More than a bedtime story: the story behind Toy Project

All toys have stories. Some toys come with the story of what it’s like being made in a great big factory, in a far away land, traveling far with heaps of toys who look just like them. Yet other toys have much tinier stories about being made in nestled away valleys. These toys are made with a brave purpose – to gallop or trot or stampede far and wide so the plenty, that so many of us are fortunate enough to have, can be shared with the toys’ creators back in the valley who have so little.

The shweshwe stuffed animals from Toy Project have such a brave story. And it starts on the donkey route in Groenfontein with a group of people who didn’t have much and so couldn’t create much.

toy project shweshwe giraffes

But with the help of two other people with great, big hearts, Renee and Paul, and some needles and thread they began to stitch and sow their way out a life that couldn’t give them more than the little they had.

They made horses and scrappy looking donkeys, and then little dolls with curly hair and proud rhinos and regal elephants and curious giraffes. And they made them from the most beautiful, brightest fabrics you’ve ever seen. Then, they set them free, as far and wide as they could go, with the hope that these creatures and their brave stories of origin would find their way to people who wanted to give their children toys with real stories from a tiny valley.

This is more than just a bedtime story. This is the true story of the people behind Toy Project:

The Groenfontein Toy Project from Jaymee Larrison on Vimeo.

When something you add to your life and your child’s life can be more than a toy, but also a symbol of pride and resilience, and trying hard to create something beautiful in a world that can be rough and tough and bumpy, surely that is a toy that will lift your heart and instil a sense of place in the imagination of the child who takes it home?

toy project shweshwe hippos

The little, stuffed shweshwe hippo that accompanies your child on all their adventures, would be such a toy. A brave toy with a bold story.

And that is something of material significance, we think.

Head this way to get your very own Toy Project stuffed animal.

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