Every time you buy a B. toy 10¢ get set aside to help children on the other side of the world who, by the mere stroke of fate, are less fortunate than our own. When you hold a dime in your hand it seems oh so small. So inconsequential. How can that little coin make a difference?
It does. It makes a BIG difference. Those dimes add up. They go to Free The Children to build schools, and water wells, and clinics, and alternative income programs. The four pillars of this holistic Adopt a Village model (Water—Health—Education—Alternative Income) are what sets Free The Children apart from many other organizations who help in only one of those areas. Building a healthy community through the Adopt a Village model is like building the framework of a house. Each pillar provides crucial support, without which the whole thing would eventually crumble. The Adopt a Village four pillars for community development are all based on the idea that no problem and no solution stands alone.
I have seen the work of Free The Children with my own eyes. Taken my kids to Kenya to mix cement and carry bricks with our own hands. Watched my 14 year old daughter carry a 40 pound jerrycan of water on her own back. I can vouch for these dimes personally. In a deeply heart-felt and committed way. Truly committed. So committed that now, after these two years of working with Free The Children through B., and after my own personal travels, I sit proudly on the USA board of directors of Free The Children. (Oh, the many places these toys have taken me…)
I hope that every time you play with a B. toy you will remember that you sit there with me. Every one of you who has chosen to support this quirky toy brand with the kraft paper packaging and the earthy colors and the big heart.
We whole-heartedly live by the words of 18th century cleric Sydney Smith: "It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little."
I want to share with you a story by Loren Eiseley that will stick with me forever.
One day a man was walking along the beach, when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”
The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”
“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…
”I made a difference for that one.”
For this one and this one and this child who cannot thank you personally…we echo Marc Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children, thanking YOU for your help. And we share with you Robin Wiszowaty's Asante Sana message all the way from Kenya. As program director in Kenya for Free The Children, Robin, more than anyone, sees daily how much B. funds are able to help children have hope for the future—and a childhood now.
We proudly show you a glimpse of the first Kenyan village Battat, B. toys and YOU are helping through the generous B. donations, a little at a time, a dime at a time. Meet Ngosuani, a remote village deep in the Maasai Mara where currently 98% of the women and 90% of the men are illiterate, families live on less than $1 dollar a day, a third of the children are in situations of child labor, and the average age for a first-time mom is 15. This is Free The Children's newest community in Kenya and exactly where your B. contribution is going.
My daughter Sydney traveled there last summer with a MetoWe trip to bring back the photos in the video above, to actually dig ditches and to meet the Kindergarten children who are so excited to go to school they could not stop hugging her as if she represented every one of those dimes, every one of you. (It is not lost on me that she was 14 at the time and by sheer cosmic fortune was born in Boston rather than there, where she would not know how to read or write, would carry water for hours a day, and would this year be married.)
Sydney brought back those hugs, and if I could post them all here I would. But all I can do is thank you. Thank you. Thank you. For being a part of the solution.
ASANTE SANA, GRACIAS, MERCI BEAUCOUP.