The Philippine Toy Library (PTL) launches its second toy center in Zamboanga City together with Youth Solidarity for Peace (YSP). 

Now, old toys and children’s books will be tools to promote peace.  “We are grateful and humbled at the same time as we are going to contribute in the educating our children about the benefits of dialogue and solidarity,” PTL President Edsel Ramirez shares.  “They are worthy of beautiful childhood memories filled with laughter and joy, not with conflict and misunderstanding.”

The families from Brgy. Mariki came from different areas of conflict in the South where they chose to start new lives away from fear for their own lives everyday.  YSP, composed of young Mindanaoans passionate for peace, spearheaded the campaign a few months back through social media and creative communication techniques.

“On this International Day of Peace (September 21, 2012), we emphasize that peace and unity are more powerful forces than conflict and misunderstanding,” YSP Chairman of the Board Christian Olasiman declares.  “A toy center provides the symbol of joy and imagination.  May these children be agents of innovative change in the future.”

“The goal is peace and the tools are toys,” Ateneo de Zamboanga Student Volunteer Ian Carlo Leyte narrates.  “The awe in the children’s faces as they saw all the colorful toys and books lined up and waiting for them was inspiring and gratifying. It was like Christmas for them.”

Through social media, PTL has slowly created a movement of netizens that commit to giving Filipino kids proper play experience.  “PTL brought balikbayan boxes full of toys and children’s books,” Ramirez narrates.  “We asked donations through social media.  Friends chipped in and people we haven’t met sent their old toys as well.”

Clear out closets and start helping in the building toy centers in Dapdap, Quezon, Ecoville, Cagayan de Oro, Patalon, Zamboanga and Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur.  Drop off points are in Quezon City (offices of KIDS AHOY, PTL and Jesuit Volunteers Philippines), Baguio, Bacolod and Zamboanga City (offices of Youth Solidarity for Peace, Ateneo de Zamboanga and Tzu Chi Foundation).

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Philippine Toy Library (PTL)

With just a social media status, a national advocacy was born.  PTL is a group of volunteer-friends who came together and took on the challenge of providing the experience of play to our Filipino children, especially who live in cramped and congested areas.  PTL transforms idle spaces in baranggays/schools/parishes into fun and educational playrooms to keep off kids from the streets.  Currently, PTL has three sites and more are being organized to bring joy to the next generation of Filipinos.



Youth Solidarity for Peace (YSP)

YSP was formally established in 2008, stemming from a youth movement advocating the Culture of Peace and fighting against discrimination across cultures like Muslims, Yakans, Christians and Indigenous People.  In an area perceived to be conflict-ridden, YSP now serves as the youth arm of Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ).