Parents inspire children to be compassionate this Christmas

Australian children are thinking outside their own worlds this Christmas and tying their messages of hope for refugee children onto a wall full of donated fluffy toys at World Vision Australia’s Lost Toy Store art installation.

More than 1750 children have already left hand-written notes of support after visiting the pop-up art installation, which opened in Melbourne last week.

Humanitarian organisation World Vision, collected more than 1800 toys, including toys left behind by refugee children, for the symbolic exhibit.

The Lost Toy Store is raising awareness about the plight of children who have fled violence and disasters this year. Many had to run for the lives and lost their treasured toys along the way,” says artist Emma Davies.

“As a mother of two children, I think it’s so important that kids learn about this. The response of Australian children to this issue blows me away. They are so touched that they have not only donated more than 1800 toys, but we’ve also been inundated with kind messages which we will send to children in refugee camps.”

Some of the messages children have left include:

“Don’t lose hope, you are amazing.”

“Believe and have courage that the world will be yours.”

“Don’t lose hope!!! Always have faith :)”

One visitor to the installation referenced the World Vision Australia-initiated Kids Off Nauru campaign, which launched in August and called on Australian politicians to evacuate the trapped refugee children and their families from their island prison by November 20, Universal Children’s Day.

“Thanks World Vision for helping #KidsOffNauru. No child should have to live like that,” the message read.

The children on Nauru were 119 of the 68 million displaced people worldwide. About 30 million of children are refugees.

“What I love about this project is that it’s educational but it’s also helping to build a next generation of kind and compassionate children,” says World Vision Australia CEO Claire Rogers.

“It can be overwhelming to know how to even begin to teach children about the refugee crisis. Kids may not understand why wars and poverty exist, but they understand the connection that children have with their toys. We’re teaching kids about the refugee crisis in a positive way that shows even they can help by offering a small act of kindness.”

The Lost Toy Store features follows the journeys of three toys recovered from World Vision’s emergency responses: a homemade car from the camps of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh; a blue teddy belonging to a Syrian refugee and a punctured soccer ball from the city of Kananga, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Project details:

The Lost Toy Store will be located under the clock at Melbourne Central until, Sun. December 23.

Visitors are encouraged to share photos with the installation on social media with the hashtag #LostToyStore

Available for interview: 
Artist Emma Davies
World Vision CEO Claire Rogers

For more information please contact Julia Ferracane:
0424 180 420

PICTURE: Little Scarlet one of thousands of children to see the World Vision Australia Lost Toy Store in Melbourne Central - encouraging Australians to consider the world's 30 million refugee children this Christmas. 

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