It’s not often a toy brings me to tears. Occasionally I’ll shed some H2O because of a price tag or weep when I see a doll’s perky boobs and incredibly unbelievable nipped waist. But a strong emotional connection with a plaything. Never! Until today.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of TrashCanKidz, a toy company with a social conscience and purpose. Sean Roelofsz, creator and the man behind these adorable little dolls, has given a voice to the voiceless – to the thousands and millions of orphaned, vulnerable and street children of the world. Homeless boys and girls who, for one reason or another, the world has ‘forgotten.’
Most of us sat teary-eyed as Sean asked us to imagine a four or five year old living on the streets alone. As a mom of two ‘lost children’ I tried to imagine how Emma would take care of herself. How would she stay warm? Who would take care of her if she was sick? Who would cuddle her at night just before bedtime?
The truth is Emma and Ben were lost children. Unwanted and for a short time, unloved, they were invisible to people around them. Until we found each other.
I can wax lyrical about the dolls, about how you have to buy one, about the awesome man behind them, the worthy cause, the need to help, the difference we need to be and the change we want our children to be, but let me put it this way:
there are 100 000 000 street children in the world
there are more than 150 000 000 orphans
in just one day, 45 000 more children will become orphans
a child becomes an AIDS orphan every 15 seconds
a child dies from hunger every 5 seconds
every hour, 115 children enter the world of prostitution
EVERY CHILD COUNTS.
If you’re still not convinced, why not try this as you tuck your baby or babies into bed at night. Imagine them cold, hungry and alone in the dark. There is no mom or dad to make sure they’ve eaten or had a nice warm bath. Nobody cares whether they will have sweet dreams or wake up scared in the night. And chances are they will.
In the morning their first thought isn’t of pretty dresses, cool shoes and pink bows in hair. Their first thought is how they’re going get through another day, what they’ll have to do for a little bit of food, who are they going to have to ‘please’ to get R5? Their reality is what we try and protect our children from every day.
Try and imagine your little boy or girl been led off into an alley or field by an adult, with promises of food and clothes and a place to stay. Imagine that adult doing to your child whatever they want because there is no-one to help, no-one to care.
When you drop your little one off at school today think about the millions of children who will never get the opportunity to learn to read or write. They will never experience play time with friends because they’re trying to survive in a world that is a lonely place. They are experiencing things at the age of five and six that none of us will ever have to go through.
So tonight or tomorrow as you look at your baby with all the love in the world try and imagine what it must feel like for a little girl or boy to never have been looked at like that. To never have been loved like that. Think of the invisible children lost out there…
TrashCanKidz invites you to adopt an adorable TrashCanKidz. These dolls represent the homeless children of our world – and for every one of the dolls adopted, 20% is donated to an organisation or initiative supporting children in need.
You too can make a difference and become ‘Playmanitarians’. Order your doll online anywhere in the world and spread the love.
There is an iPad game already available, with more to come as well as card games and interactive books – so that kids can get involved in the adventures of their TrashCanKidz. And for everything sold, a contribution is made to the charities and organisations TrashCanKidz is working with.