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Alberto Azcona, our November’s “Wishmaker”!
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October 30, 2013  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

As parents we know how important playing is and that the main purpose of playing – emotional, social, educational and physical – contributes to helping our children grow into healthy individuals. But did you know that children have the right to play?

Since 1989,  the Convention on the Rights of a Child, published by the United Nations, is contemplated in Article 31 and recognizes “the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.”  

However, there are too many children in the world who, for different reasons – cultural, social, economical or even due to lack of time, do not play.  That’s why the Spanish NGO Fundación Crecer Jugando (in Spanish) works to defend and support that universal right. We spoke with the Campaign Director,  Alberto Azcona (in Spanish), our Wishmaker of the month!

Please explain what does Fundación Crecer Jugando do.

One of the ways of  fulfilllng our goals, which is to defend the right to play, is by sending games and toys directly to children who don’t have access to them. Another way of helping is by taking part in research in order to gather and share information on the use of toys and the benefits that playing has on children.

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Alberto Azcona holds  an orphan in Haiti, after the devastating hurricane

Tell us about the campaign “One Toy, One Dream”.

The campaign “One Toy, One Dream” was born in the year 2000 with the hope of sending games and toys to girls and boys all over the world, who otherwise do not have access to them.  We also collaborate with  Spanish Public Radio (in Spanish) and a large number of Spanish companies and institutions.  

Shortly after we began, we realized that we had to do more than just give away toys. We had to support the work that other NGO’s were doing by supplying them with toy libraries so children could have access to toy education and a proper space where to play at school.  

The first fundraising event for the XIV Edition of “One Toy, One Dream” will be celebrated with a  Marathon, (in Spanish) on November 17th, 2013.

Aside from the national campaigns the Foundation promotes, tell us what international projects you are currently working on.  

Our international presence is based on the on-site knowledge that other NGO’s have and whose work we have been supporting for over 13 years. One of our goals was not only to raise funds to deliver toys and then leave. We are conscious of the importance that playing has in childrens’ development so our support had to be continuous over time. Thanks to that support, more than 6.000.000 girls and boys all over the world have recieved their…First Toy Ever! There are more than 1.500 toy libraries in these countries today including schools, childrens homes, hospitals and rural communities. 

Who are your Wishmakers?

My wishmaker, the person who has greatly influenced my life is Salvador Miro, who created the Foundation. Thanks to his constant efforts and hard work, as well as his love for toys, games and children, made a huge impact on me. 

What advice would you give to parents?

Playing is natural, positive and beneficial to children. That’s why I encourage all mothers and fathers to motivate their children to play and that they , despite their busy schedules, take the time to  play with their children. 

Photo Credits: Alfonso Azcona, Fundación Crecer Jugando

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