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A toy bank that runs like clockwork

Vidyun Goel, director, Toy Bank, with children at a function in which Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi inaugurated a central collection centre for used toys in New Delhi on Friday.— Photo: V. Sudershan  

It recycles old playthings and supplies them to poor children

Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Sid Phillips get a new life here. The Toy Bank takes them and other battered and bruised toys for recycling. They then go to homes of underprivileged children.

The bank, a non-governmental organisation of Vidyun Goel, has been collecting toys from donors, corporates and schools and recycling them for 15 years now — a feat that has won it thousands of smiles.

On Friday, the NGO launched a central Toy Bank at Bengali Market to receive toys from its small collection centres across the city and hand them over to children after recycling.

“My father started the bank almost 15 years ago when he was working on his anti-lottery campaign. While visiting various slums, he came across children deprived of their childhood. This inspired him to do something for them and he started giving out old toys to underprivileged children,” said Vidyun, daughter of Vijay Goel, BJP MP.

“We have catered to almost five lakh children so far,” she said. Asked why she chose toys as a medium to reach out to underprivileged children, she said: “Toys, apart from being a source of entertainment, promote healthy behaviour among children and help them develop socially, improve their emotional well-being and can also help in developing their language skills.”

“We often collect toys through collection drives in private schools and corporate houses. After collection, the toys are recycled and then sorted for distribution,” she said.

The toys are distributed systematically according to the age group and mental make-up of the children. For example, a building block or a board game will not be given to an autistic child; instead, the team will give a light-and-sound toy to such a child.

“Every child has a special need and a different mental make-up; we keep all these things in mind before distributing toys to the children,” Vidyun said.

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