By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist
In the past six months or so, a spare cube at our International Office in Richmond, Va., became a giant toy box. One by one, box by box, toys were coming to us from all around the world. “We’re up to our eyeballs in toys,” was a common phrase heard on the fifth floor in our office. It was very true.
But these toys weren’t the latest Elmo or Nintendo Wii accessory or Barbie dolls – these were toys handcrafted by children around the world in the areas ChildFund International works. These toys were soccer balls made out of rubber bands and trash bags; dolls made out of banana bark; toy boats made out of old shoes. These toys were made out of what some people consider trash, but these children created a treasure.
Now these toys will be shown in many cities throughout the United States in the next year in an exhibit called “The Power to Play – from Trash to Treasure.” Currently an exhibit is at the Boston Children’s Museum – if you’re in that area you better hurry as the exhibit’s last day is Saturday, Aug. 1.
A “Power to Play” exhibit is also currently on display at the Page Bond Gallery in Richmond, Va., through Aug. 21. Since we’re headquartered in Richmond, we wanted to kickoff the exhibit in our backyard.
The collection of more than 350 toys shows real imagination and creativity for using locally available materials that were often scrap or discarded by others. Some of the toys are unique to their place of origin; some tell the story of the social, economic and political conditions in which children find themselves; others are as universal as the soccer balls and kites that children across three continents have made using exactly the same techniques.
“We are sharing this toy collection as a visible demonstration of how the power to play helps children thrive and become leaders of enduring change in their communities and the world,” says ChildFund International President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard.
Coming Monday: The toy exhibit travels to Washington, D.C., and the National Press Club. We’ll take a closer at that event.