Plea to Islington children: Give a toy to an orphan

Children at the ASTHA orphanage in Koraput, Orissa, playing with toys bought locally

Children at the ASTHA orphanage in Koraput, Orissa, playing with toys bought locally - Credit: Archant

Children are being asked to consider donating one of their toys to orphans in India.

Children at the ASTHA orphanage in Koraput, Orissa, playing with toys bought locally

Children at the ASTHA orphanage in Koraput, Orissa, playing with toys bought locally - Credit: Archant

Annie Heslop, an Islington photographer and charity worker, plans to deliver their gifts at the end of the month.

The orphanage, Astha, started 20 years ago but was recently taken over by Sova (South Orissa Voluntary Action), a small charity operating in the tribal region of Koraput, Orissa.

It asked Annie, who has fundraised for it for 11 years, to help out.

She decided to collect toys for the orphanage after visiting the children in January.

Annie Heslop with local school children in Koraput, Orissa.

Annie Heslop with local school children in Koraput, Orissa. - Credit: Archant

“I could see that their basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and education were being met,” she said. “But it seemed that the previous management had been very strict and the children weren’t encouraged to play – I couldn’t see any toys at all.”

Locally, very few toys were available – just a few wind-up plastic ones.

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“I decided to raise funds to build a room for play ajoining the new orphanage, and to fill it with educational toys,” she said.

Construction of the room will begin in January.

She is appealing all parents in Islington to encourage their children to give one of their toys to a more needy child in India.

The donations, she says, can be anything from basic books to help the children aged two to 10 learn their ABC in English, to counting games, and dexterity toys involving shapes and blocks.

British Airways have agreed to transport the toys for free.

Photographs of the children receiving the toys will be available on Annie’s return in January.

If you would like to donate toys or sponsor a child please contact Annie on 07956 549099. You can find out more at anneheslop.co.uk and sovakoraput.org

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