Christmas celebration for the children of a small village outside of Tehran
With the help of a couple of extremely friendly shopkeepers, we talked extensively about possible toy ideas for the kids. After explaining what Travel for Smiles is all about, we even got a 15% discount on our purchase, which was a sincere gesture at the already very low price. Loaded with jump ropes, coloring books, pencils, jigsaw puzzles, dolls, matchbox cars, boxes full of dominoes, books and footballs, we drove the following day for about an hour and a half from Karaj to the small village Haji Abad.
Once there, we were a little nervous, because we had never done such an action to this extent. In our imagination, we would drum the kids up in a small square. Unfortunately, we had not been able to find an exact number of children let alone their age in advance, so we were all the more curious whether we had estimated correctly.
In the administrative hut in the center of the small village, we waited and hoped at least a few children would arrive. After only one phone call, more and more children suddenly started to arrive in the small hut. The never-ending stream gave us an idea that it would be difficult to create a fair distribution of toys.
We asked the kids outside in front of our car. Although they first stood in line quite nicely, which was divided among girls and boys, soon chaos broke out. It came very close to our experience of working at the folk festivals in Bavaria, the only difference was that they weren’t shouting for beer left and right, but toys this time around. Every boy wanted a matchbox car and every girl wanted a doll. Despite the many thoughts we had put in in advance, our plan, which had divided the children into age groups, did not work out well. Four or ten years old – they all wanted the same thing. Discord between the children began to develop and we decided to hand over the remaining toys to the parents who had come along.
When we asked who belonged to which family, we were looked at a little questioningly and then had explained to us cheerfully that all are at least distantly related. This knowledge reassured us a bit, as they also insisted that after a week at the latest the toys would be shared.
This experience has taught us a lot and we already have a plan of how such an action could go down more smoothly next time. In the future, we will try out closed bags, that the kids can’t look into and pass one to each child. In addition, our focus will be on dolls and toy cars 🙂
Not only the children were given a little joy during the Christmas season, but also some market workers, who were busy all day long to manoeuvre packed carts to the bazaar. The attention we wanted to give them was quickly found and around noon we stocked up with 12 lunch packets at various street stalls in the center of Tehran to distribute them to the visibly exhausted workers. Even though the financial expenditure for this was “only” the equivalent of 10,20 €, it was nice to see how happy the people were about it.
If you have suggestions or experiences, please share them with us!
Translation to english by Mila T. <3