Shweta Chari

Founder at Toybank - Power of Play in India

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Toybank’s interventions focus on development and learning through Play. It aims to provide safe and happy spaces for at-risk children who are otherwise mostly subject to negative environments. By setting up the Toybank Play Centers, its long-term goal is to be able to provide early childhood development through structured & unstructured Play. It allows children to develop a sense of well-being, improves their interpersonal abilities, develops language skills, establishes creating thinking and involves exploring and problem-solving skills.

Toybank currently impacts 43,719 children through its 285 Play centres spread across Maharashtra.

Shweta believes that for children, Play is as natural as breathing and as necessary. Depriving them of play leads to bottled up depression & anger that bursts when children reach adulthood and lead to all sorts of crimes and anti-social activities.

She has written and spoken on this subject in many forums. Her article on Right to Play was published in The Global Journal. Shweta is listed as one of the 'Real Heroes of India'. She has spoken twice on the TEDx, was awarded the 'Game Changer' Award (2016) by HR Club of India, 'Star Social Entrepreneur award' by Indira International Innovation (2011) & the 'Woman of Courage’ award by Godrej (2011). In 2013 she was labelled as the ‘Young Achiever’ by the Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce. She has been invited to speak to the Consulate of Singapore Government on 2 occasions.

Shweta is the recipient of The Change Looms Award for Social Entrepreneurship (2007). In 2008, Shweta was the Pepsi MTV Youth Icon of India Nominee & was featured on the cover of Aspire, India Today magazine (2010). Toybank’s work was documented by UK’s National Television Channel 4 on a special series called the ‘Slumdog Secret Millionaire’ program in January 2010. Shweta was selected as one of the ‘Young Turks’ on CNBC’s programme & was featured on CNN IBN as a “Young Social Changemaker”. In June 2017, Shweta received the ‘Amazing Mumbaikar Award’ by the Rotary Club.

In July 2017, Shweta made it into the Harvard Business School - Strategic Nonprofit Management - India programme with a full scholarship for the same.

As Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”. Shweta’s Toybank is silently revolutionizing the children of the country by teaching them the virtue of sharing.

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    • Toybank - Power of Play