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Active Learning Libraries - South Africa (ALL-SA) Print E-mail
Wednesday, 29 November 2006
Active Learning LibraryALL-SA is a non-profit organisation operating, since 1993, as the umbrella organisation for Active Learning Toy Libraries in South Africa.  Through ALL-SA's National Resource & Training Centre, we promote the use of play materials for early stimulation, fun, relief from stress and strengthening the family unit.  ALL-SA has developed a unique, outcomes-based approach to play materials in early childhood development (birth-5yrs) and to support children with barriers to learning in Foundation Phase (6-9yrs). 

It is widely accepted by professionals that stimulation in the first 3 years of a child's life is essential in helping children achieve their potential.

Toy Libraries are a cost-effective intervention providing community access to and advice on a well thought out selection of play materials covering all skill areas.

ALL-SA's projects are based on our belief that WE CAN BUILD OUR NATION THROUGH PLAY!

Past Year Achievements / Highlights of ALL-SA

In 2005, ALL-SA reached 4200+ children from the Hillbrow area and surrounds, Children's Homes, pre-schools, children with disabilities, children that have suffered various forms of abuse and children that are infected / affected by HIV/Aids.  These children enjoyed play sessions at ALL-SA's "Come & Play" Toy Library or Toy Bag Outreach Programmes.

ALL-SA's "Come & Play" Toy Library participated in the 2005 Children's Day celebration in partnership with GPAC and NPOs such as Childline, Sunshine Association for Disabled Children and Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children.  We hosted play sessions for +/- 600 vulnerable children.

Stats Training: 89 persons
Calls for Information: +/- 20 per month

ALL-SA's Wish List

"Come & Play" Toy Library

Children come and play at our toy library on a daily basis – most of the children are from disadvantaged circumstances or are suffering from serious illnesses.

Active Learning Library-  Make-Believe Area
All children love to dress up – to transport themselves into a fantasy world.

We are rubbing the genies lamp, with 3 wishes in mind:
- for a washing machine, to keep our special clothes beautifully clean
- to have the clothes tumble dried fast so that they are clean if I arrive last
"I wish, I wish" – I had lots of dress-up clothes,today I can be one of these.. tomorrow, one of those!

Items required:
- Washing Machine (9.5kg twin tub washing machine - Samsung +/- R2000.00)
- Washing Powder
- Fabric Softener
- Tumble Dryer (5kg tumble dryer – Bosch +/- R2500.00)
- Ready-made children's costumes or material, cotton, needles etc would help us to add variety to the selection of dress-up clothes.  We only provide make-believe clothes in this area (not everyday clothes).

It is very important for us to keep the dress-up clothes in our make-believe area clean, hygienic and readily available for everyone - with a selection as large as the children's imaginations.

Active Learning Library– Toys
New or 2nd hand toys (in good working condition) to supplement Toy Library stock, to replace broken toys or to include in goodie bags for Fun Days.  We also pass on surplus toys to other NGO's who are setting up a toy library – making sure your donation makes maximum impact wherever it is used.

-  Computer Area
We have 1 very basic computer in the Toy Library with only 2 programmes, Paint and Solitaire, which is popular with children and their parents.  With today's technology, we all need to be comfortable with computers – the earlier the better.

A company very generously donated 4 used computers last year but we need the following before we can include them in the Toy Library:

-  4 computer tables / workstations – space is limited so pref. tables that can fit together
-  Educational computer games eg. Maths / reading / spelling / general knowledge

-  Special Events

We hold special fun days for invited groups of disadvantaged children at Christmas and Easter.  The children thoroughly enjoy these days and, for many, it is the first time they have the chance to experience these celebrations.  Each child gets a goodie bag with:

- a muffin / cupcake
- a bag of popcorn / crisps
- a fruit
- a box of juice
- a bottle of water
- sweets (sucker / sherbet / fizzers / Easter Eggs etc)
- a few small toys (fluffy toy / ball / car / doll / etc) 

Any assistance (financial or donated goods) with making these Special Events something for the children to remember is greatly appreciated. 

Wish List for Time / Skills / Expertise: Volunteer Request

"Come & Play" Toy Library
ALL-SA's "Come & Play" Toy Library is based in The Memorial Institute (TMI) Building which is the old Johannesburg Children's Hospital built in 1928.  We hold play sessions for a number of children every day, some dealing with emotional trauma and frustration.  This means that the toys are well used and some willingly take some rough handling.    

We would be very grateful for assistance with:

Toy Repair:  ALL-SA can provide the basic materials needed to repair most toys but it is time consuming for our staff.  Your DIY / craft skills and time on a general basis would be very helpful in getting the toys back into service.

General Maintenance:  is there is a handyman out there that can help us one day a month with odd jobs? Although the building was designed with children in mind, some things are a little out-dated / in need of repair and need some help to get back to their child-friendly beginnings.

We have bought 2 doors and need assistance to install them in the children's toilets.
- 2 windows need to be replaced
- 2 small areas need damp-proofing and re-painting
- the 2 children's toilets have a high cistern with a pull-handle system which needs to be adapted because it is too difficult for the children

The materials needed cost about R3000.00.

Helping us to return the Toy Library to a completely child-friendly space will empower the children to do basic tasks on their own.  The confidence and independence they gain from this is invaluable.

Graphic Designing:  Expertise & guidance from a graphic designer for various pamphlets, posters, newsletter would be very welcome.  We create these documents ourselves at the moment but fresh ideas and useful tips from a professional would be very helpful.  

IT Skills:  Computer and Network maintenance, setting up of databases – we need your skills to keep us in with 21st century technology.  Computer problems don't arise often but we would benefit greatly from an IT expert providing input one day a month to ensure that we utilise this resource to its fullest potential. 

ALL-SA shares IT hints and tips with our Members around the country so your skills & time can have a national impact.

For more information about the organisation Active Learning Libraries or the "Come & Play" Toy Library visit or call 011 484 0333.

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