Monday, January 27, 2014

We Make New Memories with Mumbai Marathon 2014

One, two, three, four- Toybank Toybank! Five, six, seven, eight- Toybank Toybank! What a Sunday! Moreover, what a Dream Run at the Mumbai Marathon this year! We have always been a bunch of enthusiastic people (tending towards being crazy at times as well), but this year we took it to another level… we showcased energy, joy, positivity, being united, and most importantly- love!

Let me take the liberty and say- “our” usual Sundays entail getting up later than usual, have a lazy breakfast, catch some new flick at the cinema near us, have coffee with a few friends, think about the week to begin, introspect a bit (Don’t smirk. We do it from time to time!) and crash for the day. January 19, 2014 was to be different. January 19, this year, was different for most of us at Toybank and in Mumbai who believe in something, who subconsciously, all the time, think about living it differently and who cheer the very idea of humanity.

At 7 am on Sunday- the morning of the Standard Charted Mumbai Marathon 2014, with joy written across our faces, we started collecting at our given start point. In came the Toybankers in yellow tee-shirts. In came the Toybankers with ear-to-ear smiles on their faces and the expressions saying- “Today, we are going to have fun. Today, we are going to write a story. Today, we will tell everybody what Toybank is all about!”

Now! Hold your breath- the Toybank Bus makes its grand entry. Boy! What magnificence! The yellow bus went, saw, and conquered! It got all the attention it deserved. Even before we set it up, people around us wanted to be clicked with it. The engineering and the concept behind it didn’t have to look for appreciation- praises and cheers came walking up to it. We at Toybank believe that children should get their rights to play and of course to education. Thus, the school bus signified childhood, play, and going to school. Our youngest Toybankers went behind the wheels to start the drive!

We walked up the stage at Azad Maidan to showcase Toybank and the other groups cheered us whole heartedly. Post the presentation, we buckled up for the real drive (read run, the Dream Run). Our bus met a few hurdles crossing the check points because of its size- but nothing could speed us down. Our engineers, masterminds, supporters, and our cheer leaders- wouldn’t let the Toybank Bus slow down for any reason.

Toybankers and the pretty bus brought smiles to everybody’s faces. We danced, sang, cheered, jumped, and hugged through our entire 6 kms walk. Infants, babies in strollers, babies in arms, uncles, and supporters from other groups- everyone wanted to be photographed with us and the bus. Yes, I tried to rhyme the last sentence.

Toybank, in its tenth year, witnessed the best carnival, participation, and exposure at this year’s marathon. We could tell from their faces that Toybankers are feeling and thinking- “oh, it got over already!” As our strength of volunteers and people associated with Toybank increase every year, we envision bigger and better events going forward. This is indeed the beginning…we have many more miles to go, many more buses to drive, and many more roads to walk.

To view more picture, click here
- Shivangi Bose

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Setting up of Toylibrary at NGO- SHARE (Santacruz), 28th December 2013

One more new toy library has been set up with one of our new NGO partner SHARE at Santacruz this Saturday. This Toy library will be catering to 65 children who can regularly access this library.

We had planned a two hours program for the library set up on Saturday. To help us with the plan we were accompanied with our Toybankers. The day began at 10am, were we all gathered in the office for a small orientation and to collect the toys.

The event was scheduled at 11.30 am. We reached the NGO at 11 am and stuck Toybanks labels on the Toys. After a small training to the teacher on how to use the Toylibrary we directly began with the games.

The first game was Name game with ball, where the children played catch and throw game introducing their friend’s name. Later we divided the kids in two groups, first group consisted of the younger children from age 5 year to 8 year and the second group from 9 years and above. We decided to explain every game to all the children, so we also segregated the games in two groups. We divided ourselves in groups to explain all the games to the kids.

We explained all the games to the kids, followed by the explanation the kids enjoyed playing with all the games. After an exhausting game session the kids enjoyed the snacks given by their teachers. We called it a day off post a group photo with the kids :)

To view more photos, click here

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Toybank Impact Centres at Maharogi Seva Samiti , Nagpur

Toybank ended its year with a successful set up of 7 impact centres in association with Maharogi Seva Samiti ( MSS ). Maharogi Seva Samiti is a fifty-year legacy founded because of a chance encounter with a man stricken with leprosy.  Established in 1949 by the great humanist Baba Amte the organisation started with the objective of providing leprosy patients humanitarian relief, medical treatment, training and rehabilitation. Today it also caters to the needs of the physically handicapped, visually challenged, deaf & mute, destitute children, senior citizens & primitive tribal’s of the Madia Gond community.

The projects that we covered under MSS were - Anandwan, Somnath & Lok Biradari Prakalp, Hemalkasa. We were covered around 1233 children who belongs to the native tribe called Gond and Madia, the schools which were included in this project were Anand Anganwadi, Anand Zilla Parishad School, Anand Andh Vidyalaya, Anand Mukbadheer Vidyalaya, Somnath Anganwadi, Somnath Zilla Parishad School & Lok Biradri Ashramshala. 

Toybank received a excellent response from the teachers in the training programme. The session started with introduction to Toybank and the importance of play in child development. This was a very interactive session as teachers involved themselves in learning how to use play as a medium to teaching the children in the classroom.Toybank team trained the teachers on how to play the board games, and also explained objective of each and every toy. Lastly the teachers also got trained on how to maintain the documentation of the toy library, the format of registration was discussed in details with addition of few do’s and don’ts. Play session was conducted at the end of the training to make the child familiarise with the games

Toybank sets up 5 toy libararies and conduct a distribution event for the tribal children at Kolad, Raigad

Toybank in collaboration with ISS (Institute of Social Service) launched 5 libraries in different schools in Raigad district in the month of August and September. It’s a proud moment for us to have launched toy libraries in rural areas, as the kids there have very less access to toys. We were able to spread smile on 220 kids through the distribution event, the children who were part of this distribution event belong to the Katkari tribe of Raigad. They are part of the supplementary classes provided by ISS which aims at increasing the attendance level of children in the school.

The name of the schools was our libraries are launched are as follows:

Name of the school

    1.   Dhankhane, Primary Zilla Parishad School.    
    2.Santosh Nagar, Primary Zilla Parishad School


    1.   Talawali, Primary Zilla Parishad School
    2. Kamat, Primary Zilla Parishad School
    3.Pui, Primary Zilla Parishad School

We covered in all 150 kids in the 5 toy libraries and children were given indoor games like puzzles, board games and outdoor games like badminton rackets and skipping ropes.  Once they got their hands on the toys they were engrossed in playing with them.  We plan to set up more toy libraries for these tribal children in collaboration with Institute of Social Service.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Toy Distribution at CORP, Grant road on 30th December 2013:

                 The event commenced at 14:30 in Durgadevi School at Grant road. Around seventeen shelter kids and thirty five street children had showed up. As soon as we brought the cartons filled with toys into the room, the gloomy and poignant atmosphere got electrified. The children yelled. They were loud. Really loud xD. They knew what was inside the boxes and they showed it. I’ve never seen happier faces. Unconstrained and free in joy as they were, their excitement was going to last for a while. To our surprise, a reporter and a cameraman from ABP news had turned up to capture the whole happening. Amruta and the Toybank team began by introducing Pictionary to the whole batch. The kids were thrilled to learn a new game. In the beginning they were a bit reserved but after the first picture, everyone wanted a shot at it.
 Later we indulged into making Hats out of Newspaper. We split into four groups so that we could pay better attention at each child. It was a lot of fun really. And the whole lot was surprisingly quick and smart. All of us put the recycled Hats on with a lot of pride for the rest of the event. There was this game called “Ten Common Things” which the children played in the same groups. They had a lot of common things. Mostly it was playing. But Yeah, they seemed pretty comfortable with each other. After all the fun and frolic, we turned to the highlight of the occasion.

The kids were trying to contain their exhilaration, but their unusually broad smiles gave them away. Ruta and I gathered some information about the kids on a Data sheet before giving them their toys. The toys were wrapped in newspaper and so the children were given instruction to handle them delicately, otherwise the packing would’ve come off. The Reporters asked the kids a few questions, to which, they replied spontaneously giving their honest answers. Subsequently all of them filed out of the room, with a smile across their faces and thoughts of opportunity. The reporter interviewed Shweta and the people of CORP. And that is how the experience concluded on a positive note.
For more pictures, click here.
-Raj (Tridha)

Dongri Children’s Home Toy Library Set up 26th December 2013:

On my first ever Toy library set up, we went to Dongri, Sandhurst road, with two huge boxes. It was backbreaking work. We were showed in to a room by the counsellor; she was a smart, well spoken and a caring person. The place looked warm and made me comfortable. Drawings were pinned up on the walls, some of their craft work had been displayed, there was a huge doll house which had been freshly painted and there were many kids of all ages.
 As soon as they saw the cartons, excitement and ecstasy rushed up their spine. The room sprang to life. The teacher realized that things could get out of hand so she sent most of them back to their rooms. Ruta and I unwrapped the toys. Then we removed each toy, explained it to the teacher, stuck a sticker on it and put it in the wardrobe. The event rolled over smoothly. The Place is looked after by Aangan (NGO).

-Raj (Tridha)