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Mar 1, 2016

A Childhood Regained

'Hello'!
'Hello'!

Since 2004, Toybank has been giving the lesser-privileged children the chance to rediscover their childhood and to gain the cognitive and social benefits of play. And it’s been possible thanks to generous donors like you. At Toybank, we believe in keeping you in the loop always. So here’s a wrap-up of our activities for the period December 2015 to January 2016. 

In these two months, here is how Toybank put your donations to use.

  • We set up 76 new play Impact Centres, bringing the power of play to 7,782 children
  • 5,500 children from the existing Toybank centres around India received fresh games & toys
  • 870 children got to take their favorite toy home through our distribution events
  • Toybank sensitized 100 adults and children through Power of Play sensitization Workshops held at schools, colleges and even Corporate offices
  • 8 new impact centres were opened for 1,669 children in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • Toybank volunteers ran in the Mumbai Marathon to raise public awareness about our organization.

These were the numbers. Now we’d like to share a story with you. It’s always heartening for us to hear about individual children, because that is where the dramatic results of our work make themselves apparent. Meet Shubham, whose story makes us especially proud. 

Shubham, 12 years old, lives with his parents and his two brothers in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra state. His parents are itinerant cloth sellers, who earn just about enough money to make ends meet. They belong to the Gondhali community, among which the prevalence of education is generally low. Such is the problem with Shubham’s family. The atmosphere in Shubham’s home is not conducive to learning. On the personal front, too, Shubham had challenges to meet. When Shubham first came to the Toybank centre, he did not have any desire to learn; besides, he also had issues with bad behaviour.

In 2015, Toybank had set up a fully-fledged impact centre at an NGO partner’s premises. He began to play games on his own. At first, he would leave one game half-finished and take up another one. Then, with encouragement from the local faculty, he would ensure that he completed one game before taking up another one. He began to tackle puzzles, including numerical ones, with relative ease. Then he even began to attempt more difficult puzzles. Motivated to complete each puzzle, he successfully overcame his lack of concentration.

The toys and games had a transformative effect on his personality as well. Having regained the sense of being a child through play, he improved his behavior. He became an outgoing, smiling boy again. 

Moreover, the opportunity to play with toys and games persuaded Shubham to come to the impact centre regularly. This allowed our NGO partner to teach Shubham on a regular basis. On his part, Shubham became keen to learn, because he knew that he could play only when he had studied properly. Thus, our impact centre managed to make learning fun for Shubham, and restored to him his sense of being a child, as his behavioural changes would indicate.

His is a textbook case study illustrating the truly transformative benefits of toys and games, and is a vindication of Toybank’s approach. And it is you who made it possible through your act of generosity. Will you continue with us on this journey of giving?

Consider making another donation for us through Global Giving, so we can bring the Right to Play to more children. As we usher in a new year, we at Toybank remain committed to our ideal of putting a toy or game in the hands of each child in the world. And we would love it if you came along for the journey. 

All smiles while playing Building Blocks!
All smiles while playing Building Blocks!
Engrossed building cars!
Engrossed building cars!
Piecing it together..
Piecing it together..
Shared Creativity
Shared Creativity

Links:

Dec 1, 2015

Learning to speak up & be happy!

Play Session
Play Session

We have been propagating The Right to Play for the last 11 years... standing by the simple philosophy that "It's easier to Build Strong Children than to Repair Broken Men". These last few months have been rather exciting as we have had some fabulous case studies coming through from the field.

But first, what did we do and how busy were we! Here we go:

  • Toybank sensitized 376 young adults through  a Power of Play Sensitization Workshops held at schools, colleges and even Corporate offices
  • 10,585 children received access to massive Play Impact Centers across Urban Bombay & Rural Maharashtra from September through November
  • 3013 children from the existing Toybank centers received fresh games & toys
  • 2122 children got to take his/her favorite toy home through our distribution events
  • Over 77 teachers went through Toybank's Power of Play Training sessions & thus learnt how to use the Toy libraries to ensure maximum impact for each child that uses these centers

We opened a large Impact Center that caters to children who have been rehabilitated from Sex trafficking. This was one of Toybank's most important assignments as it not only catered to over 2500 children alone but by setting up our largest Toy library at their 17 centers; we have ensured that the children do not get back into this racket. Not only this, this Impact Center is attracting many other children from the vicinity to join these centers and thus have a more secure environment to spend their time at.

We have been tracking these centers closely and we are very pleased to see the change being driven so consistently through our Impact Centers.

7-year old Tushar studies at a local Municipal School. His mother is concerned that he is not talking and is very quiet for his age. Tushar is 7 years old and can say about 100 words that his parents can understand, but are not clear. He points and gestures to get what he wants and has some temper tantrums when he is not understood.

His father thinks that Tushar is a late talker like he was. He thinks Tushar will talk when he is ready. But his mother has noticed that his 4 -year old sister is already talking, Reading words and saying a few words and exclamations. This is something Tushar did not do at the same age.

Once Tushar starting coming to the Toybank center at this Municipal School, he started opening up. He began to follow instructions given by his parents or teachers at the School. He is now very interactive with his parents and engages easily with other children, playing mostly alongside his peers, but showing some cooperative play. He particularly likes to play with sand and he gets excited when the sand table is opened up for play. But through play he was engaged in the mathematical and alphabetical games. He learned Math very well and is also speaking better.

And we received some super feedback too!

“It was really an amazing and fulfilling experience to be a part of the Toybank initiative and moreover for the two hours of happiness spent with the kids at the school. Surely I want to be part of many more such events which will be imprinted in my memory and cherished forever.” - Swasti Singh (Volunteer)

“It was so much fun to meet such a bunch of enthusiastic kids! We went with lots of toys and came back with hearts full of joy. Every Toybank activity has been an incredibly enriching and wonderful experience.”- Sheetal Vanwari (Volunteer)

 We are looking forward to the coming months especially the New Year which always brings positive hopes for better times. We hope that the children of the world be liberated & free from all forms of evil & simply get to be kids again.

Organising Teacher's Training Sessions
Organising Teacher's Training Sessions
At a Toy Distribution Activity
At a Toy Distribution Activity
Learning to Speak up!
Learning to Speak up!
Tracking the Games played with at our Centers
Tracking the Games played with at our Centers
A complete Picture!
A complete Picture!

Links:

Sep 3, 2015

How to get kids to love Math!

"You make the world a better place, by making yourself a better person."

This line has stayed with us over the years of our work and we try everyday to teach this to all the children we work with.

The last 2 months have been very exciting at Toybank! Scores of activities and Power of Play workshops for both the teachers as well as children have been rolling out across our Urban as well as Rural projects.

Toybank also celebrated an epic Independence Day with 900 kids at a Government school in Govandi, Mumbai on August 15th, 2015. This was Toybank's 11th Birthday and a 100 Toybankers from all across the city joined this celebration. What made this so special was that everyone who was present on this early morning of this fun day, well... Every one of them was a 'MAGICIAN'! They just did their job... of spreading magic all around. :-)

It was a riot of an event with over 100 volunteers ensuring the kids had a super memorable day!

Here are some testimonials from the volunteers at the celebration:

“A perfect way to celebrate Independence Day. Giving children their freedom to play with toys and games. It has been an amazing experience spending time with the kids and interacting with them. I would like to thank Toybank to come up with such a wonderful idea and taking one step ahead to be the change people want to see. A day well spent at Toybank. :) Thank you.” – Nandita Sulay

 

"69th Independence Day of India! - this was itself a wonderful feeling to start my day, and the visit to Shree Geeta Vidyalaya with Edelgive Foundation in association with Toybank was just like flower blooming in the garden! As I entered the school, I felt a lump in my throat as India’s national anthem being sung by these little angels. When I walked into the classroom, I felt my childhood around me. Those children with their innocent thoughts made me believe in their dreams. I was walking in the present but I realized that these 1000 odd kids are looking forward to make their future bright by choosing the role to serve our society." -Rutu Charan

Here is a Case story of one of our kids from our Partners:

Sandeep, a 10 year old boy studies at our partnering Government school in the suburbs of Mumbai. He hails from a very low economic background and stays with his family in one of the suburb slums.

At the Toybank play sessions, we always observed that Sandeep use to love playing with the board games provided in that center but somehow always ignored the numerical games!

Our team thought of interacting with his teacher to understand how he copes up with his academics. We investigated further to check his Math grades. His teacher mentioned that Sandeep was very good at academics but somehow was very weak in Math. He not only hated the subject but had developed a massive fear against Math.

We thought about how we could resolve this problem for Sandeep and his teacher. And thus began our slow and steady intervention of playing all possible games that involved counting and arithmetic Numerical board games. We quietly got him to add, subtract and multiply through the play methods involved in those specific board games!

After 2 months of playing with these numerical board games we slowly managed to  remove his fear of Math. We made it fun for him instead! It helped him to build up his confidence and see any Math question as a challenge. Slowly, this also helped in increasing his interest in this subject.

Finally, it was a success story for both, Sandeep as well as our team when we heard his teacher saying that in his last Math exam, Sandeep had scored top marks in this grade.

It takes something as small and simple as a board game to get a child's attention out from the troubles that it is in; they are naturally attentive towards play and games.

Over the last 2 months, Toybank has reached out to 2607 children from 33 centers in Urban and Rural areas of Maharashtra.

We grateful to all of you for driving our work & supporting it like you always have.

Happy Toybanking! :-)

Playful as always!
Playful as always!
Celebrating Independence
Celebrating Independence
Priced possessions
Priced possessions
Free spirited kids!
Free spirited kids!
Toybankers!
Toybankers!
Carefree and Fun!
Carefree and Fun!
 
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