Wednesday, October 31, 2012

International Literacy Day with Pratham Books and Toybank

8th Sep 2012, New Delhi

To mark the International Literacy Day, Toybank Delhi became a Pratham Books champion. We participated in their book reading campaign. Armed with two beautiful stories titled 'Susheela's Kolam' and 'Ambili', two of our volunteers Ashima and Jean carried out a reading session for the girls at Protsahan. The volunteers and the children were totally mesmerized by the innocent characters of the stories, and we thank Pratham Books for creating such humble lives.

Besides the book reading, we also had a games session with the children. It was a follow up of the toy-library that we had set up a month before. The children at the centre impressed us by showing a willingness to learn more complicated games such as 'sudoku'. Based on observations made during the follow up, we updated the library with 6 new games and some craft-kits.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Joy of Giving Week 2012 Update

The festival of Giving was celebrated all over India from the 2nd of October to the 8th of October, 2012.

Like every year, through the Joy of Giving Week people from all parts of the country come together to serve the society and to bring smiles of millions of peoples faces.
Mr. Rabindranath Tagore expressed the joy of service by saying that, I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.

Toybank joined the Joy of Giving Week celebration and hundreds of Toybankers from different parts of Mumbai were involved in various activities at Toybank as a part of the Joy of Giving Week.
Snapshot of Toybank @ JGW2012:
Events conducted/participated in:
  • Footsteps4Good
  • Learn for a Cause 
  • Sensitization talks in Schools and Corporate companies 
  • Skit and Medley performed by Gold Crest School students for a partnering NGO of Toyban
  • Movie Screening in association with Children's Film Society
  • No. of volunteers: 100+
  • No. of people sensitized: 1000+
  • No. of toys collected: 2000+ 
  • Funds raised through Footsteps4Good: Rs. 79100
  • Funds raised through Learn for a Cause: Rs.34000
The celebrations started on Oct 2, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, at the Footsteps4Good event conducted at Bandra-Kurla Complex where 35 Toybankers marched along the Walkathon path in support of Toybank. Toybanker, Purab Kohli, also participated in the Footsteps4Good event and spoke wonderfully about Toybank to the audience gathered.
With the monies raised from the Footsteps4Good Toybank will now set up a new Toy Library in a School in rural Maharashtra.

Click here for more photos of Toybank @ the Walkathon
For the very first time, Toybank initiated a learning mela - Learn for a Cause as a part of the Joy of Giving Week. 6 Professional Toybank volunteers got together to help Toybank raise funds through the Joy of Giving week by sharing their knowledge! Our professional held a series of fun workshops on Photography, Zumba Fitness, Magic Tricks, Puppet Making, Art and Guitar during the 6th and the 7th of October. The venue for this initiative was sponsored by Title Waves.
Click here for more photos of Toybank @ Learn for a Cause
Toybank screened cartoon movies which were sponsored by Children's Film Society India in two of our toy libraries. 300 children enjoyed the cartoon movies at Vidya Vikas Sabha Vidyalaya and Bhimanagar School in Borivali. After the movies children were asked about the stories shown in the movies and they gave some interesting answers.
The Toybank wagon stopped at many Schools, Colleges and corporate organizations to spread a word about Toybank and to board in volunteers from these institutions. 1000+ people were sensitized about the concept of Toybank. We collected over 2000 toys from all across the city.
Children from Gold Crest High School, prepared for a play and a medley to be performed for children at our toy distribution event at Eternal Hope Charity Mission.
Toybank also opened a new Community Game Library at CORP as a part of the Joy of Giving Week.
Click here for more photos of Opening of the Community Toy Library at with CORP, Thane
Toybank appreciates the constant support and efforts put in by each of our supporters and volunteers to make this Joy of Giving Week a great success.

Toy Corner at the Escorts Hearts Institute

Diseases do not see family backgrounds or age! This is the lesson that i learnt when I visited the Pediatric centre of the Escorts Heart Hospital. 
Toybank was invited there to participate in setting up of a toy-corner along with the Uday Foundation. I was initially a bit reluctant, as Escorts is known to be an 'elite' hospital - But I was wrong! There I saw parents, who were struggling to keep their children alive … Their households were probably running on bares and they were missing meals themselves, however they made sure that their child is getting the best medical treatment!

Toybank, along with the Uday foundation brought a smile to these ailing kids and their parents. The volunteers from the Uday Foundation conducted a story telling session with the children and also distributed some colors and books. We have set up two toy corners, one at the pediatric ward and the other at the echo testing room, and hope to regularly visit and replenish, as needed.

Check out more pictures here

Toy library initiated at Action for Community ad Training (ACT), Faridabad

It was a big fun start to the toy/games library at ACT, Faridabad on 6th Oct, as six of our Delhi Toybank volunteers turned up to play with around 75 kids. 

We had around 40 board games, craft kits, chess, blocks and quiz sets that we opened and played. It was challenging in the beginning due to the ratio of volunteers to children, however, with the help of the ACT teachers, the room was soon divided up into smaller groups. Most of these children were seeing such board games for the first time and even though the instructions etc were in English but with little help from the volunteers, they were able to crack them! 

It was quite heartening to see a lot of them displaying interest in scrabble and working hard to use their english vocabulary skills. The kids loved playing with UNO cards and also came up with interesting designs ranging from airplanes to furniture, using the block sets provided to them. The usual games of ludo, checkers and chess went on, as some others were trying to put together an electric circuit to light a low voltage bulb in an electro-magnetic game. The highlight of this session was a National Geographic DVD quiz set, which had a wonderful collection of wildlife and aquatic pictures that captured the imagination of both the children as well as the volunteer, who was translating it for them. 

Here are some experiences from the volunteers, who made this event possible :)

Richa Jain: (Deloitte, Gurgaon)
About the experience on Saturday, I would say had wonderful time with kids. Teaching and playing with them was a learning experience for me also. The way they were helping each other to play the correct cards and shared the games, it was very encouraging to see them. All of them were great listeners and learners and grasped the games very soon. All in all very-very enriching experience.

Kapil Bahl: (Genpact, Gurgaon)
:).,. I loved it...the kiddies were lovely and the opening the Toy Gift was such a joy and was so infectious...sad that had to leave when we did...

Deepak Soni (IBM, Noida)
It was a wonderful and totally different experience, it's first of kind experience for me. I like work being done at the grass root level. Playing with kids, helping them understand games / puzzles and the way they respond back  was very joyful.

Apurv Jain (Deloitte, Gurgaon)
I really enjoyed with children. The event was very effective as we could see the level of happiness of children. Particularly in the DVD game I found children enjoying and gaining knowledge while having fun.

Jean Matthews (IBM, Noida)
I had a fulfilling experiencem especially when I saw the kids arranging a sky-scraper out of lego blocks and placing the final piece of the picture puzzle :) ... look forward to more such experiences!

Ashima Khemka
For me it was about raising the bar, as the game sets that we had taken to ACT, were indeed a bit more advanced that usual. However, with a little more effort from the volunteers and a lot of help from the kids, who could read a bit of English, we cracked it! ... It was challenging as the ratio of volunteers to kids was much less than adequate but the results were very encouraging. As a result, the concerned NGO i.e. ACT has allocated three days a week during which they'll have a dedicated game hour between the kids and the teachers :)
Check out the pictures here

Toybank Delhi sets up 2nd Toy Library at Protsahan

Toybank Delhi is on a roll! We set up the 2nd toy library in Delhi/NCR area at Protsahan Foundation on 4th of August! Our volunteers had visited children from Protsahan in May 2011 to celebrate Toybank Delhi's 1st year anniversary! This time we took along amazing toys to help Protsahan run Toybank's toy library at their centre.

We had an awesome event and here's what Latvia, Project Coordinator from Protsahan had to say, 
"On behalf of Protsahan team and the children, I would like to thank Toybank for setting up the Toy Library at Protsahan premises.
- Kids are learning to spell and make small words with the game 'Fun with Words'.  All the games are enhancing their learning capacity.
- 'Spellex' a crossword game, is the most favourite game among all the children."

This summer we had few interns who worked with us closely. Here's something they shared post the event:
"This was a very novel experience for me as this was just my second time working with kids of this age. I had a lot of fun playing with the them and teaching them some of the games. The kids were pretty intelligent and smart. I was a little apprehensive about my abilities to entertain and engage the children at the starting of the event, but the event went exceptionally well as the children seemed to enjoy it. I really enjoyed being a part of the event as well."

"It was wonderful to interact with young girls and watch them play, sing and smile! It was amazing how Protsahan raised those little girls into playful birdies! Nishant and I had scrounged the entire store place, opening every carton, every bag, to find some of the best toys we have. I guess it was all worth it because the toy collection turned out to be way more engaging than the last time! The girls loved playing with the hoopla rings, the monkey game, puzzles and more. However, Jean's catchy rhymes stood out that day! Girls enjoyed singing with her thoroughly. And we all sang along too, making it a day to remember always. :) "

"This was my second experience playing with the children. First of all, I really appreciate the effort by Protsahan in how they have brought up the life of the young girls. It was unbelievable to see their enthusiasm while enjoying the poem recitation. Secondly, we had a lot of fun playing with toys, especially the 'Jumping Monkeys' and 'Hoopla'. It felt amazing to have made their day, yet again."

Jean, volunteer at Toybank:
"Just want to thank Toybank team for giving me an opportunity to be a child once again. The excitement of each one of these kids is highly contagious and I always take this feeling back home. Do keep me posted on your upcoming events and I promise to look at more innovative ways to engage the bachha gang :)"

To view more pics click here 

Toybanking at Asha Kiran, Andheri, West

Our core Toybankers Nutan Raj and Jyoti Bhat have been incredibly managing the Play sessions at Asha Kiran centres every Saturday.
A bunch of young and enthusiastic students from Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management & Engineering (MPSTME) have also been supporting us since July, 2012 by conducting play sessions and different activities for the children at our Play Centre in Asha Kiran.

The vibrant team of Toybankers conducted a book reading session with the kids at Asha Kiran on 8th of September, 2012 - World Literacy Day. They read a book called 'Susheela's Kolams' shared with us by Pratham Books. 
The book reading was followed by a rangoli design activity where the children made colourful sample rangolis on small cards.
The children as well as the volunteers enjoyed the sessions immensely.

Here is what the students of MPSTME have to say about their interactions with the children at our Play centre in Asha Kiran:
"In the past few weeks we got to know a lot about the children. Since the very first day the excitement they showed whenever we came was really amazing. 
We made good use of all the toys in the Play centre and interacted with the children here. After a busy schedule of studies for both the children and for us, these play sessions are like stress busters, plus it is a 2 way learning experience for all of us who attend these sessions.
Apart from the play sessions we also teach them many English songs with actions and they really enjoy singing and dancing with us. 
Every visit is memorable and something different. The kids always welcome us with a lot of excitement on their face and would ask us to wait for longer and come back soon again."

Join us at the play sessions at Asha Kiran every Saturday between 3.30pm to 5pm.
For more details mail us on
Click here to view more pictures of our play sessions @ Asha Kiran

Toybankers @ Humara Foundation

The gung-ho Toybank team assembled at the Hamara Foundation Centre at Bombay Central on the 25th of August to spend some fun time with the children there and to distribute toys.
The children had a wonderful time, singing songs and playing small games with us like word antakshari, dumb-cheraz etc.
Later on the children were taught how to make Gandhi caps and Cricket caps out of newspapers. The children had a gala time interacting with the volunteers and preparing caps for themselves.

Here's what our new Toybanker Shernavaz Shroff had to say about the event:
"This is the very first time I have attended an event like this. 
I thank Toybank for giving me a chance to interact with such wonderful souls. Toybank is doing a great job! I had tears of in my eyes, when I saw all the children's faces glowing with happiness. I would love to attend more of such events in my free time."

Toybank would sincerely like to thank all the volunteers who attended the Toy Distribution event at Hamara Club. A special mention for Ms. Jyoti Devjani, for helping us with the pre-assessments for this event and for getting her full family involved in this event. :-)

Thank you to our Toy donors Sumangali and Dr. Vincent DeSa, for donating such wonderful toys which were used for this event.

Check out the pictures of the event here.