World Vision's newest Goodwill Ambassador Tom Phillips shines a light on the world's displaced children this Christmas
Collingwood Football Club player and World Vision Goodwill Ambassador, Tom Phillips will today meet students from St Bernard’s Primary School in Melbourne, to share with them his recent trip to Rwanda and show lost toys from around the world.
Similar toys to these, found in regions supported by World Vision, form part of The Lost Toy Store, an artist-designed pop-up installation at Melbourne Central shopping centre from December 10-23.
The Lost Toy Store will tell the story of the toys left behind by children forced to flee their homes, shining a light on the plight of the world’s 30 million displaced children.
St Bernard’s Primary School students will have the chance to view some of the toys recovered from emergency response zones, hear from Tom about his recent trip with World Vision to Rwanda, and write messages of hope to displaced children who have lost everything. Tom is encouraging families and children who visit The Lost Toy Store this Christmas to do the same.
“One of things that struck me when I visited Rwanda with World Vision, was that children were playing with everyday items they had fashioned into toys, like makeshift soccer balls. I also heard their stories of toys they had left behind or had lost. It was heartbreaking, but at the same time, hopeful, and reinforced the importance of play to children, their security, and wellbeing.
“Visiting The Lost Toy Store this Christmas will provide an insight into what these children have lost – and the toys are only the tip of the iceberg.”
World Vision spokesperson, Head of Brand, Product & Creative, Zane Kuramoto, who accompanied Tom on his Rwandan trip, says toys provide children with comfort and security, even in the most desperate situations.
“Every year, hundreds of thousands of children around the world are displaced – by conflict, political upheaval, famine, flood or other natural disasters,” Mr Kuramoto said. “And when they flee – or their homes are destroyed – their most treasured possessions are often lost or left behind, including their favourite toys and teddies.
“It is very upsetting for children to lose their closest toy ‘friends’. However, this Christmas, many children in countries experiencing upheaval or living in refugee camps risk losing much more than toys.
“They’re at risk of losing their safety, security, and their right to an education. They risk becoming child brides, losing their childhoods, and at worst, they risk losing their lives.
“We hope people will take time out from their Christmas shopping this year, to visit The Lost Toy Store and reflect on what Christmas really means and how we can help, and pass this message of generosity on to our children and families.”
The worldwide refugee crisis continues to escalate, with more than 68 million refugees and displaced people. Half of all refugees are children.
Families are encouraged to visit The Lost Toy Store between 10 to 23 December to discover the stories behind the lost toys and write a message of hope to children who have lost everything.
Messages will be displayed as part of the exhibit, then sent to children affected by conflict and disaster in World Vision-supported communities.
Details: The Lost Toy Store will be located under the clock at Melbourne Central from December 10-23.
Visitors are encouraged to share photos and selfies with the installation on social media with the hashtag #LostToyStore
For more information please contact Julia Ferracane: E: firstname.lastname@example.org M:0424180420
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