Friday, June 29, 2012

Toybank visits Khoj Foundation

Date: April 21st 2012
Venue: Prabhat Tara - Institute of Social Service, Delhi

6 Toybankers set out to have fun with children from Khoj Foundation, a NGO working on upliftment and development of children living and working on the streets by connecting them to the main stream society.

As soon as all the children assembled, all of us sat down for a drawing and painting session for 30 mins. Soon there were colourful elephants, cars, trees, houses and Toybankers had a fun time engaging with the children!

This was followed by a dance performance by the boys for a Salman Khan number. They were excited, happy and enthusiastic all through their performance. Post this we sang along a few songs and continued having fun. Our volunteer Jean engaged the kids in her amazing rhymes again! :) The fun event then extended to cake and toy distribution!

Here's an account of the complete event as shared by Khoj Foundation:

"It was a warm day on 21st April but the teachers worked hard to gather children from Ber Sarai to bring them to Prabhat Tara. About 50% of the children had gone to their villages for different occasions, however we were successful in gathering 31 children.

The children knew in advance that they would be getting toys that day and they were full of curiosity and with questions about the kind of toys Toy Bank would gift them.

The team from Toybank came around 2.15pm and they had no. of volunteers with them as well and soon sat down for orientation.

As usual, the children were first made to refresh themselves by thoroughly scrubbing with face with soap and water and washing their hands. They then formed a big circle and introduced themselves. The teachers then informed them about the activity of the day.

The youngest group of children sat down for drawing and painting. They drew no. of objects and figures and coloured them with crayons with teacher Savita.

The middle section of children sat down to do coloring with water paints on a huge figure of tree and painting birds on it with teacher Neetu.

The eldest section of children practiced on a song with the help of Jamshed and teacher Maddy. They were all getting ready to give a performance to the team of Toybank.

The team of Toybank soon joined the children during their activities and guided children.

The dance performance was given by the eldest section of children which everyone enjoyed. They were all made to form a circle again and Jean from Toybank sang number of poems in Hindi and English with the children.

Soon, it was time to have soft beverages and snacks and children gorged with delight and relished the cakes that were brought by the team of Toybank for them.

It was now time to gift the toys. The name of each child was called by the team of Toybank and a gift was given to each child according to his/ her age. The children could not contain their excitement to receive gifts from them and were thrilled to receive them and bragged about them among themselves and showed off to each other.

Toybank promised to gift more to them in the month of June’12.

Thank you team of Toybank, Neha and staff of Khoj for making the day such a memorable one for the children! " 

Catch all the glimpses of the event here !!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A fun day with children from Aspiring Foundation!

Toybankers in Delhi had an amazing summer time with children! This April Toybankers visited 2 organizations - Aspiring Foundation and Khoj Foundation and reached out to over 70 children. Stay tuned as we bring you two new blogposts to share all the fun we had in Delhi!

April 14th 2012, Aspiring Foundation, Saraswati Slum Wing, R.K Puram, Delhi:

Aspiring for Achievement Foundation (AAF) was established by a group of youth with a dedication to promote empowerment of the poor and the marginalized, vulnerable sections, deprived castes and backward regions through relevant action-programmes, training and capacity building.

10 Toybankers visited children from Aspiring Foundation and had fun activities for 2 hours on a rainy Saturday. Our volunteers Jean and Ashima engaged the children in wonderful rhymes and story-telling sessions. Also the children performed a dance for us which they were preparing for an upcoming NGO fest in April.

Here's what our first-time volunteer Ayushi Verma had to say after the event:
"First of all thank you for the opportunity to be around those beautiful kids of Saraswati slum wing and giving me a new purpose in my life. The kids were so talented and sincere towards their studies. I was glad when I knew that they know the difference between right and wrong and are very optimistic. Toybank not only distributes toys but also spreads happiness and brings smile on their faces. I am glad and feel proud that I am a part of it and will always be there to volunteer again. :) Love to Toybank and Aspiring Foundation for letting me reach those lovely and adorable children. Thanks! "

Our first-time volunteer Anushree Sharma shared her experiences with us:
"This is the first time I volunteered for a NGO. I don't have any words to explain those oh-so lovely moments with those children. It not only lightened up their faces, but mine too. Truly said, 'The soul is healed by being with children'."

Here's what folks from Aspiring Foundation had to say after the event:
"To everyone who participated and had fun with these children, we thank you! Toybank team and volunteers for the great atmosphere and for being so supportive. Looking forward to work with you guys the next time. All the very best. :)"

We thank Edith, Ajay and the teachers from AAF for providing their cooperation in making the event interactive, fun-filled and awesome!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Little Toybankers help us check the toy stock at the Toy Library in Vidya Vikas School

Toybankers visited the Vidya Vikas Sabha Vidyalaya in Borivili on Friday the 15th of June for the sorting of toy stock in the Toy Library. These toys had been given by the Toybank, to the school a year ago and there had been an addition to this library thrice after the Library started. 

Some of the children of various classes volunteered to help. It was good to see the speed at which they meticulously sorted through the games and solved the puzzles to make sure there weren’t any pieces missing! They chattered happily as their tiny hands worked their way through the board games that were piled high. 
They were sincere and very responsive to the volunteers and it was a pleasure working with them. 

We sorted and coded all the games of the primary and secondary section, organising them in a systematic manner, so that the children at Vidya Vikas School could make the most of it. 

Click here for more photos!

Toybankers at Manorama Paathshaala

Toybankers assembled at Manorama Paathshaala on the 14th of June to interact with the kids and teach them origami!
Children made Gandhi caps and cricket caps for themselves.

Toybank also set up a Toy Library for the kids there.
Now all of them will get access to Constructive play through our games in the Toy Library at Manorama Paathshaala!

Toybankers will go there regularly to play and have fun with the children! :)

To volunteer at our Toy Library in Manorama Paathshaala, Andheri W. mail us on or call us on 022 2445 8235.

The Toybank Day!...

The first ever stakeholder meeting of Toybank was held in Mumbai on the 9th of June. Everyone associated with it from various cities came together and were felicitated for their contributions at various levels towards the success of Toybank.

The mood was set by the Toybank band alongside showcasing the journey of the toy bankers in a video Montage. The pictures brought forth vibrancy in the atmosphere and everyone eagerly awaited the speeches to be made by those who had worked sincerely in making Toybank what it is today.

Toybank Band: Vishakha, Vikram & Joslyn
The founder of Toybank  Ms. Shweta Chari took everyone back to where it all started from “This is the day we want to acknowledge everyone. This has grown from 6 volunteers in 2004 to over a thousand volunteers now. We still wait for the utopian day, when there is no need for the Toybank and every child has a toy in their hands. It has taken us 8 years to convince people about the importance of play”.

Shweta... addressing the audience
After this heartfelt speech Ms. Shweta gave a small introductory speech about the trustees and other contributors came forward and shared their experiences.
Mr. Purab Kohli (actor/model) said that he first met Shweta at a conference 8 years ago and was happy when she put a toy in his hand and was glad to be a part of this wonderful bank.
Purab Kohli: Sharing his Toybanking experience
Mr. Subramanyam requested everyone seated there to spread the word about Toybank, stating it to be a wonderful concept of re-using toys and spreading happiness.
Mr. Nimesh who helped with arranging the venue and dinner thanked and appreciated Shweta in her efforts and thoughtfulness in spending money on an organization that has helped put a big smile on the faces of little children for all these years.
Mrs. Nagpal form Ecole Mondial school, Juhu, said she was grateful to have been involved with the organization. 

Mrs. Thakur, Principal at a Marathi Medium school in Borivali said, “Thanks to Toybank the students have learnt to love and enjoy the English language. They can now spell, understand fruits, vegetables and alphabets and recognize the various international flags, so a special thanks to Shweta and Farnaza.”
Karmayog that provided and online platform and Toolbox for helping with the internal logistics of rural Maharashtra were felicitated.  The Deloitte and Stylus team that contributed heartily by conducting toy collection drives and four young boys of Ecole Mondial school who sold cookies and bought toys were also felicitated.
Then there was the screening of a movie captured by movie makers from Singapore International Foundation, that showed the audiences the activities conducted by the volunteers and their experiences.
Shweta Chari with Mr.Vinay Somani
Volunteers from across India came forward to share their experiences
Swetha Dua who helped start Toybank in Bangalore, Pune and Delhi said that she learnt it step by step and it slowly started to spread to other cities. In Bangalore she found support through I-Volunteer. “I was so happy to see so many smiles and there was no pressure of work at Toybank. I want to give credit to my core team. The best hardworking team and thanks to them I like going to the same workplace everyday’’.

Swetha Dua: Sharing her Toybanking experience
Ms. Avni,  handling the Toybank in Pune said that this was definitely not an additional social service that they were doing, it was something they enjoyed and loved doing.
Siddharth, a volunteer in Mumbai said that it urged him to compromise the beer drinking evenings and do something meaningful. He has worked for Toybank for the past two and a half years and has found it to be a fantastic experience.

Avni Pattani: Sharing here Toybanking experience
Shweta Chari said that the entire event was managed by the volunteers and they all seemed driven to make this a success. She gave a special thanks to Farnaza (only full time employee who alongside pursued her MBA). “She sailed through it all. It has been almost 2 years now and thankyou for everything,’’ she said.

Toybankers :)

The Saturday air was filled with pleasant and excited chatter as faces were recognized and hands were shaken.

Click here to check out more pics of the Toybank Day! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Watermelons Kids Store in DLF Place, Saket, Delhi has partnered with Toybank to organize a month long toy collection drive!
 So what are you waiting for? Gift a smile today! Donate any of your unused toys which are in good condition at the Watermelons store, and we will take the toys to the children who need them the most! 

For more information on the drive or any queries, write to us at


Friday, June 15, 2012

Metlife, Noida - Toy collection drive

Metlife conducted an awesome toy collection drive for Toybank in the month of March-April in their Noida office!
Employees of Metlife collected loads of toys and sent it to our store place in Delhi. 


Toybank volunteers gift-wrapped at the store place generously provided by Bharat Infotech, Rohini, and now they are ready to be given to those little hands who need them the most!

Metlife employees are also on their way to send us their second lot of toys very soon! :)
We thank everyone at Metlife for this awesome initiative!!

Check out more pics of MetLife's toy collection drive here

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Congrats Jyoti Bhat!!!!

Here comes the volunteer of the month for the month of May - Jyoti Bhat!!!

Jyoti has been a Toybanker since 2010, and has been a consistent and dedicated volunteer since then. Jyoti has given Toybank invaluable feedback on out events and activities and has participated with her whole heart and soul while interacting with kids and other volunteers.

Jyoti, its been wonderful to have you as a volunteer. We hope to take you along as Toybank goes miles across the city and the country achieving its vision of a happy and a healthy childhood for all children.

Here is what Jyoti has to share about her participation with Toybank-

"I had long been thinking that sometime in life I should be able to give a little of my time to be with children - childhood being the formative years of any individual and also because somewhere I felt kids today were losing their innocence and natural creativity due to the current "pressure-cooker" world. So when I took a break from my 16-year long career period, I began to look for volunteering opportunities. Thus I came across 'iVolunteer' and through them to Toybank :)
Jyoti - Toybanking!
My first event was, at Don Bosco grounds in Nov 2010- 'The Children's Day Mela'; and first meeting with Farnaza (the connect to Toybank) was at Dadar for understanding the games to be taken to Don Bosco. Then some wrapping sessions and toy sorting at Kaymo, Mahalaxmi. Toy distribution at girls home Udaan Ghar along with a creative session. The opening of the to library at the Rajawadi municipal school. The Toybank Summer Bash where I got to revisit my origami skills - it is one of my hobbies, but I had not done it for quite some time.
EVERY event was interesting and I learned so many new things at each event and in the interaction of the children. So frankly the knowledge sharing and the happiness is mutual :) between us volunteers and the kids.
I did do a couple of other volunteering activities related to children. But what I like about Toybank is that it is quite well organized - it has now so happened that I anticipate every month end for Farnaza's monthly schedule of volunteer opportunities to choose from!
And then the Toybank get-together, held recently, was really worth it - it gave face to some of the names seen over mails, it felt good to find people from so many walks-of-life associated with Toybank. And it showed every person is still a child somewhere - and toys are seen as an integral part of childhood. There are fond memories of some particular toys from our childhood. And the learning through toys in a playful way is retained for a longer time!
Volunteering is what was earlier referred to as "Shram-Daan" - where one 'donates' time and effort / skills for the overall betterment of the society without a lookout for personal gain. But I believe volunteering is a Win-Win situations where there is eventually mutual benefit.
One keeps hearing of cribs of the world not being good, increasing crime, not enough opportunities, etc. For me, by volunteering especially for children's causes, one is actually helping to make the world better by helping make better individuals. So in a way, a volunteer is really helping himself/herself only by helping in the forming of a better world :)
That - I think - is the 'ulterior motive' ;) :D in 'VOLUNTEERING'."
Thank you once again Jyoti!
Happy Toybanking! :)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Innocent Smiles – Expressing Beyond Words

Stylus India as part of their CSR initiative coordinated with Toybank for a toy collection and distribution activity. The Stylus Team put in humongous efforts in collecting toys, wrapping them artistically in newspapers and tracking the age-grouped toy inventory adhering to normal norms of toy selections. Stylus Team were spot on in communication and kept Toybank informed and well updated throughout this drive.
The Toy Distribution was held at MakkalaJagriti – a library/play centre/recreation zone for kids between 6-14 living in and around a modest Old Guddadhalli area adjacent to Mysore Road aloof from the razzmatazz of bourgeoisie Bangalore . Stylus Team managed to reach the venue on time even after last minute change of routes due to haphazard Bangalore Traffic, thus making a beeline of uniformed harbingers of joy with cartons of myriad toys in their hands towards the two storeys Makkala Jagriti centre. Toybank volunteers were present at venue beforehand and welcomed the bubbly enthusiastic Stylus Volunteers for many of whom this seemed the maiden endeavor.

Initially the Stylus volunteers far outnumbered the kids present at centre but slowly the young smiles grew abundant. With space constraint being imminent the planned activities had to be shelved a point which is on our priority list to ensure smoothness of flow of events in future. But there was still enough space to let the kids unleash their creativity on white canvas. Stylus volunteers armed with thin white papers and motley collection of sketch pens urged the young kids to paint their expressions. 

No statistical or forecasting methods could have envisaged the plethora of ideas kids churned out in no time over the topic of Family. All kinds of family systems were jostling to conceptualize from tiny spark in the toddlers brains onto the paper along with usual suspects in early age paintings like rivers, mountains and two curved birds. After being hesitant at first the Stylus volunteers gelled up with the kids and chipped in with their inputs to inspire the kids to make an excellent painting – some turned Picasso’s and others looked like in mood to take on world of modern art by storm with their own abstract ideas. Kids responded well to encouragement received from Stylus volunteers some of whom were reliving their head boy/head girl days – leading at their best via instruction and examples. At the end of painting session we had all kinds of smileys on faces of kids – but it was mission
accomplished for many.

The alliance between kids and volunteers was pretty unshakable by now, so naturally it was time to move away from art part to something which would turn up the decibels. The kids mixed up with volunteers to form two mixed groups for a game of Dumb-Charades. First hurdle was identifying animal names. Good to find many fans of Animal Planet as kids knew the animal roars and actions thoroughly. Next obstacle was places which to everyone’s surprise both groups managed to guess without much brainstorming. The definitive entity was a public favorite – films - which resulted in enactment of some famous actions, famous scenes and even a dance. Overall nothing less than a laugh riot .

The toy distribution part was held simultaneously at the ground floor of the venue with kids collecting their surprise as per age groups and posing for the shutterbugs amongst the volunteers – every kid feeling a celeb, an innocent one for a change, in one way or other. The little ones showed tremendous mutual respect as no one eyed the toys of others – a rare quality in this fierce world to which we hope the kids cling on to for a better tomorrow.A really nice bunch of kids with good values as there were absolutely zero complaints about the sizes of toys received too.

We at Toybank would like to thank Ranjini and Shanthi – the coordinators/enforcers/teachers of Makkala Jagriti and the Stylus Volunteers for amazing participation in this activity to make it a wonderful experience to kids.

Special thanks to Arif who engages on continuous basis with Makkala Jagriti and for lending unexpected helping hand during this event. The zeal and vibrancy of the Byes exchanged between all the volunteers and the kids proclaimed the event as a grand success!

Check out the pictures in the following links: