Friday, April 29, 2011

Volunteer of the month for March 2011!

Starting from the month of March we are identifying volunteers who have been regularly volunteering with Toybank and putting in that extra bit to help us move a step closer to our vision of creating a world where all children can have a happy and healthy childhood. 

Lets have a huge round of applause for the volunteers of the month for March - Manan Agrawal and Grishma Khajanchi

Both Manan and Grishma have been very helpful to Toybank and have provided us continuous volunteering support for 3 of our events in the month of March. 

Here's a small QnA session we had with Grishma:

Toybank: What brought you to volunteer with us?
Grishma: Whenever I see the children in the slums near my house, I feel like giving them some toys to make them happy. But then I realize that there are so many children in our country; their childhood is robbed at a very young age. But I thought alone I can’t change everything and then Toybank came to our college.  Toybank is the way I can make them all happy. I always wanted to do something for the society and toy bank is the way for it. Toy bank helps to serve to the society and SPREAD HAPPINESS.

Toybank: What do you think about volunteering in general?
Grishma: When a person donates a significant part of his salary as a charity or to an NGO, he thinks that he is making a contribution towards the welfare of the needy and hence is changing the world in whatever small way he can. But the question is – Is the world really changing? Are the people really benefited from his money?   

I gave the money to an NGO as a donation, now what? Well, you think you have done your part, don’t you? But have another look. What happens to the money? Money alone can’t change the world. There’s lot more than that. Yes, I am talking about volunteering. We would get a firsthand experience of what goes inside and get satisfaction from what we have done. 

What India needs today is a dedicated workforce. It’s not only limited to this, volunteering can help to make a positive impact on the society and also contributes to your social status. Moreover, volunteering also helps to interact with people from diverse backgrounds thus helping you learn and work as a team. So the next time when you get an opportunity, do volunteer your time and effort to see the change that you can bring. Stop complaining about the corrupt structure and be the change you want to see. What India needs today are volunteers who can collectively work towards its development.  Volunteer yourself to see how you can change the society with whatever you have.

Toybank: What keeps you motivated to volunteer?
Grishma: The amazing feeling that I get when I see the smile on the face of those sweet innocent children is something that motivates me the most. It just makes my day. Moreover it makes me feel great that I am being the cause of someone's happiness. And those kids who say. ‘Dee please come again’. Toybank is really doing a great work in bringing back the lost childhood of all those children who are deprived of it. It’s my honor to be a part of it.

Toybank: What is your most memorable experience with Toybank?  
Grishma: We despite having so many luxuries can’t manage to wear a smile sometimes. Small expression of joy in their face is really a heart touching experience. My very first day at Daya Sadan - playing ringa ringa roses…then four corners…it was a great fun out there. At YMCA near juhu beach - playing football and cricket was too good. At the league of mercy the collage making session with those sweet, naughty, innocent girls was really a pleasure. All these add a great JOY to my world. Working with Toybank itself is a memorable experience. 

Here's a small QnA session we had with Manan:

Toybank: What brought you to volunteer with us?
Manan: A spirit to contribute my bit to the society by helping the lesser-privileged children. Also giving the most important right to these kids. i.e. Right to play

Toybank: What is your most memorable experience with Toybank?
Manan: My every moment with Toybank is as memorable as it can be. From playing football with the swift boys of YMCA to making collage with the girls of league of mercy, they all had left a permanent impression in my mind and heart.

Toybank: What do you think about volunteering in general?
 Manan: Volunteering simply means to me thanking to The God for all the things he has given to us. I believe instead of worshipping for hours in temples and mosque we should give our time for such volunteering act. As they say serve the humanity, serve the almighty.

Toybank: What keeps you motivated to volunteer?
Manan: The smiles and the beautiful laughter on the lovely faces of the kids, and this will always keep me motivated to do my best

A big Thank You to Grishma and Manan for supporting us! We look forward to have you guys coming in many of our events in future. Cheers to Grishma and Manan!!! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A GOOD Friday at Salaam Baalak Trust!

On the 22nd of April, Toybankers from Bombay had an awesome time with the kids from Salaam Baalak! We had two simultaneous events going on for different age groups of children.
Here's what a first time volunteer Seshadri has to say about the event:

"Toybankers gathered at Umerkhadi Day Care Centre which comes under the Salaam Baalak Trust for a fun-filled interaction with the kids ranging from as young as 3years to 18 years.  This trust located  in the south of Mumbai, provides a holistic safety net of services catering to the individual needs of  street children covering from physical and medical needs to education, creative, social and vocational needs of children.  Farnaza and the group of volunteers assembled early enough for a briefing.   

Basically 2 events were staged simultaneously, poems, story telling and the screening of message-based films  for the younger ones aged between 3-6 years. The kids were totally taken in by this concept that the volunteers Visakha and Farida had to plead the kids to stop so that we could go ahead.  After almost 2 hours the kids were presented with soft toys. The joy on their faces had to be seen to be believed.  

The second event was held simultaneously was for the elder group of 8-18 years who were divided into 5 groups.  The volunteers had collected lots of scrap material in the form of buttons, bottles, bottle caps, shoe laces, clothes, cardboard sheets, boxes, greetings cards, match boxes, safety pins, paper clips, newspapers, decorative material, toothpicks, hair clips and anything that could be put to some use.   

These items were given to the groups and they were asked to let their creativity take over. One of the groups came out with a Robot! We saw that children can really come up with some fascinating stuff when there is no limit or any restriction on thinking. Finally these kids were also presented with some creative toys which we are sure would get them thinking.  A fascinating GOOD Friday and we came out learning so much more from these children."

Click here for more glimpses of the event!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rockin' Pune Collection drive!!

Toybank Pune kick-started 2011 with a great bunch of toys collected at Linger On Cafe at Baner Road. Radhika and Rajesh from Linger On helped us organize the drive at their cafe. They also helped us reach out to the neighbourhood societies, IT companies and schools to spread the word about Toybank.

The Collection drive was conducted between 3rd - 9th April followed by a Wrapping event on 9th April. Toybankers Amritlal, Mohnish, Jigyasa, Rucheela and Avni gathered at Linger On on 9th April around 10:00 am and spent about two hours learning about Toybank and wrapping the toys. About 95 toys were collected and wrapped!

The collected toys were then transferred to the Kaymo Storage Space at Old Pune mumbai Highway with support from Rajashree.

Toybank thanks all the schools, IT companies and societies who supported and helped make the drive at Linger On a success.
  • The Orchid School
  • Vidya Valley School
  • First Five 
  • Jump Games
  • Bitwise
  • Syngenta
  • Symantec
  • Talentica
  • Nvidia
  • Oniodesign
  • Pubmatic
  • Synechron
  • Brainvisa
  • Zevenseas
Toybank also thanks Linger On for all their efforts in organizing the Drive and bringing smiles to more children in and around Pune. Toybank thanks its volunteers for spending sme time and neatly wrapping the toys for children.

Volunteers Experience:

I am thankful to all for having me a part of this I really felt nice for the children receiving this cause the kind of gifts we got for wrapping was amazing. I was stunned with the variety and quality of the toys, it really made me feel by giving this off to someone in need would really mean a lot to the child and would get one sparkling smile on the kids face . I appreciate the collection efforts hope to be a part of this for a long period. God bless the kids.


It was my first time with any such event. It was great experience and it was nice to realize that how toys discarded by us can bring so much happiness to children whom Toybank will distribute. What I liked best was that Avni and her team took all efforts to make things work. They told us how the toys have to be separated age wise in various groups. One thing which I liked was they made a point that no broken toys were wrapped up. I am looking forward to more events like these in future

Toy wrapping event was great fun ! Although it was my first time wrapping a bunch of toys all at one time, I enjoyed it and the feeling that the kids would love having the wrapped up gifts was satisfying. Looking forward to the toy distribution event and many more wrapping sessions. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Happy Sunday with 150 kids from St.Catherine's Home!

Pravin Tulpule aka Pinto Baba and 9 awesome Toybankers spent a wonderful evening with 150 girls from the St. Catherine's Home in Andheri, Mumbai.

The details of the event has been captured by Deepa who brilliantly executed the latter half of the event by chatting to the kids about the importance of play and fun!

Notes by Deepa
"So, the plan for Sunday evening - volunteer with Toybank for a Magic Show being performed for the children at St. Catherine’s Home.  As I reached the venue, I expected to see a Magician performing his regular act and the kids to watch him in awe with their mouths agape in pin drop silence.  

What I did find instead, was a room full of kids roaring with laughter as they joined in chanting the magical mantra “daa daaa dee daaa” to turn the feather rings from an angelic white to a multi colored hue, assertively correct our Magician each time he referred to his voluntary assistants (the little kids) as “good boy”.  Bursting in to gleeful laughter when plastic snakes were out from chip boxes and red “invisible” handkerchiefs disappearing and appearing out of …well….let’s say different places.  Pravin, our Magician in a clown getup, had not just performed some stunts but actually managed to turn the atmosphere in the room into a highly charged, interactive fun session that had us all in splits. (Yes, the Sisters at St. Catherine’s too were laughing out loud!)

Now for the serious stuff, “distribution of the toys and games" (We are serious about that!!!). Well we needed to talk to the girls about the importance of playing boardgames and their contribution in learning and developing various soft skills like team building, taking responsibility of ensuring they are used and kept back in a proper manner, etc. It sounded like an easy task. I stepped in to address the children. It did require a lot more stretching of my vocal chords than it took to celebrate India’s victory at the ICC World Cup in order to get the attention of the girls! 

Then came the most endearing part where we had the children sing the most heartwarming, gratitude song I have ever heard. I am sure all of us had moist eyes.

My evening was well utilized. I had fun. The girls had fun and this is something which I always look forward to. I also managed to take a few shots at badminton and cheer some young budding female cricketers towards the end.

A wonderful Sunday evening well spent and well earned. Thank you Farnaza and the entire Toybank team for allowing me to be part of this endeavor."