In most of our homes, in some corner, packed inside cardboard boxes, we have toys that lay unused and useless. Have you thought that they could bring joy to the life of children who never had toys to play with? Take them out of those boxes, wrap them up and send across to Toybank – you’ll feel a silent satisfaction sweep inside you.
Toybank is about gifting toys to those children who have been deprived of so many things, let alone the ‘luxury’ of toys. Agreed there is poverty and misery around, but can we afford to have children around us growing up unhappy? Shweta Chari, a young and energetic Electronics engineer, found a calling inside her and decided that she will bring fun and play into the lives of disadvantaged children. She founded ‘Toybank’ with an honest vision of placing a toy in the hands of every child in India and the world.
Shweta and her team of volunteers at Toybank started off gathering toys for street children in Mumbai. The very innocence of this initiative attracted fabulous response from people. Toys started flooding in and Toybank gift wrapped the donated toys with love and placed them in the hands of these kids. It might seem like a simple toy gifting idea, but there is an enormous mental, emotional and creative development that these toys trigger. Toybank started noticing that the kids were slowly opening up, began to feel important and wanted, and started expressing themselves better. Most of all, they had something that they could say was their own – a strong sense of belonging came along. As they grow, like we all remember some toy or the other that we played with, these children will also have a special toy to remember.
As Toybank takes up the role of an angel, they are very clear about one thing – we are not doing any charity, we are just giving the children access to their right. It’s the right of every child to have an enjoyable childhood and grow in the magical and imaginary world that toys create for them. “We at Toybank think that we are all pieces of a large jig saw puzzle; some fulfill basic needs of food, clothing and education while some like us focus on bringing happiness through play into the lives of children. The day all the pieces are put in perfectly and the picture is crystal clear, will be the day Toybank can shut shop.”
In the last six years, Toybank has made it possible for over 8000 kids to own a toy for themselves. Going one step further, Toybank is also taking initiatives to sensitize privileged kids about giving and joy of giving. They go to various schools and spread the good spirit of Toybank. Now that they have toy banks in Bangalore, Pune, Delhi, Bhutan and in the UK, Shweta wants Toybank to make a difference to the lives of children in rural India.