Bucharest’s only Toys Hospital has already treated over 20 tonnes of such “patients”.
Toys have a life of their own. And if we
think of the mutiny the abused toys staged in the famous Toy Story series, we
can better understand how someone could possibly set up a hospital for toys.
So, if you have toys to repair, Bucharest's only Toys Hospital has already treated
over 20 tonnes of such "patients". The toys that end up receiving treatment in
the Toys Hospital are cleaned, disinfected and repaired, to then reach children
in foster care and placement centres of the Social Services Directorate of
The Toys Hospital project has been
operational since March 2013. It has turned out to be successful with both
those who have opted to donate used toys and, of course, among those who are
the beneficiaries of such toys. Valentin Dinu is a 'toys doctor' and he told us
how the Toys Hospital works:
"The Toys Hospital is an idea set forth
by the Bucharest Municipality. It stemmed form the wish to create a collection
centre for used, broken and worn out toys, so that they may end up in the hands
of disadvantaged children. We started the project two years ago, and it was a
zero-cost project, because it did not require more than a storage area and a
place for us to set up the toys repair workshops. In the initial stage of the
project, we received toys from various parts of the country, and after the toys
came to us in various ways, by snail mail or just stored in bags that were then
left on the premises, we started to set up those toys repair workshops. We're
the ones who run the workshops, while all sorts of people placed under the care
of the Social Services, such as the homeless, get involved in such activities."
Lots of people seem to have found the
time to take care of sick toys, as in this hospital anyone can be a doctor,
provided they have some time off and the desire to help the representatives of
the institution and therefore bring joy to the little ones. We asked the most
experienced of the toys doctors Valentin Dinu about the treatment schemes they
have applied to their patients:
"Treatment varies. There have been cases
in which we opted for the washing up or sewing in the case of plush toys, or
others where more complicated operations were needed to stick the toys
together, using pieces that were a little bit more difficult to mend. Right
from the start we got parcels from all over the country, so we received lots of
toys, many of which, since we were unable to fix them, ended up in a toys
museum we had set up ourselves. The toys museum is hosted by the 'Magic
Rainbow' foster care and early education centre. In the museum, children
can have a free-of-charge birthday party, on condition that upon leaving, the
things they used are left as they were".
toys that are difficult to repair end up as exhibits in Bucharest's first Toys
Museum, just as Valentin Dinu told us. The toys that cannot be repaired or are
of no interest for the museum are dismantled and, depending on the materials
they are made of, are sent to sanitation operators. We have also found out that
the most difficult operations performed at the Toys Hospital are the mechanical
or electrical ones. The Toys Hospital therefore needs the help of an
electrician who can bring back to life the toys the other volunteers cannot
The amount of
donated toys is impressive. It shows not only that in Bucharest and across the
country there are a lot of parents who permanently renew their children's toys,
but also that many of them are willing to help the underprivileged children. So
it was that we found out that reaching the Toys Hospital were lots of toys in
good condition, which did not need any repair works. We asked Valentin Dinu how
people viewed such a project.
the initiative. After we collected the first batch of toys and fixed them, we
staged various events with our beneficiaries, offering the toys to the children
of those who usually come to our canteen. And the reaction they had was
unexpected, since some of the children had not received any toys up to that
age, and of course were very happy to experience that."
the Toys Hospital was and still is a project that is very close to peoples'
hearts, Valentin Dinu has launched an appeal to all of us.
"If you have
toys you no longer use, no matter their condition, please bring them to us, at
the headquarters of the Bucharest Social Services, for the children who cannot afford buying them."
Just like any hospital that has certain
standards, the Toys Hospital provides around the clock care.