Hadaya Toys to hold candlelight vigil and fundraiser for Syrian refugee children

Hadaya Toys to hold candlelight vigil and fundraiser for Syrian refugee childrenimage

11 Nov 2015

Please join Hadaya Toys for a luminous candlelight vigil and fundraiser to benefit Syrian refugee children on Sunday, Dec. 6, from 6-8 p.m. at Jubilee on Wall St in Asheville.The evening hosts are award winning filmmaker and teacher Jennifer MacDonald and artist, photographer and entrepreneur Vanessa Bell.

Hadaya Toys is a grass-roots organization dedicated to supporting the overlooked needs of refugee children through creativity and play. They spread joy, one toy at a time, by providing books, toys and art supplies to the child refugee population suffering from the devastation of war.

The candlelight evening will feature Middle Eastern music by World super-group Free Planet Radio (River Guerguerian, Chris Rosser and Grammy Award winner Eliot Wadopian) and other special musical guests. Habibi baklava and other delectable treats will be available to enjoy along with a spoken word and film presentation about the Syrian refugee crisis and Hadaya’s first ‘joy delivery’ this summer to four refugee camps on the border of Lebanon and Syria.

This community event is to specifically raise funds for the children of the BEITI orphanage in Southern Turkey, who have lost one or both parents in the war. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door or in advance at Malaprops. All proceeds will benefit Hadaya Toys.

Hadaya Toys was developed in response to the current Syrian refugee crisis, widely considered to be largest humanitarian disaster since WWII; however, we are concerned with all refugee children, worldwide. We believe this ‘lost generation’ deserves opportunities to experience moments of joy and fun, and that these moments are invaluable to a child’s overall health, development and well-being. Our aim is to address the immediate psychological needs of these children who form the majority, and most vulnerable portion, of the refugee population by bringing toys that not only provide instant joy but help them overcome distress caused by violence, conflict and displacement. We remind them that they are not forgotten, and we provide creative alternatives to the violence and exploitation that many of them are subjected to in the camps whilst encouraging positive group behavior and teamwork.

Most of the children are unable to attend school. There are waiting lists for the precious few that do manage to get set up. The children have no tools with which to develop their cognitive or creative skills, which, research tells us, are essential to developmental health. We do this by providing ‘toy toolkits’ that support their developmental learning needs. We also aim to elevate public awareness around the importance of the humanitarian plight of refugee children around the world by developing and installing educational exhibits; by connecting children through online engagement; and by collecting personalized soccer balls.