper active behaviour at times.
At a play session in October 2016, our Toybank field officer observed that Krish was distracting the entire session. On further inquiry from the teachers, he was one of the naughtier students and showed aggressive behaviour, an inability to concentrate and constantly moved around.
At one of the sessions in October, our field officer initiated discussion with Keshav. In conversation, he mentioned that he was constantly yelled at and this would make him upset. Post this, our field officer got started with the play session activities. At this session and the other sessions to follow, she introduced ice-breaking activities and observed Keshav’s proactive participation. On introducing him to various board games like Memory, Mastermind and 70 piece puzzles, she found Keshav to be very receptive towards them. In the puzzle related games, he focused on how the pieces could be joined to eventually create the bigger picture. On completion of the puzzle, Keshav was able to interestingly build a story and describe the image he had made.
Over time, Keshav’s concentration levels have increased. It has been observed that he enjoys games that tend to create stories, like puzzles. He also does not move around disturbing other children during the play session. This is primarily because he understands the board games and finds them interesting to play with. Because of this change in his behaviour, he is being accepted better by his friends and his teachers.
We at Toybank keep doing what we do to help impact kids like this. It is through this simple act of play that the smallest of change can begin to take place.
We thank you once again for your contribution and to continue supporting us please do hit the donate button on our Project page. We look forward to your continued support to ensure that all children in India are given this opportunity to play, and in the process, help in their growth and development.
Founder and CEO, Toybank
Activities at the toy distribution event
He now has a toy of his own!
Post toy distribution excitement!
Teachers learn to play games at new rural centres
Children patiently waiting to play
Play in progress...
Toybank at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon