A new social enterprise founded in Turkey aims to turn anything into a toy for disadvantaged children.
The Istanbul-based social enterprise Toyi was founded by Elif Atmaca and Ögeday Uçurum in 2017 and later partnered with ATÖLYE, an Istanbul-based transdisciplinary innovation platform, to create what it described as “a limitless creative play kit.”
The kit consists of wheels, feet, eyes, joints, sticks, flexible rings and junction parts. Kids older than six can transform any object around them into a toy of their own creation. A water bottle can turn into a rocket, an old box into a train compartment or a pine cone into a cute monster.
In the age of ultra-expensive toys, Toyi gives priority to the needs of disadvantaged children. There are no instructions or rules in Toyi kits, which support free play. The entire process is left to kids’ imagination.
“Especially in regions with many disadvantaged children, it is hard to send them the desired toys; so we thought we should make something that allows these children to transform the materials around them into toys,” Atmaca says.
Toyi kits are available on Kickstarter between Nov. 5 and Dec. 2. Play kits with the starting price of $25 can only be purchased during the campaign. With this campaign, Toyi aims to reach $20,000 in order to start mass production.
Through the operational partnership made with civil society organizations, a Toyi kit will be offered to disadvantaged children for every Toyi kit purchased during the campaign. Aiming to give 1,000 kits to children from different regions in the world, Toyi intends to be accessible for every child.
There are more than 1 million Syrian school-aged refugee children in Turkey, according to a Turkish Education Ministry statement released on Sept. 26.