By Nada Ismail
“For all of us busy bees who have no time to do some soul feeding, this is a chance to be part of something great with minimal effort. All you have to do is make a few phone calls to aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbours, sisters and brothers; and if they have kids or know of kids who know kids, then ask them to donate their used and unwanted toys.
“It’s that simple! This is a simple way for you to do something great for a lot of needy children and a small toy [even just one] that you might throw away or disregard can seriously make their day.”
This is how Marwa Fayed described the Cairo’s Toy Run for Orphanages initiative she created in 2010. The simple idea grew into a means of bringing happiness to hundreds of kids and when she shared her experience with her family and friends, her initiative generated thousands of followers. Unfortunately, she did not get the chance to see her dream grow to this extent after she passed away last June.
Fayed’s family and friends decided to keep her dream alive and carry on her legacy; in her honour they renamed the initiative Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run.
“Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run was the perfect way close family, friends and I could honour Marwa’s beautiful spirit and dedication to improving the lives of children around the world,” said Fayed’s husband Omar Samra, who is famous for being the first Egyptian to climb Mount Everest.
Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run is not an Egypt-only initiative; donations are gathered from all over the world. Toys are collected from Egypt, UAE, Kuwait, Jordan, Denmark, US, Canada, China, France and many other countries. The toys are later shipped to the country designated for distribution. Toys have been given out in several countries, including Egypt, Somalia, Jordan, Qatar, UAE, KSA, and the UK. The toys are not only given to orphanages but also shared with children in remote and underprivileged areas, , hospitals and NGOs, and only after they have been carefully and beautifully wrapped.
“We hope, over the coming years, to touch more children’s lives in more countries and, more importantly, go deeper into the countries we already cover to reach the extremely underprivileged and often forgotten communities. The right toy given to the right child can make all the difference and mean more than food and shelter to those pure souls,” Samra said.
With the ever-growing expansion of the initiative in Egypt and different countries, the group is always looking for more donations and volunteers to help wrap and distribute the toys. The next Toy Wrapping Day in Egypt will take place on Saturday, 4 January. The toys will be sorted according to age groups and gender, and then wrapped beautifully. It is an all hands on deck event and many hands are needed; volunteers are invited to come and help sort the toys and transform them into beautiful presents.
So, search your closets and your dusty cupboards, and call your family and friends. Gather as many toys as you can and check the Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts of Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run and join a fun day of wrapping toys for kids that are often deprived of the basic things that constitute a happy childhood.