Imagine giving a toy to every underprivileged child on the continent. Not just any old thing, but a brand new toy of their choice. This is the dream of Danie van Loggerenberg, founder of Toys for Africa.
“Four years ago I had a marketing company and was making a lot of cash, but I wasn’t happy. I prayed about it and felt that I needed to start working with children. I wanted to make a difference to people who cannot repay you; children appreciate everything.”
Toys for Africa actively go out and look for children at places such as schools, shelters and orphanages that look after and feed children. They then send the children a catalogue with 31 toys from which they get to make their own choice of a new toy. Once received, Danie and his team look for sponsorships to make it happen.
“We see toys in a broader light than most people. It needs to be anything that can assist in the mental, physical and emotional development of a child.”
While the catalogue does include puzzles, clay and even an abacus, something as simple and necessary as a toothbrush is also among the options. On average it takes a mere R8 to provide an underprivileged child with joy and development. Most sponsorships are in the region of R1000, so a little love really does go a long way — proven by the fact that Toys for Africa have handed out more than 79 900 new toys since the organisation started in 2010.
In order to attract the sponsors Danie has devised a shrewd plan. He has partnered with a few celebrity ambassadors who travel with him once a year when he personally hands out the gifts — six days, 32 stops and a different performance or message to every group. Some of these faces include Donnalee Roberts, Lloyd Cele, Matthew Booth, Heinz Winckler, Xola Ntshinga and Candice Boucher.
You don’t have to be a celebrity to help though.
“Too many eight to 12 year olds’ biggest concern is food and safety. That should not be a kid’s worry. Children should play and have fun. Pray for us, mention us to everyone, visit our page. Tell your friends and family to visit. Somewhere out there someone you know is in a position to assist.”
To read more stories like these visit www.youcanhelp.co.za
This is Danie’s story of help. If you would like to help: Danie van Loggerenberg
(t) 012 644 0116
(c) 082 303 7088