Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children

by The Opentree Foundation
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Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
It is not yours, It is not mine. Toybank is Ours!
It is not yours, It is not mine. Toybank is Ours!

Dear Toybanker,

Just like the season in Mumbai, Toybank has been raining with Activities! The months of June, July, and August had come in with fun along with responsibilities. Toybank has believed in Development through Play and teaching through the medium of toys, games and unstructured Play for children. 

Outreach:

Since the beginning of the quarter, we have conducted 287 Play Sessions at our centers across Mumbai, impacting 7656 children. Special Football Session was conducted at Gilderlane Municipal School by a passionate Toybank volunteer.

7 Teacher Training sessions were conducted where 54 teachers understood the Power of Play as a method to teach their students. 91 of our Urban and Rural Play centers have been restored with new and innovative games. 54 new centers have been set up in the urban and rural regions of Maharashtra.

We conducted 7 Impact Awareness Campaign for 245 individuals from every sector. 2 Distributions were conducted across 3 centers in Mumbai wherein 50 volunteers participated and 177 children received toys and games to call their own.

Program:

Toybank has introduced 2 themes for the year to drive unstructured Play.

1) Anger Management – The theme has been adapted to address the aggression and the anger that the children display at this age.

2) Habit Formation – this theme was introduced so that children indulge in forming good habits and are aware of their bad habits in the early age itself.

Through our Play2Smile program, we have collaborated with 3 hospitals driving the Power of Play to 268 children undergoing treatments. We have also partnered with International Baccalaureate Schools, catering to their CAS Programme where the children to fulfill their Social Responsibility are conducting Play Sessions at low-income schools. This programme will help the CAS children become more empathetic and aware about the ground reality.

Toybank celebrated the ‘World Play Day’ with the young at heart residents of Jeevan Asha Old Age Home. The day not only included toys and games for the aged but also them dancing to the tunes of music performed by the Toybank Volunteers.

Moments of Change: (in the words of our volunteer)

"During a play session, one of Toybank’s field officer had planned on playing Ring Ding Whoosh as an activity. The activity was chosen as it helps in increasing focus among kids and simultaneously teaches numbers. I started the session by explaining to them the rules of the activity and everyone seemed excited to learn the new activity. In the session, there was a kid, Arjun (name changed). The kid lacked focus and did not show interest in playing games which was displayed in the previous sessions as well. The teacher of the class also had the same opinion. But as soon as the activity started, this kid really amazed the onlookers. Every time he had to say a number or perform the action, he did it effortlessly. It is safe to say that Arjun was playing better than the rest of the children. Arjun who was the most active actually displayed excellent focus, concentration and even helped others to remember their numbers. Later on, the teacher who thought that he will be among the first to be out were surprised by the change of events. His friends also supported and cheered for him when they got out. Every time when he was saying the right number with the right action, there was a wide smile on my face. Seeing him playing with confidence, focus and most of all trying to perform well in itself was the magical part of the session."

Toybank through similar process help children overcome the barriers to their healthy development. We are able to do this because supporters like you contribute to the cause. We would like to thank you for your endless encouragement and contribution. Please do hit the donate button on our Project page. You can also rate our report at the bottom of this page. We look forward to your continued support to ensure that all children in India are given this opportunity for healthy development.

Volunteer conducting activities with the children
Volunteer conducting activities with the children
Roaring away to glory!!
Roaring away to glory!!
Intense Play sessions!
Intense Play sessions!
Teachers understanding the Power of Play
Teachers understanding the Power of Play
Kids, Volunteers... everyone wants to Play!
Kids, Volunteers... everyone wants to Play!
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Building an 'Ideal Village' - POP Championship
Building an 'Ideal Village' - POP Championship

Dear Toybank Supporters,

We have had an amazing kick-off to the financial year 2018-19! Wishing it to be a progressive one for all of us. Toybank is always enthusiastic to share its reports on GlobalGiving, as this platform has always been a strong support system for us. The months of March, April, and May 2018 at Toybank have been refreshing and innovative.

Through our Play Sessions, we delve into the Right to Play for children and also teach through the medium of toys, games and plenty of unstructured Play. In these three months, we have conducted 208 Play Sessions at our centres across Mumbai, reaching out to 5164 children.
8 Teacher Training sessions were conducted where 91 teachers understood how to drive the Power of Play to their children. We also replenished games at 25 of our Urban and Rural Play centres to restock them with new and innovative games to suit each child’s need. A Special Frisbee Session was conducted by our volunteer, Craig – an ardent Toybank Supporter at Malvani, Malad.

We conducted 1 Impact Awareness Campaign for 20 individuals from all walks of life. A Distribution was held at Durga Devi Sharma School for 80 children who received beautiful games and toys.

In the month of April 2018, a Power of Play championship was organized at Beed district in Maharashtra. Toybank as Organizers, Child Action as Sponsors and Manavlok as our non-profit partners, joined forces to conduct the inaugural Power of Play Championship in April 2018. 20 Schools, each sending teams of 4 children, totalling 80 children spread across Primary and Secondary students participated in the event.

The Power of Play Championship was much more than just a board game competition. It was about reinforcing the language and importance of play in the lives of children using play both as a distraction and a learning mechanism. An important aspect of the even for Toybank was reaching out to stakeholders like teachers to reiterate what exactly play can achieve. Toybank is looking towards the future to reach out to more stakeholders and continue to reinforce how PLAY impacts lives of children and everyone associated.

Here is what a volunteer had to say about her experience at the event: “There was learning happening all around; for us, for the teachers and for the children. You could see the powerful impact of Play"  - Reeba George, Volunteer

Moments of Change: (in the words of our field leader)

“Ganesh (name changed), a 12-year-old child, who lives in the interior slums of Malvani, Mumbai, was a part of the Summer Special Play Session. He was playing with ‘Toy Town’. During the span of the Play Session, I kept observing him as to what he is trying to make. Despite having an instruction manual on how to make palace, houses; he opted to make a Garbage Truck out of the Lego blocks. When asked what is it made for, he pointed out to a house made of Lego by his friend saying “Yeh truck jayega aur uss ghar se kachra collect karega aur dumping ground mai jaake daal dega” (This truck will go and collect the garbage from that house and dump it in the dumping ground.) All the while illustrating through the truck how it will go. He also made more objects from the Lego and started narrating more stories with them. It was very interesting to hear Ganesh’s pretend stories that were somehow related to the garbage truck.
This made me realize a game is not just limited to developing one certain skill set but has the capacity to develop a lot more than that. It has the capacity to develop and shape the child’s personality This puts across, the awareness the children have towards their surrounding and their willingness to contribute to making a change in the society.”

It is through Play that children learn to express their thoughts. We at Toybank will keep working for the children’s healthy development through the medium of PLAY.

We thank you once again for your kind 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.

Focused & determined playing Building Blocks!
Focused & determined playing Building Blocks!
Happy & Proud at a Distribution event!
Happy & Proud at a Distribution event!
Happy & Free playing Frisbee!
Happy & Free playing Frisbee!
Our Field Leader Training our Teachers to Play!
Our Field Leader Training our Teachers to Play!

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The magic of a simple hug while playing!
The magic of a simple hug while playing!

Dear Toybank Supporters,

We hope you have had a splendid year so far!
We are steadily wrapping up the financial year 2017-18 and are very proud of how it has gone. It has been a year of wonderful challenges, lots of new findings and most importantly, a year of going in-depth with our work.

Specifically, for the months of December, January and February 2018, Toybank has conducted 397 play sessions at our centers across Mumbai, reaching out to 10,711 children. In these three months, we have also trained 132 Teachers to drive the Power of Play from 16 of our Non-Profit partners.

Through our work, Toybank addresses plenty of subtle areas that are many times overlooked. Situations of gender discrimination, or of children struggling with confidence and anger issues, all these are quietly getting tackled through our Play interventions. We have been documenting these moments of change, and as our team member puts it, there is something about these moments that keep me going.”

Moments of Change (in the words of our team member from the field):

A Girl and a Bike:

“In our Play Centre, we keep a balance of games which have been stereotyped.
As I was growing up, I never got to play with games which would teach me to make vehicles. I don’t even remember having a toolset. One of the reasons why I fail to understand the electrical wirings in my house or don’t like to hold the saw in my handwork with the wooden bars or even consider making anything which looks remotely like a vehicle is because my brain tells me this is a GUY thing and you don’t KNOW it. As I started seeing the games in the Toybank Play centers, I got more and more conscious of the fact that these biases need to be broken.

At one of our centers, I handed over a Mechanix (a mini engineering building set) to set to a girl. I also assumed that she would return it to me! I had also started planning my spiel for her as to how she should not be having these biases etc. To my absolute surprise, the girl took the set and opened it and quickly started working on it. I told myself – she will not play with it. I kept a close watch on her. Checked almost every 10 minutes. But to my absolute happiness, she kept at it. She kept at it – nothing could distract her, the sound and the chaos that surrounded her did not distract her. She made the bike.

I was so proud of her! I had this immense sense of HOPE, I suppose. I said a SILENT PRAYER …may we keep empowering girls and may we keep getting reassured that there is so much hope around us…that girls can make bikes, that girls can break all the stereotypes …and live a life beyond the boundaries that I have grown up with!”

A simple toy/game or play activity has the power to influence a child in the most impressionable years of their life. In the new fiscal year, we are embarking into a new phase of mining deep into the potential of Play and fine-tuning our intervention; to truly harness the limitless Power of Play.

We are ever so grateful to you for always watching out for us. We hope you continue to back us up as it is only when we all work together can we actually drive permanent & impactful change to the society at large.

With Warm Wishes on behalf of the whole team,

Shweta Chari
Founder - Chief Toybanker

Solving picture puzzles together!
Solving picture puzzles together!
Learning simple addition through PLAY!
Learning simple addition through PLAY!
Its UNO time!
Its UNO time!
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All smiles at all times!
All smiles at all times!

Dear Toybank Project Supporters,

We wish you a Happy 2018! It’s always a pleasure to share our reports on GlobalGiving and know that we have the backing of beautiful people like you who inspire us to keep doing what we do.

When children play, being rich or poor or from a different community becomes immaterial. Just like in our lives, the only thing that truly matters is that we love, respect and cherish each other. It's being good that's important. This goodness is defined by how much we value loving and being loved. When we put aside all that which makes us prejudiced, will we succeed in imparting the same values to children along with focusing on their happiness and wellbeing, ensuring they are secure, well-stimulated with knowledge and right values.

Toybank, registered 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 October and November 2017, Toybank has conducted 246 play sessions at our centres across Mumbai, reaching out to 4451 children. In these two months, we have also conducted Training sessions for 25 Teachers from 3 of our NGO partners. We also distributed toys which address the emotional needs of children, to 2118 children from across 20 of our Play centers.

With a mission to provide Play in the lives of all children, Toybank also conducts sensitization workshops on the Power of Play for parents and young adults. On November 14th and 16th, 2017, we sensitized over 4000 employees from 2 very large corporate organizations. This is what one of the senior management members had to say,
“It was amazing to have your (Toybank) team come and share your wonderful work with us. I am so thankful we have started our relationship and I hope it goes from strength to strength. Thank you so much for bringing Toybank to our organisation. We truly appreciate your infectious enthusiasm at the game sessions that left us asking for more! The sessions were a huge success, thanks to the passion with which you drove them. Very inspiring.”

Our annual event, the ‘Toybank Fiesta 2017’ took place on 25th and 26th November. It involved sensitization talks, panel discussions, a small exhibition, and even musical performances by children and young upcoming bands. This event saw over 450 individuals from all walks of life come in support of Toybank’s work. It was a very inspiring and motivating moment for Team Toybank.

Story from the Field:

Hari (name changed) is a 7-year old young boy who is a regular at our Play Center in a Government Primary School. Hari lives with his parents in a small village called Surdi. His parents want him to study hard and do well in life. 

Through our play sessions and regular interactions, we noticed that Hari did not enjoy attending school and always felt bored to go because of his disinterest in studies. Because of this attitude, he was scolded by his parents on a daily basis. The constant nagging did not create a positive impact on him and he ended up being late to school every single day. He had poor concentration ability that hindered him from learning well. All the frustration of not performing well somewhere made him introverted and even disrespectful towards his classmates and elders.

Our team immediately started working with more focus on helping Hari out. Our field officer slowly initiated a discussion with Hari, all the while ensuring that Hari is playing with simple board games. We also ensured that he interacted with other children through the play methods by which he could learn to work better in teams and also his confidence in asking more questions and being able to, therefore, speak up. Hari became a champ at playing team based games and this made him realize the value of others and thus respecting them. He is constantly improving and is a regular at all our play sessions.
Hari is much happier, better focused and is now willing to learn and without fear.

At Toybank, we are solving the puzzle, one piece at a time. Just like solving a jigsaw needs strategy — collating color groups, shapes, arranging sections of colors — Toybank has a meticulous method to get us closer to our goal of giving our children a happy childhood through healthy play. Just like the puzzle isn't solved till every single piece is in place, at Toybank, we are putting in all our efforts to make it a complete picture of happy children everywhere.

We sincerely thank you all for the generous contributions and hope that you continue to support us. Do hit the donate button on our Project page to strengthen our foundation furthermore.

With Warm Regards & Best wishes for 2018,

Shweta Chari

Circle of friends, at the Toybank Play Session!
Circle of friends, at the Toybank Play Session!
Teachers, post a Power of Play workshop
Teachers, post a Power of Play workshop
Toybank's Annual Fiesta - Nov, 2017
Toybank's Annual Fiesta - Nov, 2017
'I made it!' A child at our center is all excited!
'I made it!' A child at our center is all excited!
Learning colors, shapes & building together!
Learning colors, shapes & building together!

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Happy kids make a Happy World!
Happy kids make a Happy World!

Dear Toybank Project Supporters,

Greetings! Toybank continues to tread on the path of impacting children’s lives in this quarter. And this wouldn’t be possible without all the support and contributions made by you folks. Our focus is to deliver the power of play to children and help them develop into better adults.

We have striven positively to expand our reach to more children and spread happiness in the months of July, August, and September 2017. Toybank celebrated its 13th Birthday on 16th September with an Annual Distribution Event at Subhedar Ramaji Ambedkar School. Over 90 volunteers teamed with Toybank to distribute toys to 650 students to make it a memorable birthday.

Our intern, Lucy Wray who hails from the United Kingdom shares her experience with us about the event, “My internship at Toybank so far has allowed me to experience a selection of all the different aspects of what they do. I am fortunate enough to have been able to attend their Annual Distribution Event on Saturday 16th September, which celebrated their 13th birthday. The event itself was incredible in bringing together volunteers, students, teachers and the Toybank team alike. Underpinning the event was the intention of giving these lesser privileged children not just a toy to take home but a day to cherish and remember for the rest of their lives. If you were to look back on your childhood nearly every single one of us would have a toy had a strong emotional attachment too - I know I did. It was incredibly inspiring to be able to witness Toybank giving these children both an opportunity to play at home but also a chance to receive something that is solely theirs. I have never been more aware of quite how lucky and privileged I have been in my life than I was on Saturday and for me, the day was an incredible and unforgettable experience that I am forever grateful to have been a part of.  It is a day I will remember and treasure for the rest of my life and I hope that the children who experienced it will too.” - Lucy Wray, UK Toybank Intern

We addressed the importance of play and spread awareness amongst children and adults via Sensitization talks at schools such as RBK International, Hill Spring International, and THINK Global School and at corporates such as BNP Paribas and DP World. Our QTube Café session, Power of Play session and Design for Change Sessions further helped us spread awareness to volunteers and adults so that they can help us better.

We also received a large stage to network and draw more support at the Exhibitions at Ubuntu Montessori School, Deloitte and US Consulate. Shweta Chari, Founder, and CEO of Toybank got a chance to participate in a panel discussion at the Kids India Fair and address toy companies and distributors about the value of play. The event ended on a high note with a small toy distribution for 25 children from one of our centres in Mumbai.

Toybank relentlessly pushes the barrier but at the same time never forgets its roots at conducting regular play sessions. We got a chance to engage our interns from abroad and volunteers with children during play sessions at Hindi BMC School, Pre-Primary play session at Borivali, and Pragati School.

 

Story from the field:

Prasad (name changed) is 15-year-old child studying in Sevak Gram Night School. There are 4 members in his family. He belongs to an economically backward family. His father works for the Municipality and his mother is a housewife. He has 2 siblings. Both the sister and brother attend school.

Prasad never enjoyed studying and hence, does not enjoy attending school. He does not stay with his family and about 5 years ago, he moved to one of our partner centres under CORP. He attends the night school. He comes to the centre in the morning at 9:30 am to have his breakfast and to study. Later, around 7 pm he goes to his school. He attends school for an hour or two and then heads to do his night duty. He works at the Mumbai Central Station. His job involves collecting plastic bottles (drinking water) from out-station trains. He sells this to a recycler for Rs 5 per bottle. His average income per day is about Rs 50.

When our Field officer visited his centre and conducted a play session, she noticed that he was quite an aggressive child. Along with few of his friends, he was able to disrupt the session. Our field officer decided to give him one of our numerical games from the library – Rapid Calculation. Keeping in mind, his daily operations which had mathematical calculations involved in it, she thought of giving him this game. All our numerical games work on the non-cognitive skills like patience, motivation, self-control, perseverance etc. She needed Prasad to start focusing on these aspects. Initially, he struggled with the calculations but as soon as he got the hang of it, he started playing it with a lot of focus.

Today, his favourite game is mec-o-tec and the goal of his life is to make his own car.

At one of the sessions, Our field officer initiated a discussion with this child. He seemed to be upset with his family since no one was speaking with him. He was also not treated well most of the time.

She tried some of the ice-breaking activities like- blindfold, quiz competitions, action game etc. and he was excited. She observed that he was participating more than others in these activities. He also seemed to enjoy the theme based sessions. He mentioned that the activity on health and hygiene had helped him and that he had learnt some of the very important things to maintain the cleanliness.

Once the school started receiving various games from Toybank, Prasad started to come to school on time. Prasad has been attending the sessions at the centre more regularly. He is showing a constant improvement when it comes to his behaviour and his understanding of the games. The attendance has gotten better.

 

We sincerely thank you all for the generous contributions and hope that you continue to support us. Do hit the donate button on our Project page to strengthen our foundation furthermore. It will not only ensure that the children in India will get the opportunity to play but also get to grow and develop into better human beings.

Being naughty as kids should be!
Being naughty as kids should be!
Our Founder, gearing up the Volunteers
Our Founder, gearing up the Volunteers
Our kids after receiving their games & toys
Our kids after receiving their games & toys
Kids playing, Simon Says...!
Kids playing, Simon Says...!
A hearty laugh at our session!
A hearty laugh at our session!
Our team organised a Puppet Show for our kids
Our team organised a Puppet Show for our kids
Kids learning a new trick!
Kids learning a new trick!

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Organization Information

The Opentree Foundation

Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Toybank
Project Leader:
Shweta Chari
Mumbai, Maharashtra India
$79,263 raised of $100,000 goal
 
517 donations
$20,737 to go
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