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orphans get involved in a unique toy competition
Taurai Maduna, Kubatana.net
April 13, 2006
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Dlamini from Pumula North in Bulawayo holds his "Marcopolo"
Mike Dlamini from Pumula North in Bulawayo carefully checks out
his "Marcopolo" bus to make sure that everything is in
order. Mike has been working on his bus for the past two weeks and
is ready to submit the wire toy in a competition that might earn
him an opportunity of a lifetime – a ride in a real plane!
Mike is one
of the many orphans that gathered in Pumula North to submit their
toys and dolls to Dennis Gaboury, an American resident currently
visiting Zimbabwe. The idea of encouraging children to create toys
came after Dennis met Patricia Tshabalala who works with a volunteer
counselling group in Mpopoma.
he that he’d noticed a lot of children in the townships moving around
with home made toys and thought that it would be a good idea to
organize a competition. "I thought it would be a lot of fun
for the kids whilst being productive," said Dennis. listen
to audio file
Gaboury admires a doll that has been made by one of the orphans
for the competition
well as having fun the children would also be able to raise funds
through the sale of the toys to help them with their living costs.
Dennis, the competition was open to orphans who lost their parents
through HIV/AIDS. The children were identified by various volunteer
organisations that are working with orphans in their respective
from Pumula North has been working with Dennis to make sure that
the children follow the strict rules of the competition. One of
the rules is that the children themselves must make all the toys
and dolls by hand. Sipho hopes that the project will be self-sustaining
in the future and will help the orphans by keeping them productive
and off the streets.
the toys are made out of local products, which include old shoe
polish and Vaseline tins. In an effort to keep the project running,
Dennis said he was keen to send photographs to companies and organisations
that have their products used by the children and ask them if they
might be interested in contributing funds for the children’s organisation.
to audio file
a look at our dolls! Girls show off their hand-made dolls.
competition turned out to be extremely popular with over 200 submissions.
Dennis said if he had let every child enter he would have had thousands
of entries making the judging very difficult.
The top four
winners will get to fly over their neighbourhood in a light aircraft.
This treat has been made possible courtesy of a colleague of Dennis.
However Dennis said all the children who submitted their toys are
going to receive a prize and will participate in the opening of
the exhibition at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.
coordination of this project might look easy, Dennis said it took
a lot of hard work but he does not regret the time he has spent
working with the various volunteer groups and children. "The
bottom line is about having fun and doing something productive,"
If you would
like more information about the toys being made by Bulawayo orphans,
kindly send email to Dennis Gaboury at firstname.lastname@example.org
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