Play2Learn Games Distribution: Giving Play, mental relief and learning in children’s hands
After distributing 1,095 games for the Play2Smile Program, Toybank distributed 1,160 games for the Play2Learn Program at nine municipal schools in Malad, Mumbai.
It’s true that Play can happen anywhere and anytime, even when children do not have playthings. However, kids’ joy knows no bounds when they have a game or toy to call their own and hold on to, especially during challenging times. Thus, the distribution of games and toys has always been an integral part of Toybank and something that kick-started our interventions back in 2004.
|Our partner Manavlok along with Zilla Parishad school teachers in Beed district|
distribute games to the children during the pandemic
While our digital Play2Learn Kit has been engaging our children through this prolonged pandemic, whenever lockdown rules have eased we have requested our program partners to send the games from our Play2Learn Centers to the children’s homes. These have been done in adherence to safety and precaution guidelines.
Even before the second wave hit the country, we liaised with our partners and teachers to distribute games to our children at nine schools in Malad Mumbai. Every instance of knowing that our kids are experiencing stress-relief, staying meaningfully engaged and learning adds to our happiness and motivates us. But, not a day passes when we don’t wish to be at Toybank Play2Learn Centers surrounded by our kids. Teachers who supported us in giving away the games echoed this sentiment too. As Ms Poonam from Rani Sati Urdu Municipal School said, “For an entire year, we couldn't meet our children but through this distribution, we could see that they have something to enjoy and will remember school and teachers for this gesture.”
Why games distribution is crucial during lockdown
Play spaces are safe spaces for holistic development, social-emotional well-being and learning, especially for at-risk children who are surrounded by harsh environments. As these nurturing spaces of schools and Toybank Play2Learn Centers are temporarily inaccessible, playing at home is crucial. As our Inventory Team member Pinkan Kedase observes, “Children from affluent families are privileged to have all the facilities, but our beneficiaries are all from low-income families and may not afford playthings on their own. Thus, we at Toybank make sure these games and materials reach them so that they stay engaged, which is necessary right now.”
Deepesh Ovhal, from our Inventory Team related to what these children must be going through because of his own child, “I know how frustrating it is at times for children who are so full of energy to be indoors when they should be outside playing. I’m also aware that many times children are at the receiving end of their parents' anger. These kids often step outside to avoid being targeted. But with these games, we can help children avoid such situations and distract themselves as they stay safe at home.”
Behind the scenes with our inventory team working in full steam
While most of Toybank’s employees worked remotely to coordinate this distribution, our inventory team held fort at the warehouse. They worked relentlessly while paying attention to their own health and safety. Even in the pandemic, generous supporters of Toybank have donated games and toys and the inventory team have been stocking, sorting, maintaining a log, sanitizing and packing these games, keeping them ready for whenever there is a window to provide play to our children. “We followed all the COVID protocols and ensured we were all safe, too. Each game was thoroughly checked whether they were complete sets or not. They were sanitized before packaging and later while loading them into transport services. We wore masks and hand gloves at all times,” Pinkan adds. Just like our teachers, our team was also filled with joy on being on-field for the distribution. That’s what we work for, after all.
“All the hard-work and safety measures were worth it and we felt great about the opportunity to experience our in-person work. After such a long time, we were connected with schools and distributed the materials just like pre-COVID days.”
— Deepesh Ovhal, Toybank Inventory Team
Teachers hope for the best
Our partner teachers are pleased with the quality of the materials. As our teacher-in-charge from Valnai Colony Municipal Tamil School Tamilselvi Singaraj said, “We are grateful to you for sending such beautiful materials that we were eager to distribute to our children.”
Principal Ms. Shraddha Parap from Kurar Marathi School adds that the games will be useful in breaking the monotony children have been facing for more than a year. “With these games, they have something new to do. This will ensure that they do not get restless,” Ms. Parap points out.
“As most of our children live in slums, keeping them in the house becomes a challenge for parents. But the games that Toybank distributed will help them be occupied indoors, play and be safe. They can use their time doing something productive. We thank Toybank for providing these games even during these tough times, when it is most needed.”
—Ms Poonam, Teacher, Rani Sati Marg School