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Helping deliver a world with no street children

Toybox-logo-2016Toybox was established in 1992 by a UK couple who visited Guatemala. The aim was to provide a better life for street children in Guatemala City, through the rescue and rehabilitation of street children.

Since those early days, Toybox has expanded to work in four countries and five cities, with a new focus on prevention and the empowerment of vulnerable children. The charity now works in Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru and El Salvador.

The Toybox vision is of a world with no street children, where families are restored, those who are disadvantaged have choices and hope, and all children have a voice.

We’re very pleased with the way that donorflex communicate with us and their customer care services – Supporter Care and Crafts Manager Michelle Chapman

The charity’s mission is to bring lasting and positive change to the lives of street children, working children and those at risk of becoming so. This is done through frontline work, prevention and advocacy. Toybox acts as a facilitator and enabler, galvanising people and resources in the UK, Latin America and worldwide.

The charity has a total annual income of around £1.8m, generated largely from their child sponsor scheme, individual donations, supportive trusts, churches and major funders, with additional revenue generated from the sale of fairly traded Latin American crafts.

Choosing the right data management system

Toybox childrenBefore donorflex went live in July, 2003, Toybox had several disparate databases held in Filemaker Pro – the Apple Macintosh equivalent of Microsoft Access. As Toybox expanded as a charity, they began to experience problems in tracking income against donor details and, as a result, found it very difficult to record and claim Gift Aid.

Essentially, Toybox needed a single database that was capable of performing many functions. Most importantly, they needed a system that could accurately relate financial records to donor details and provide an accurate means of recording and managing Gift Aid. But they also wanted a system that would help them manage their donor base more effectively.

"We’re very pleased with the way that donorflex communicate with us and their customer care services," says Supporter Care and Crafts Manager Michelle Chapman. "They’re always willing to work with us on developing our system."

Using donorflex in practice

donorflex went live at Toybox in July, 2003. Seven years on, the charity is still using the package and is very pleased with the performance of the system.

"It’s excellent at ensuring that Gift Aid is accurately recorded against income," says Michelle.

Toybox factfile

It’s hard to count street children as they’re so transient, but some estimates suggest there could be a many as 40m children living and working on the streets of Latin America’s densely populated cities.

Rejected by society, street children are regarded as ’disposable’ and become victims of harassment, violent abuse, trafficking and the sex trade.

In some areas, the survival time of a child living on the streets is estimated to be just four years.

Toybox is working with 5,000 children a year in Lima, Peru; Guatemala City, Cochabamba and Oruro in Bolivia and San Salvador, El Salvador.