This is the age of information Revolution, which has made the globe shrink as never before. Countries have leapfrogged barriers of time and space; people have started speaking a new language of brotherhood; ideologies fare disintegrating, yielding place to the concept of citizen of the world.
One of the best dimensions of this new found freedom can be play – a language everyone understands, unmindful of political borders, racial differences, linguistic divides, ethnic considerations. Human contact is the name of the new game, and bridging the gaps between peoples, regions, languages, cultures and hearts the new strategy. CHILDREN TOY FOUNDATION hopes to achieve this at both national and international levels.
Article 31 of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the child reads: “This child shall have full opportunity for play and recreation, which should be directed to the same purpose as education. Society and public authorities shall endeavour to promote the enjoyment of this right”. Unfortunately, most people tend to look upon toys and games as kid-stuff . They do not realize that play is a means of learning to live, not a way of passing the time. CHILDREN TOY FOUNDATION aims at destroying this myth.
Toys and games not only amuse children, but also stir their imagination, stimulate creative instinct and spontaneous thinking. They also sharpen the child’s reasoning enlarge his/ her vision, encourage free flow of thoughts, improve observation power and concentration. Some toys and games test speed and perception. Some others teach discipline, honesty, truth, courage, etc .and develop the spirit of co-operative competitiveness. Till the human society realizes this basic truth, it will remain incomplete. CHILDREN TOY FOUNDATION intends fillings this void.
Did you know that three –quarters of a child’s personality is molded in the first six years? Do you know that children up to the age of six respond best to non – formal teaching methods? Can you believe that one of the most effective teaching aids is toys? Well, that happens to be a scientifically proven face, and CHILDREN TOY FOUNDATION is targeted towards inculcation mass awareness of this basic truth. Because toys and games stimulate the child’s perception and imagination, encourage motor and mental development, and most important, make the process of learning great fun.
What is more, toys have no language, and yet they speak. They have many colours, but they do not quarrel among themselves. They represent a world of delight , a land of enchantment and magic, where kids make friends, converse with apparently inanimate objects, find fulfillment and satisfaction, and are completely at home happy and peaceful. CHILDREN TOY FOUNDATION has the key to this world of toys and games.
WHAT HAS THE FOUNDATION DONE SO FAR?
CHIDREN TOY FOUNDATION is a trust registered with the charity commissioner of Bombay. Its prime objective is to inculcate in people in general and children in particular a genuine love for toys and games. Since 1982 , it has been striving to infuse a new enthusiasm in society about the intrinsic worth of toys and games> Now it is hoping to sustain and enlarge this vision by ensuring closer co-operation among toy / games enthusiasts so that individuals as well as organization, society as well as state can pave the way for much bigger things.
TOY/ GAME LIBRARIES
The FOUNDATION has a modest, yet impressive network of over a hundred such libraries all over the country. The motto is ‘Lend a toy, share a joy’, the slogan “Play together, stay together”. Apart from spreading its wings to eight states/Union Territories, the FOUNDATION has also provided know-how and guidance in setting up similar libraries in Bangladesh and countries of the Gulf and Africa.
The libraries can boast of a multifarious variety:
Kindergartens and bigger schools ( which , naturally, have the largest number)
- Youth groups ( like Jain Yuvak Sangh, Prarthana Samaj Bombay; Gujarati Yuvak Mandal, Ganga Mandir, Cuttack , Orissa, Innerwheel club, Ankleshwar, Gujarat, Yuvak Pragati Sahyog, Buldana, Maharashtra)
- Women’s groups ( like Bhagini Samaj , Opera House, Bombay; Mahila Pustakalaya, Rajkot, Gujarat; Anant Bal Vatika, Nutan Nagar, Gujarat; Kapole Mahila Mandal, C P Tank Area, Bombay)
- Children’s homes (like Chembur Children’s Home, Mankhurd, Bombay; Shishuvihar Kendra , Bhavnagar, Gujarta; Children’s Happy home , Raipur ( 5 of them . M.P)
- Institutions for the handicapped ( like Mentally Retarded Children’s Toy Library, Dadar, Bombay; National Institute for Hearing Handicapped, Bandra, Bombay
- Hospitals ( like St. George’s Hospital, Tata Memorial Hospital , Cooper Hospital, V. N Desai Municipal Hospital, Bombay )
- Health-oriented groups ( like Indian Red Cross Society, Indian Cancer Society and Ashwini Medical Relief Society)
- Industrial groups( like Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilisers, Chembur , Bombay; and ARLABS, Bhor, Maharashra)
- Govermental bodies ( like Surat Municipal Corporation)
- Charitable trusts ( like Manav Seva Trust, Visnagar, Gujarat, Swajan Foundation , Bombay, padmavati Group, Baroda Gujarat, Smt PPM & Smt SCG Public Charitable Trust, Panchvati , Umarath, Gujarat )
- Social welfare groups ( like Lions, Rotarians, Gaints, Social Service League , Lok Vigyan Sanghatana )
- Places of worship ( like Bhatia Bhagirathi temple, Princess street, Bombay )
The latest feather in our cap is a library being set up in an old people’s home at Panchgani , Maharashtra and one at Dhordo(desert in Kutch,Gujarat. Further, the 100 odd libraries range from play centres to fullfledged libraries to mobile ones.
WHY DO WE NEED A TOY/ GAME LIBRARY?
For a majority of India’s child population, quality toys remain a pie –in- the- sky. The poor standard of living of the general populace has imposed unnatural curbs on the child’s playtime, curbing its most natural means of discovery, communication and expression.
Worse still, whatever toys/ games are grudgingly bought for the kids often constitute an unwise choice, not designed to keep up with the child’s widening horizon of knowledge and the simmering range of abilities. The common tendency of parents is to simply go to a toy shop, pick up something handy and cheap, and give it to their kid without bothering to find out whether it is suited to the age group to which the child belongs. More often than not, it is a spur of the moment decision a mere detraction the choice dictated by the price, availability and fun value. The intellectual level of the child, its aptitudes and inclinations, are never taken into account. The potential force of toys / games in moulding the character and temperament of the young ones never features in the scheme of things.
The libraries/ play centres set up by CHILDREN TOY FOUNDATION fight against this general tendency: of treating toys/ games as insignificant things, not worth more than a passing thought. The FOUNDATION believes in catching them young the young minds bubbling with enthusiasm for a variety of subjects and initiating natural development of their talents. On its own and through other lovers of toys/ games the FOUNDATION has been busy opening exciting opportunities to discover and experiment within today’s rapidly changing worlds of science, engineering , sports, arts, crafts, etc., from an early age. The toys choice today could decide the child’s tomorrow.
The FOUNDATION believes that today’s children are tomorrow’s pillars of strength; and hence anything done for them is never adequate enough. The first step in this direction is an ambitious venture to set up at least a thousand toys/ game libraries, which would help share the toy joy with the children of not only India, but those all over the globe.
For years, the FOUNDATION has been keeping a low profile. It has been playing the role of a midwife : delivering the baby and letting the parents bring it up. The no strings attached approach has certain advantages as well as disadvantages. While it absolved the FOUNDATION of any blame if something went wrong with the library it created in the first place, with no permanent stakes in the venture, the FOUNDATION could not have much say in either streamlining the affairs of a library or reviving a dying one. The lacuna is now being filled.