Caressing their little bodies, bony and sweaty, cuddling them was just like cuddling my own child. Once the cuddle exceeded three seconds, I could not help but weep.
(Bi Yan, Nepal 'Hape Love Ambassador')
Approximately a year after the earthquake disaster in Nepal on a spring afternoon, it was just the end of the dry season. There was dust everywhere and many locals worn face masks due to low visibility. On the way to Inka kindergarten to make a donation of Hape toys, we saw children playing in the ruins of their destroyed homes. Seeing strangers, they swarmed around and asked for sweeties.
Sponsored by Mrs. Inka Bause, German media celebrity, Inka kindergarten currently has 60 registered children aged from 1.5 to 5 years old. The majority of children are slum dwellers. Girls with white knotted headwear and uniformed children welcomed us in two tidy lines at the entrance. Each were holding a fresh picked azalea in different colors. They looked up to my eyes innocently, greeted namaste ('hello' in Nepali) to me one by one, while I bent over to receive their ceremonial khada. When I reached the middle of the line, my hand was already full of the small flowers and my eyes were filled with tears, without even knowing when that happened.
The donation ceremony was held on March 29th at the newly built auditorium in the kindergarten. As the children received our toys, they marveled at the gift they were given with delightful smiles shining on the faces. I caressed their little bodies, bony and sweaty. Many had not eaten well in over a year. Cuddling them was just like cuddling my own child, and once the cuddle exceeded three seconds, I could not help but weep.
The generosity really comes from our consumers in over 60 countries. With each purchase of one Hape 30th Anniversary Block Set, Hape promises to donate one toy. In this charity project crossing five countries, Hape plays only the role of the middleman, bridging consumers and the children in need. The task of the 'Hape Love Ambassador' is to ensure each donated toy ends up in the hands of a needy child in Nepal, Afghanistan, Syria, or Zimbabwe, and as well as autistic child in China. This Hape is doing as part of its initial mission 30 years ago: to inspire and care for the children worldwide.
30 on from its inception, Hape is much more than a toy manufacturing giant and is in fact a global brand with an advanced educational and ecological philosophy that serves as a platform to encourage generations to improve their lives.
Stepping into Hape's 30th anniversary, looking back at the past and looking into the future, we feel deeply that the larger the company is, the more we take our responsibilities seriously.
As a toy company, we wish the best for all children in the world. Our footsteps touch war zones, disaster areas, poverty-stricken regions and contribute toward the care of autistic children. We may not enter their inner-world, as neither can their parents, friends, outsiders or even toys. There is, however, one thing that can touch deep straight down to their hearts. This may not happen today or tomorrow, but one day, it will. It will reconnect something which has been disconnected from the world for whatever reason. And that thing - the thing that lies at the heart of Hape's existence - is love.
Since April, 2016, 700 toys have been donated to Child Friendly Space for Syrian children in Berlin, 300 toys for 4 kindergartens in Nepal and 2,182 toys for 20 rehabilitation centers for Chinese autistic children. In June, our ‘Hape Love Ambasaadors' will visit ECCD centres in Zimbabwe and donate toys there.
Join us for this thanksgiving journey and trace your donation on our website www.hape.com with the unique serial number printed on your blocks.
(Image right reserved for Hape International Ltd.)