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Why Are Toys So Special To Children In Poverty?

From water bottles to shoes, the kids we work alongside are creative and innovative when it comes to finding toys.

Different Path toys

Can you remember your favourite childhood toy? That treasured teddy that you carried everywhere, or Lego creation that kept you entertained for hours?

There’s something precious about the companionship and stimulation toys offer kids. Something that defies cultural differences. But sadly children in poverty often don’t have access to age-appropriate toys at home.

Toys are luxury items and they often play with whatever they get their hands on. And sometimes for parents, creating an environment of play is the least of their priorities as they battle to provide food and shelter.

Enjoy this special glimpse into the fascinating world of toys in the lives of children living in poverty. And discover how you can give even more kids the opportunity to survive, thrive and play!

When a toy is a friend

toys in poverty

Kenyan girls holding dolls

Toy penguin girl in Togo

Beatrice was abandoned by her mum when she was two years old. Her grandma courageously stepped in to become her carer, but limited finances meant she struggled to put food on the table. When Beatrice began to suffer from malnutrition, Compassion came alongside the family. Now Beatrice receives regular health checks and nutritional support. She was even provided with a new toy: her beloved stuffed penguin.

When it provides them with the transport to adventure!

girl playing outside in Togo

smiling baby in walker Uganda

children in Kenya playing on a bike

Compassion UK is ensuring children born into poverty have access to toys and playgrounds where they can learn social and motor skills.

Help vulnerable mothers and babies in Togo, by supporting Compassion UK’s Different Path Appeal. Give before 24 June 2019 and your donation will be doubled by the UK government.

Help us save the lives of vulnerable mothers and babies in Togo

Help us save the lives of vulnerable mothers and babies in Togo


When it's the first toy he ever laid eyes on

teddy bear poverty

When Kevin was seven months old his parents, Elizabeth and David, found out he was blind from congenital cataracts. After enrolling him in Compassion’s Child Survival project, Kevin got the vital surgery to reverse his condition. And at 15 months old, he opened his eyes and experienced the world for the first time. When David waved this teddy bear in front of his face, Kevin came to life. He smiled, chuckled and drooled as he leaned forward to grab his very first toy.

When they made it with their own two hands

homemade football africa

homemade doll Uganda

homemade ball Rwanda

The fact that Impano is alive to make her own rubber ball is incredible. This creative two-year-old has a remarkable story. She was abandoned when she was only hours old and discovered in a bush, covered in ants.

“When I saw [Impano] my motherly instincts just kicked in. I tried my best to wipe off the ants from her body, although they were biting her. I could see she was a newborn – she was a few hours old – because the piece of umbilical cord attached to her belly was still fresh. I wrapped her in the kitenge to warm her up after spending so many hours in the cold, and then I ran with her to the health centre,” recalls her adoptive mum Geraldine.

“When Impano was two months old she was registered into the Compassion Child Survival project, which is something I’m still so grateful to God for. The project began giving us milk and food to supplement the breastmilk and they still do it to this day. This has kept Impano healthy and you can see that she is growing.”

When it's a tool for holistic child development

child survival play room

compassion toy library

Children in poverty often have limited access to toys so it’s common to see spaces like this at our Child Survival projects. Mums and their babies get to come and learn how to bond with each other over play. Little ones get to learn social and motor skills with age-appropriate toys as they grow. Some projects even have Toy Libraries where kids have structured playtime and can try out new toys.

You can support Compassion’s work with vulnerable mums and babies through A Different Path Appeal. Give before 24 June 2019 and your donation will be doubled by the UK government.

Pre-loved toys can be just as special the second time around

boys playing with a truck

Playing with toys Ghana

Emmanuella’s mother Comfort saved up so she could purchase second-hand, age-appropriate toys to help her baby girl develop through play.

When it helps them dream of adventures beyond their circumstances

family playing with toy

Rwandan toddler playing with toy

Play is so important in helping mums and their babies to bond. You can help Compassion UK to provide babies and toddlers with safe spaces to play, grow, belong and dream.

Save the lives of vulnerable mothers and babies in Togo by supporting Compassion UK’s Different Path Appeal. Give before 24 June 2019 and your donation will be doubled by the UK government. We will be able to support even more mothers and babies.

Donations made to Compassion UK’s Different Path appeal will be used to help mothers and babies in Togo access life-saving support. This includes; health screenings, medical advice, hygiene supplies, nutritional supplements and education that will help secure a healthy future for them and their families.

Donate today


WORDS : Compassion UK, Compassion Field Communications Specialists

PHOTOS : Compassion UK

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