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Devendra Shivlal Desai, Founder at Children Toy Foundation ( NGO )

Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the NGO?

Devendra Shivlal Desai : I wanted to play a game of checkers with my neighbor friend when I was 8. I could not find my board. My mom was making chapattis. I pulled her saree and cried to get me the game. She went down and bought me the game. I played. Enjoyed. That moment at that age was deeply rooted in my heart. I wanted to do something 'JARA HATKE'.While doing social work I came across Chacha Nehru Toy Library. Being chess buff was fascinated with different type of games using different skills like memory, strategy, creativity, logic etc.

Also noticed that since there were just one library enthusiast’s parents were to come from distant places just for one toy once a week.In surrounding area and near my office lot of street children were loitering doing nothing so thought of inviting them to the library and after building rapport with them and streamline them to join nearby schools. That time nobody was ready to put up an institute to work for toy/game library priojects. All above factors prompted me to create such play facilities wherever possible and created Children Toy Foundation, the institute through which I could take the idea further.

Great Companies: What are the various activities done by Children Toy Foundation ( NGO )

Devendra Shivlal Desai :

1)Establish/help to set up toy/game libraries: The Foundation helps those aspiring to set up toy/game library by guiding them from moment of conception to moment of delivery. To begin with, it advises on what to buy, where to buy and why to buy. We help them to acquire toys/games at concessional rates. Then we provide the necessary training to a core group of volunteers on how to run the library in professional fashion. Wherever/ whenever possible, we guide them in raising funds from individual philanthropists, charitable trusts, social organisations, etc. so that the library is in sound footing. Libraries can boast of multifarious variety. We helped put up libraries in orphanages, schools, NGOs, hospitals and even in jails and deserts.We want to see that libraries are not just renting libraries but like a play centre blooming with different activities like our Khelvigyan project described below. It can be a place of attraction also for visitors/tourists.

2)To Establish & run Static/Mobile Khelvigyan projects: Khelvigyan is our original Made in India project-an extension of toy library project and can scale up to all India level, also up to international fun & mind games event if all capitalists and other stakeholders support. As the name suggests play helps in holistic, scientific development of a child. Toys play a significant role in growth of a child right when he starts learning to walk with the help of a walker to when he starts thinking about all aspects/situations while playing a game like chess.The idea being based on the concept of ‘learns while you play’ we have added programmes to inculcate art and skill. This involves storytelling, puppetry, craft, drawing drama besides G.K.and curriculum-based games and activities.Centres operate in such a way that every class gets one hour of playtime twice a week. On sponsor’s choice, the number of visits is decided. The centre has well equipped library and trained teachers to impart necessary skill to the students. Each teacher is in charge of 8-10 students to look after the progress of the squad. In limited times of interactions with children we have achieved good results.

3)Revive old games and develop new ones: Like Bhule Bisre geet(songs), we revive old games and with our experience we device new games and new ideas. We have created games like Be 2nd to be 1st, based on our concept Guru Bina Gyan Nahin,perhaps it is the only game in the world where player who manages to remain second wins the game. Little Maths Master- a verbal maths game. Chess ‘O’ 64- with unique 64 playing card through which umpteen skilled games can be played. Musical Housie with a twist. Etc.

4)We also arrange Inter school, Inter College and family contests in fun & mind games.Children love nothing better than doing something on their own. There is nothing more fulfilling than moving forwards at one’s own initiative a drive. On the spot Games Contest is aimed at testing the skill, grasping power, instant judging and planning capacity of the young participants. The Contest, a distinguishing feature of the CHILDREN TOY FOUNDATION, has caught the imagination of people, both children and adults alike. The idea behind the contest is to generate the maximum amount of joy among the largest number of children (Which includes those who are children at heart). As an experiment, it has never failed to give a foretaste of the wonder world of toys/ games, which is normally beyond the reach of the middle and poor class of children. As the means to an end, the contest has invariably proved to be the forerunner of a fresh string of libraries / play centres which people were provoked to set up following the whetting of appetite at the contest. The games to be played are not declared in advance. They are announced just half- an- hour before the contest begins. The Element of secrecy and surprise adds flavor to the proceedings, making the actual contest a delight to watch. And the effort has always proved to be more than worth if, both in terms of intellectual delight and competitive laurels. The CONTEST provides access to a variety of games, involving children physically as well as mentally. Educational games that teach alphabets and word – building, numbers find shapes and colors, engineering skills and perceptive power, creative game that promote artistic and mechanical skills, strategy games that enhance logical and analytical powers, and help develop concentration and memory; puzzles that have the power of observation, strengthen one’s determination and boost one’s confidence the rang is unlimited and the satisfaction derived has no ceiling. Alongside, the contest has a fun games corner worked out on two principles: - one what is sauce for the goose need not be sauce for the gander, two, there is more to play than an intellectual bent of mind.We have won International acclaim on our above concept of International Olympics in fun & mind games. We feature in Limca Book of Records for our unique feat. We have got many such awards and certificates.

5)We donate few games and toys to slums and street children from time to time.

6)Now we do online activities like Kraft, stories, puppetry, game designing etc with children. All our programmes are based on our vision No child should be deprived of toys, childhood pleasure and learning tool. Motto Play together, Stay together.