The Toy Movement, a philanthropic initiative founded by Canada’s largest children’s toy and entertainment company Spin Master, on Tuesday distributed toys to Arab and Jewish children at four nursery schools in Jaffa, in partnership with the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.
The children, whose neighborhoods were recently the scene of inter-communal tension and violence, each received a toy from Spin Master’s Paw Patrol range, one of the world’s most popular toy brands.
Odette Levy, the mother of one Spin Master’s founders, was on hand alongside Efrat Duvdevani, Director General of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, to hand out the toys at Gan Konchia and Gan Galil, both on Aristo St., and Gan Tachelet and Gan Yam on Irit St. Levy, who spent part of her childhood in Jaffa, later helped to establish Spin Master in Canada and today spends much of her time back in Jaffa.
In the belief that all children deserve the right to play and to enjoy the feeling of fun, regardless of their background or religion, The Toy Movement resolved to do something positive and constructive for the children of Jaffa and their parents, who in recent weeks have seen their neighborhoods at the center of acute tension and violence between Arab and Jewish residents.
The Toy Movement decided to donate the toys and to partner with the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in distributing them. The Toy Movement intends to expand this collaboration, turning the toy distribution into an annual event. The Peres Center is based in Jaffa and has been working on fostering positive relations between diverse communities in Israel and beyond for more than two decades.
Odette Levy, who was part of Spin Master for many years said: “Jaffa is a unique and wonderful place, close to my heart. It was heartbreaking to see the fabric of this community under threat. Ultimately, Jewish children, Arab children and children of every nationality want the same things – to play with each other, to have fun together and to smile. I hope that this small contribution will enable the children of Jaffa to do exactly that. It also serves as a reminder to parents and the wider communities who live side by side in Jaffa, that we have much more in common than divides us.”
Efrat Duvdevani, Director General of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation said: “We are extremely grateful for Odette’s vision and for this donation. It has put a smile on the faces of so many children, who have lived through an extremely difficult period. Ultimately, harnessing peace and harmony can only happen when people from diverse backgrounds understand the commonalities between them. There is nothing more basic than the delight that we all share when children smile, play and are happy together. Odette’s initiative has brought this to life and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”
The Toy Movement prides itself on community engagement and for bringing joy to children in times of conflict and difficulty. In 2014, The Toy Movement shipped thousands of toys to children in Israel and Gaza during conflict in the region. The initiative has also previously donated toys to underprivileged Bedouin and Druze communities in Israel. Further afield, The Toy Movement shipped toys to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and has also donated toys in Jordan, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa, Nicaragua, Iraq, Canada, Uganda, Colombia, Kenya and Lebanon.