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CAS Volunteers at Toybank's 14th Anniversary Celebrations

Toybank is a non-governmental organization that works towards child development through play. They believe that it is easier to build a strong child than repair a broken man.

On August 18th I had the opportunity of visiting Gilderlane Municipal school to celebrate Toybank’s 14th Anniversary. During my visit, I had the opportunity to interact with students of grade 5 and engage in several activities with them. The experience was enriching and gave me an insight of my privileged life. I had the golden chance of meeting these kids and am very grateful for the same. We did several activities throughout the day from 7Up to Hula-Hoop Games.

Throughout the course of the day I realized how little can satisfy these children. In addition, I learnt how much discipline they possess. They give respect to everyone and that significantly impacted me. I was in awe of their discipline and courteous behavior to others. I was faced with several challenges like resolving arguments and the toy distribution drive. I have developed a greater respect for my teachers and now clearly understand what they face on a daily basis.

Through resolving the fights, I comprehended the importance of resolving arguments and how it holding grudges affects thinking patterns. I was witnessed to bullying and teasing, like one boy was being called a girl for liking the color purple. I decided to give most of the boys’ pink and purple colored papers and greens and blues to the girls. I was shocked to see their reactions. They resisted to use those papers. Finally, most of them agreed and we continued the activity.

I also understood the pain a teacher goes through when conducting art activities. I remember while distributing the papers, the students refused to accept the colors I gave them and lots of convincing and taking a firm stand, I was finally able to convince them to use those papers only.

The experience helped my personality grow and taught me to accept things the way they are. I was able to further improve my elocution skills and collaboration skills. I also had the golden opportunity to strengthen my Hindi and understand the importance of a guiding soul in your life.

While interacting with the students, I noticed several things about students, they have not been given the proper guidance/help to administer their ambitions. There were students with exceptional abilities at drawing but they have been instilled with this perception of becoming doctors because their parents want that. During the art activities, I talked to several of the students and they have very big ambitions like becoming police officers. I was impressed to notice how updated they were with the news. 

They were well aware of their behavior and school’s reputation when doing things. They had developed a sense of belongingness for their institutions’ and that urged me to feel the same. I realized how little we care of the finer things in life. I was shocked to realize how much collaboration can affect your thinking. While working with Utsav, Tirth, Juhi and Annaya I was shocked to see Utsav’s enthusiasm and noted how significantly collaboration can affect the behavior of people. By working in teams, I was able to communicate more efficiently and was able to understand the different levels of each individual’s perception about community service.

The trip was exciting and was a celebration of both Toybank’s 14th Anniversary and our first time with the non-governmental organization. The trip taught me several things and at the same time helped me give back to those who do not have the finest luxuries of life. The trip has allowed me to comprehend the importance of education and play. I have had a fun-filled experience and hope to do more activities that affect me positively.

And here are some more testimonials:

Juhi Doshi - Grade 11 IBDP
“My experience at Toybank’s 14th Anniversary was life changing. It was my first hands on experience with the children at school and it surprised me how easily they could be made happy. They relished the games we played with them. We even came up with new ideas to add to the games to make them more interesting for the children. We worked on the art project with them and saw each one of their creations. I think through this experience I really put into perspective the kinds of lives that these children lead and how different they all are from each other and how similar they are to us. We were shown a video at the end of the event which spelled out the message “Children see. Children do.” I think I really understood this message through the time I spent there. I realised just how impressionable their minds at that age. My experience taught me that the children replicate the behaviour and attitude of those around them. Overall my experience was brilliant. In my opinion I learnt more from them than they did from me. I am looking forward to working with this organisation in the near future.”

Anaaya Hegde – Grade 11 IBDP
“Toybank's 14th birthday celebration was a lot of fun for both, us as well as the students of Gilderplane Municipal school in Mumbai. Being a part of this celebration was an honour for me. The event was organised extremely well by Toybank, as everything had been planned out in such a way that there was no room for any sort of confusion. When we reached the venue, they gave each person a sticker indicating which class we would be going to. They briefed us on what activities to play with the children. As soon as I entered the classroom, I could feel the excitement of the children, they were eager to play the games that we had picked for them. We played games that did not require materials, which the organisers of Toybank had explained to us how to play. The children were very competitive and all of them wanted to come first, which in my opinion, is a positive thing if carried out correctly. All the students were extremely happy and grateful that we were playing with them. However, there were some negative situations which we had to face. Firstly, when we decided to make groups in order to carry out the games more efficiently, the boys said that they didn’t want to play with the girls and this was a pattern I observed the rest of our time there. Another problem we faced was bullying. While we played the games, there was a group of 4 boys who were making fun of and intimidating another boy. The 4 boys complained that he was cheating and that he should be removed from the game. Seeing this, I moved the boy to stand next to me away from the other 4 boys. 

At the end of our time at Toybank, we were given a huge box that was filled with many gifts wrapped in a bright yellow wrapping paper (yellow being Toybank's colour). We were meant to distribute these gifts to the students of that class. The gifts had simple board games or stuffed toys, but they seemed to make the students extremely happy, which is the main goal of Toybank, to give underprivileged children toys and games by letting them play in order for them to have a better childhood. Going to Toybank was a great experience and helped me see the significance of giving these children something to play with, in order to give them a better childhood and make them retain some of their innocence.”


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