The first batch of toys was delivered to an orphanage in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Image Credit: Pusha Karim

Dubai

A lot of times we buy toys for our children, but they play with it for a short period of time and then move on. My daughters, seven-year-old Fariza and five-year-old Zehra, wanted to do something about the unwanted toys, instead of throwing them away. They initiated a small-scale toy collection drive by asking family and friends to donate used toys for an orphanage in Bangladesh.

What started as a small venture turned into a massive project. Through word of mouth, the campaign gained so much momentum that within just a week we had a large number of children offering to donate their toys. Two weeks after the campaign was initiated, we were able to collect and take over 150 toys to Dhaka and deliver them to the 72 orphans at an orphanage called Maer Achol. The shelter also hosts classes for 150 street children.

According to the US-based market researchers NPD, the toy market in the US alone grew to $26 billion (Dh95.5 billion) in 2016. They also state that the global toy market exceeded $90 billion in sales in the same year. How many of those toys make their way into the landfills? With this thought in mind, even if these children donate a few of their toys, it could bring a smile to many faces.

Since the team is entirely composed of children and their time and effort are the primary source of the various initiatives, we chose to call them “Little Founders For Change”. Every child who that contributed now knows how little it takes to make a difference of such immense magnitude. It all starts with a big heart and a thoughtful gesture.

With over 200 toys still to be given away, the next mission is to do the same for an orphanage in Pakistan this month. Another toy collection drive will also be held in the US in June when we travel there for the summer.

Fariza and Zehra hope to continue this work throughout the year and with the help of their friends, they want to continue collecting more and more toys. We will help them ship these boxes to different countries as and when needed.

The intent behind this project is to raise awareness that even young children of any age can make a big difference through simple acts of kindness. The idea is for other children to contribute to the team and to begin campaigns such as this, where such initiatives can have a more global impact.

As Gulf News actively participates in advocating for positive change, I hope readers will also follow suit and after reading this, will be willing to contribute their effort for this campaign initiated by two youngsters.

— The reader is a homemaker based in Dubai.

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