Apr 18, 2017

Playing to Smile: Spreading the Happiness

Intrigued with the Rubik's Cube!
Intrigued with the Rubik's Cube!

Dear Toybank Project Supporters,

Greetings from Toybank! We have wrapped up the financial year 2016-17 and are happy to say that it has been a landmark one for us. We’ve also begun this new financial year on a positive note. Thank you so much for all the support rendered through the year in helping us impact more children.

Toybank is on a path of expanding and reaching out to many more deserving children this year. We are currently focused on delving into the impact of play on each child and really analysing the benefits of healthy play and it’s role in addressing development needs in children.

Specifically, for the months of February, March and April, Toybank has conducted 195 play sessions at our centres across Mumbai, reaching out to 5,198 children. In these three months, we have also replaced toys at 28 of our urban and rural centres to restock them with new and innovative games to suit each child’s need.

A large part of our work involves creating and spreading awareness among individuals and ensuring that they are sensitized. A host of events that took place in these past three months have helped us reach out to sensitize more people and make them aware of our cause. The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in Mumbai and QTube Café play sessions have helped us spread awareness and also build relationships with new volunteers who are very supportive of our cause. We’ve also conducted sensitization sessions with corporates and schools in Mumbai to create awareness about the necessity of play for all children.

In the month of February, Toybank launched a new project called ‘Play2Smile’. In collaboration with hospitals and palliative care centres, Toybank has set up game libraries in the premises to provide access to hygienic toys and healthy play. Through this project, we wish to help in creating a happy environment where children can immerse in play and enjoy the variety of games and toys stocked at the centre. As of date, we have set-up 2 game libraries in collaboration with one hospital and one palliative care centre. Through play therapy, we aim to help the children towards better trauma resolution, social integration, growth and development and emotional modulation.

 

Story from the Field:

Arav (name changed) is a part of our Toybank- Mumbai Smiles game library. At age 7, he is the oldest child at the day care centre.

After birth, Arav was prone to epilepsy attacks, diagnosed with jaundice and was severely weak. His movement and speech started later than most other kids his age and mostly used sign language to communicate to his parents. Currently, at age seven, Arav is able to understand everything in his surrounding and also react through expressions, for example, respond to someone with a smile.

At the Mumbai Smiles day care centre, Arav plays with all children. However, on close observation by Laxman, our Toybank field officer, he is hesitant at times and keeps to himself. He also showed signs of low self-confidence. Laxman spoke to the centre head and parents of Arav to understand his usual behavior and history. On understanding the situation, Laxman began conducting one-on-one sessions with Arav every time he visited the centre. With the aid of specialized games to play with and voice modulations to instruct, Laxman began creating his own method of play therapy with Arav. He used games like ball throw and catch, wooden blocks and puzzles and also made sure he was included in the group games.

Along with other children, Laxman conducted a lot of action songs and rhymes at the center, ensuring that Arav was able to follow and take part with the other children. To make the space more inclusive, Laxman pushed Arav to be a part of the group and also sensitized his fellow members to play with him. Arav started showing signs of ‘finding the gaps‘. For example, when Laxman gave out instructions to the entire team, and if any of them would not follow it, Arav would point it out to Laxman. Apart from this, Laxman has also been guiding the family on how to keep encouraging play for Arav at the home level by introducing the concept of playing with colors, sand, etc.

We are happy to say that Arav is a much more curious child now and is more involved with everyone in the team. A long way to go for Laxman but the journey has begun on a very positive note.

At Toybank, we work with many children like Arav. The efforts from each person on the team is put in to ensure that the best is provided for our children.

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.

 

Warm regards,

Shweta Chari,

Founder and CEO, Toybank

Serious at play
Serious at play
Building a car together
Building a car together
Learning and playing, simultaneously
Learning and playing, simultaneously
Team building activity through a fun game
Team building activity through a fun game
Toybank games at the Romila Palliative Care Centre
Toybank games at the Romila Palliative Care Centre

Links:

Jan 24, 2017

Spreading the impact of play to rural India

Happy kids make happy volunteers
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.

 

Warm regards,

Shweta Chari,

Founder and CEO, Toybank

Activities at the toy distribution event
Activities at the toy distribution event
He now has a toy of his own!
He now has a toy of his own!
Post toy distribution excitement!
Post toy distribution excitement!
Teachers learn to play games at new rural centres
Teachers learn to play games at new rural centres
Children patiently waiting to play
Children patiently waiting to play
Play in progress...
Play in progress...
Toybank at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon
Toybank at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon
Nov 2, 2016

Thanking our supporters as Toybank turns 12!

Our new play centre at a creche in Tilonia.
Our new play centre at a creche in Tilonia.

Dear Toybank Project Supporters,

It gives me immense pride to share with you this report and thank you for all the support shown to get us this far. On August 15th 2016, Toybank turned 12! Over these years we have grown and impacted the lives of over 34,000 children through 251 game libraries and play centres.

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 August, September and October, Toybank has conducted 192 play sessions at our centres across Mumbai, reaching out to 6441 children. Our field officers have also been focusing on conducting theme-based play sessions where a certain topic such as life skills, is discussed with the children to make the sessions interative. In these three months, we've also replaced toys at 19 of our centres and restocked them with new and innovative games to suit each child’s need.

In the month of August, we spread out to a new state in India, Rajastan, where our play centre has been set-up at a village crèche in Tilonia. The toys had been mobilized through toy collection drives in Delhi. Our Delhi chapter volunteers have been solely responsible for this entire project, and for this we are ever grateful! Through our play sessions, we encourage our children to work together, use their creativity and imagination. We’re also ensuring that these kids enjoy and get to experience such an integral part of their childhood.

Toybank also celebrated the Joy of Giving week from the 2nd to the 8th of October. We had various corporates, schools and individuals who engaged with us to run toy collection drives and through this, mobilize toys for our game libraries. We wrapped up the Joy of Giving week with Toybanks annual fundraiser event- the Toybank Fiesta 2016.  The success of the two-day festival was due to the efforts and commitment of Toybank supports- volunteers, trustees, sponsors and individuals- all who firmly stand by Toybank’s cause. The event schedule featured live music, meaningful discussions and a brief into the world of Toybank and what we believe in. Through our various engagement activities, we created awareness and let people know why we exist, garnering more support and fundraising for our cause along the way.

Story from the Field:

Seven-year-old Priya (name changed) is an autistic child at our play centre in Bandra, Mumbai. A very quiet child, Priya also displayed poor motor skill performance, repetitive behaviour and had low levels of interaction among her peers. As initially noticed by Toybank field officers and the centre-in-charge, she was unable to build any bonds as she failed to familiarize faces and voices. Priya also found difficulty in responding to complex and non-verbal methods of communication.

The Toybank play sessions at Priya’s school are conducted 6 days a week. It is during these sessions that our field officers personally focus on Priya and provide her the right toys and games. She is encouraged to play with special puzzles that aid in enhancing her motor skills. The bright blocks, sorters and screws allow Priya to build awareness of her own self-capacities. Priya was also introduced to thumb painting by our field officers. After initially being hesitant, she started enjoying to play during the Toybank sessions.

On close observation, Priya has shown positive development signs and increased interaction with other children as well as her teachers. She is able to concentrate and pick up the toys. Her mother has also informed us of Priya’s positive basic development and is showing signs of ‘expressing’ her happiness on being able to achieve a task during play.

Through more guidance and hand holding support, we at Toybank firmly believe that Priya will benefit through our continued play sessions.

Each play session is carefully designed to adapt to the need of each child, in this case for children like Priya. Toybank strives to provide the best to these children through our interventions.

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.

 

Warm regards,

Shweta Chari,

Founder and CEO, Toybank

 

 

Happy girls creating happy memories
Happy girls creating happy memories
Children at play
Children at play
A puzzle a day keeps the mind stimulated
A puzzle a day keeps the mind stimulated
Team work while playing
Team work while playing
Kids during a Toybank toy distribution session
Kids during a Toybank toy distribution session

Links:

 
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