by Carol Pajaron
Image from http://philippinetoylibrary.wordpress.com/
Sa umpisa pa lang, bahagi na ng Philippine Toy Library (PTL), an advocacy group that converts idle spaces in brangays, schools, parishes, and partner organizations into play areas, ang pamilya.
Sa kagustuhan ng isang barkada na tumulong sa kanilang community, naisip nilang mag-collect ng old toys and books they can share with underprivileged children sa barangay. One of them, Edsel Ramirez, first looked in his own household, enlisting the help of his wife, Jen and oldest daughter, Jessie.
For him, getting your family involved was important. “You have to be aligned—at least kilala nila what your passion is, they support the passion, and for PTL, they weren’t just cheerleaders but co-creators,” kwento niya. “They helped push the advocacy forward.”
Habang tumulong sa pagsulat ng mga stories from their experience si Jen, ginamit ng kanyang panganay, ang kanyang network to gather more toys. “She talked about it in college, made it part of her thesis,” dagdag ni Edsel.
Connect with your community
Nagulat si Edsel sa pagtanggap ng PTL sa kanilang unang area na tinulungan, ang Barangay Loyola Heights.
Binigyan sila ng space for free at sinagot ng local government ang mga gastos.
“At first, hesitant sila, they thought dagdag-trabaho at si (Barangay) Kap lang ang gung-ho,” he recalls. “Along the way they found it complementary, na sync ang PTL with the programs for the community.”
Lalong lumawak ang kanilang network matapos ang isang taon. “When we continued giving donors and friends updates about Barangay Loyola Heights, we received a lot of toys, at the same time, we also received calls and requests to set up toy libraries in their communities,” sabi ni Edsel. Kaya noong 2012, naging nationwide na ang PTL with 83 play sites para sa kabataan ng iba’t ibang barangay.
Kwento pa ni Edsel, hindi niya makakalimutan ang thank-you ng isang bata after getting toys na gusto pala niya pabili kay Mommy pero di nila ma-afford.
“Natural ang laro sa buhay ng isang bata. Punta kayo sa mall at bibili ng toy na naituro sa iyo ng iyong anak,” sabi ni Edsel. “But there’s also the reality that some children go home to play with a tin can with four wheels tied to it. Or they go home to a small space where they can’t play as much.”
Ito ang service ng PTL which more Pinoys can be a part of.
Contribute what you can
Para maging part ng PTL, you can donate, volunteer, o mag-set up ng sariling toy library, ayon kay Edsel.
“Since day one, we don’t want you to go to a toy store and buy—just go through the stash of toys in your home, and with the child’s consent, let go,” sabi niya. “So other kids can have the same experience with that toy.”
Bawal lang magbigay ng mga toy guns at iba pang violent na laruan but there are a variety of pre-loved playthings you and your kids can share, like books, musical instruments, transportation toys, imaginative play, board games, arts and craft, pati health items. Pwede ring magbigay ng cash at check donations si Mommy at Daddy para sa mga ibang gastusin para mag-setup ng toy library.
Edsel says you, too can get your kids involved. “Let’s make it an exercise for everyone, not just for parents to do the housecleaning and building that sense of generosity,” dagdag niya. “Go through that toy stash together and ask the kids.”
Mainam din na makilaro ang mga bata sa mismong toy library. “The entire generosity exercise is complete when they see the toy is played with by another child,” sabi niya. “Next step is giving them time to play.”
Paniwala nila sa PTL, sharing starts not just with the parents but the kids. “Hopefully we’re planting a better generation who will soldier this country forward,” sabi ni Edsel.
Para mag-donate, bisitahin ang mga drop-off points sa inyong barangay o sa PTL headquarters: 56 Esteban Abada Street sa Katipunan, Quezon City.
Pwede rin mag-volunteer para ma-assign sa mga toy libraries in your area, lalo na ang mga college students. Interested applicants can email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact +63 (915) 941-0995.
At kung gusto mo gumawa ng iyong sariling toy library, start your own collection from family, friends, and others in your network. For more information, download the application form.