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Toy library brings smiles to orphans in southern Vietnam
By Thao Vi - Thanh Nien News -
 Children play with toys at the new toy library at the Vinh Long Social Welfare Center in the southern province of Vinh Long on July 3, 2015. Photos: Thao Vi
 A boy plays at the new outdoor playground, part of the Toy Library project, at the Vinh Long Social Welfare Center on July 3, 2015.
Boys play at the new outdoor playground, part of the Toy Library project, at the Vinh Long Social Welfare Center on July 3, 2015.
 The ribbon-cutting ceremony that marks the launching of the toy library at the Vinh Long Social Welfare Center on July 3, 2015.
 Toys are displayed at the new toy library inside the Vinh Long Social Welfare Center.
 Toys are displayed at the new toy library at the Vinh Long Social Welfare Center.
Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO) on Friday opened a toy library in the southern province of Vinh Long, the second one in Vietnam, aiming to bring joys to disadvantaged children.
Thuy Ngo, WWO’s country director in Vietnam, said the library would benefit 27 orphans aged under seven, most of them showing signs of slow development, at the Vinh Long Social Welfare Center and other poor children in the neighborhood.
“We aim to not only address developmental issues of children with special needs in the Vinh Long Social Welfare Center but also bring joys to disadvantaged children in the community,” Ngo said at the opening ceremony.
The library includes two rooms of toys, each covering an area of 30 square meters, and an outdoor playground.
The toys, which meet international safety standards, will help the children improve the process of thinking and learning, small and large muscle movements and communication as well as manage emotions, according to the WWO.
Karine Colyn, chief operating officer of HSBC Vietnam, the sponsor, said the Toy Library model had been carried out successfully in Bulgaria and Haiti.
“We had never seen this kind of project in Vietnam. We are convinced that it would be a positive project for some local communities by providing a positive educational platform that would support the development of kids with special needs.”
WWO and HSBC launched the first Toy Library in Vietnam at Tam Binh Orphanage, home to nearly 200 children, in Ho Chi Minh City last September.
Colyn said the initial results from that pilot library are exciting.
“We have seen kids, who struggled to communicate, express their feelings towards other people.”
She also said that kids who struggled to concentrate have started to join activities that require a lot of observation while introspective kids began to participate and interact in group activities.
Apart from financial support, HSBC has volunteers who have played with children at the two libraries together with caretakers and community volunteers.