Over the years, I’ve cultivated an ever-growing list of amazing organizations around the world that offer amazing gifts that also give back to charity. What makes me thrilled is to see so many new, innovative organizations and products entering the industry providing unique often handmade gifts that do good. What a better way to use our consumer dollars this giving season and year-round than to purchase a gift that gives back?
Kupendo Kids is a social impact company that is working to make a difference in Sub-Saharan Africa by selling ethically sourced, handcrafted toys that create jobs for women who need fair paying jobs to support their families. Every time you purchase a toy from Kupendo Kids, they deliver a toy to a child in need. They are currently partnering with SOS Children’s Villages in Namibia and plan to expand to other partnerships as they grow. In 2014, I visited a SOS Children’s Villages site in Ethiopia and I can attest to the amazing work they are doing to help the children. I am so excited to introduce Kupendo Kids and their work.
Can toys really help children learn and grow?
In October 2018, Philip Evangelou, an Australian corporate lawyer based in London visited an orphanage in Namibia where he personally delivered toys, stationary and books and saw how much joy this brought to the children. This filled up Phillip’s heart with so much joy and gratitude for all the toys and love he received in his childhood.
After doing some research, Philip was astounded to find out that there are over 34 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa and figured that most of them had probably never received a toy.
Further to the above shocking statistic, according to UNESCO’s eAtlas of Literacy countries which have the lowest youth literacy rates in the world are Chad (31%), Central African Republic (36%) South Sudan (37%), Niger (40%) and Guinea (46%). This means children in these countries, have less access to educational toys and books.
This sparked a fire in Philip’s belly to do something about the lack of fun, toys and very low literacy rates. Philip thought “Why don’t I start a toy shop that provides a toy or book to an orphan in need, each time a toy is sold?... and so Kupendo Kids was born. Kupendo is Swahili for Love and supplying educational toys and books to vulnerable children in nations such as this will show them love and help lift the youth literacy rates.
Benefits of playing with toys backed by science
Research published by Parenting Science confirms that there are many cognitive benefits of playing with toys in developing the learning brain of children. The benefits include improved memory, brain cell growth, greater attention span, creative problem solving, reasoning, self-regulation, language and numerical skills.
Philip visited a few toy makers in Cape Town, South Africa and found one that employed local talented artisan women who specialise in embroidery and stitching. Philip made sure that the materials used were high quality and the women making the toys were paid fairly for their work and had good working conditions.
The soft and cuddly toys are ethically sourced and fair trade that use mainly locally produced organic materials to create the handcrafted toys. This will provide employment to women enabling to earn an income and create a better life for their families.
Kupendo Kids has partnered with SOS Children’s Villages Namibia (SOS) to find out what would benefit the orphans most in terms of improving their educational or recreational support and to help distribute the educational toys and books throughout sub-Saharan Africa and eventually around the world. SOS provides adequate foster care and food to the children in their care although they always need further support in terms of providing recreational activities and educational books for the orphans.
Supplying educational toys and books to vulnerable children in nations such as this will help lift the literacy rates.
The benefits of delivering educational toys and books to SOS is that they will be able to keep them and make them available for the next generation of orphans that come into their care, therefore repeating the benefits that the present generation will experience.
It is Kupendo Kids mission to show these children that they are not alone in this world and that they deserve to learn, play and grow as all children should. Philip is passionate about making a real difference in children’s lives. By helping Kupendo Kids, you will be able to create a program that delivers fun, education and creativity to children everywhere.
How to Order Kupendo Kids Toys
You can currently pre-order one of these toys via Indiegogo with estimated deliveries of the toys to consumers and orphans in April 2019. You can donate a toy to an orphan or pre-order one of the beautifully handcrafted high impact socially conscious toys which are currently on a discounted launch offer for a limited time only via Indiegogo which will end in early January 2019. To preorder, visit www.kupdenokids.com
Philip Evangelou, lawyer and social impact entrepreneur. Philip has worked as a lawyer for over 10 years and is passionate about helping the vulnerable and disadvantaged children in developing nations. Having visited over 60 countries, Philip has experienced a wide variety of cultures, speaks English, Greek and Spanish and has witnessed many children living in extreme poverty which is why he is determined to make a real difference in the world.
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