Poor Economics is about what the lives and choices of the poor tell us about how to fight...
Started in a small restaurant in Mumbai, Toybank aims to provide toys to under privileged children
Toys are synonymous with childhood. They give children a reason to smile and to express themselves as well as to learn. Poverty pushes children into child labour and denies them their right to education. Learning from toys is a distant dream as they can’t even think of possessing a toy. It is to give every child a right to play with toys that Toybank, an NGO based in Mumbai, was founded by Shweta Chari, a graduate engineering student. It aims to give children a healthy and happy childhood.
Ms Chari, who actively volunteered with many NGOs before starting Toybank, says, “NGOs give importance to issues like food, clothes, books or education, when they think of children. Nobody talks about toys and their importance in the growing years of a child. I noticed kids from financially deprived families playing with tyres, bottles, etc. I wanted to do something to give some joy to them.”
In 2004, Ms Chari with the help of her friends started what was a successful campaign to collect toys for under-privileged children. On Children’s Day, 14th November in that year 2004, Toybank organised its first distribution programme for needy children. “I realised that so many children don’t have any toys to play with. It was then I thought that this can’t be an ad-hoc activity and needs to be done on a regular basis,” says Ms Chari, who later took up a corporate job while continuing the collection drives.
Word spread and Toybank extended to four other cities, namely, Bengaluru, Pune, Delhi and Hyderabad, collecting and distributing toys to under-privileged kids. In 2009, Toybank was registered as a trust with the charity commissioner. Ms Chari quit her job to dedicate herself wholeheartedly to Toybank. The team grew and its work-base broadened.
Currently, it collects toys by conducting talks in elite schools. “We do a 20-minute sensitisation talk to make students understand their own lifestyle and that of children on the streets. Our aim is to sensitise these kids to become toy donors. But we don’t use pictures of under-privileged children in our presentation,” she explains. Similar sensitisation talks are conducted in colleges and corporate offices.
Toybank has collection centres across Mumbai comprising individual volunteers. Every month, toys from these centres are collected and brought to a godown where they are segregated. Many toys are recycled. Soft toys are washed, dry-cleaned and sterilised. These toys are then gift-wrapped and sorted according to age groups. However, Toybank follows a strict protocol on the kinds of toys it collects. Toys promoting violence (like guns, swords) or gender discrimination (like Barbie dolls) are not accepted.
Toys are distributed twice a week. For this, Toybank collaborates with other NGOs especially those that work on providing access to healthcare and education for children either through the formal school system or on their own. “We can’t give a toy to a hungry child and say we are solving his/her problem,”
Ms Chari adds. If they meet its criteria, Toybank sets up play centres at those locations. Toybank, through its volunteers, monitors the impact of its work. They regularly interact with the NGOs; and play with the children to understand their growth. However, it does not distribute the toys to street kids directly. “We find that this will encourage them to stay on the streets,” she says. Toybank has also created toy libraries in government schools where students can play more formal board games.
Until now, Toybank has reached around 35,000 children. It has a presence in five cities and also in Bhutan. However, raising funds and getting volunteers on a consistent basis are some of its challenges.
One can volunteer for Toybank’s activities, donate toys and can also make financial donations. All donations are eligible for tax exemption under Section 80G of the Income-Tax Act.
Toybank-2, Indira CHS,
Shivaji Park, Dadar (West),
Email: [email protected]
Look out for 5,300 on the Nifty for further direction
Positive global cues helped the market close the holiday-shortened week in the positive and in the green for the second week in a row. However, the gains were restricted as manufacturing as well as services growth in March showed a marginal decline, a signal that the Indian economy continues to face pressures. The fourth quarter results of the just-concluded fiscal, which will start coming in, will be the next big trigger for the market.
Select buying amid intense choppiness on Monday enabled the market extend its gains from the previous week. A strong close in the US on Monday and strong opening in Asia saw a positive opening in Nifty and Sensex on Tuesday, which also supported a green closing for the third day. The market snapped its three-day winning streak and closed lower on the last day of the holiday-shortened week on profit booking and weak global cues.
The Sensex closed 82 points (0.47%) higher at 17,486 and the Nifty added 27 points (0.52%) to close the week at 5,323. It can be seen that the current upmove, which began on 30 March 2012, has lost its strength. The market may see struggled gains ahead. Look out for the Nifty crossing 5,300 for further direction.
BSE Consumer Durables (up 6%) and BSE Capital Goods (up 3%) were the top sectoral gainers in the week, while BSE Healthcare and BSE Auto (down 1% each) were the losers.
Among Sensex stocks, BHEL (up 6%), State Bank of India, NTPC, Larsen & Toubro and Hindalco Industries (up 3% each) were the key performers. Jindal Steel & Power (down 4%), Bajaj Auto, Hindustan Unilever (down 3% each), Maruti Suzuki and Hero MotoCorp (down 2% each) settled lower on the index.
The top gainers on the Nifty were Cairn India (up 7%), BHEL (up 6%), HCL Technologies, Jaiprakash Associates (up 5% each) and SAIL (up 4%). The trailing stocks on the index were Jindal Steel & Power (down 4%), Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Bajaj Auto, HUL and Maruti Suzuki (down 3% each).
India’s manufacturing sector witnessed the third consecutive month of decline in March as output and new order growth weakened amid power cuts leading to capacity constraints. The HSBC India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)—a measure of factory production—stood at 54.7 in March, down from 56.6 in February. In January, the PMI stood at 57.5.
This apart, the seasonally-adjusted HSBC Services Business Activity Index posted 52.3 in March, down from 56.5 in February. In January, it stood at 58. The HSBC survey further said that confidence sunk sharply since February, largely as “concerns over the latest budget announcement weighed on sentiment.”
Bullion traders and jewellers on Friday called off their 21-day nationwide strike after meeting United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee who assured them that their demand for roll-back of excise duty on unbranded jewellery would be considered. Traders are estimated to have lost Rs20,000 crore due to the strike which began on 17th March after presentation of the Budget on the previous day.
India’s exports grew by an annual 4.2% in February, the slowest in three months, to $24.6 billion. In a sharp contrast, imports grew at a faster rate of 20.6% year-on-year to $39.7 billion in February, leaving a trade deficit of $15.1 billion. Trade gap for the 11-month period stood at $166.7 billion, widening the country’s current account deficit (CAD). The country may miss the target of $300 billion for 2011-12 in the wake of difficult global environment.
In international news, the tough US sanctions on Iran is expected to see a rise in global crude prices, energy experts opined. While the sanctions are led to a decline of 300,000 barrels per day in exports to Iran, experts believe it will add around $10 per barrel of crude.
Meanwhile, the Bank of England left its monetary policy on hold on Thursday, on signs that the economy is gradually on the path towards growth.