Newly opened Play Hub in Croatia

The new TOY for Inclusion Play Hub is located in Orehovica and is one of two in Croatia. The second one is active in Sisak. 

We are very excited about the opening of a new Play Hub in Orehovica!

Orehovica is a municipality with 2.685 inhabitants in Međimurje County. A large Roma community lives there: 18,9 % of the whole population.

Most Roma speak Bayash as a first language and Croatian is their second language. According to the official data, all Romani children are enrolled in both school and preschool but retention and attendance rates are lower than country average.

The Play Hub is located in the primary school and opens twice a week. It organizes after school play sessions, reading aloud activities, arts and crafts as well as workshops for parents.

The Play Hub in Sisak

A second Play Hub is active in Sisak. It is located in the primary school of Braća Bobetko. Many children go there after school.

The creation of the Play Hubs in Croatia was made possible thanks to the REYN National Coordinator in Croatia Open Academy Step by Step. For more information you can contact Sanja Brajković.

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TOY for Inclusion toolkit launched

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The new ‘TOY for Inclusion Toolkit – A step-by-step guide to creating inclusive Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Play Hubs for all generations’, provides the necessary information to enable trainers and practitioners of different sectors to set-up and run play spaces for children, families and communities.

The toolkit pays particular attention to social integration, intercultural and intergenerational dialogue, and social inclusion in the context of ECEC.

It addresses the following topics:
  • Setting the vision for all the children in the local community;
  • The importance of community-based ECEC and integration of services for inclusion, equity and respect for diversity;
  • Play spaces as community resource hubs;
  • All generations learning and playing together (intergenerational learning);
  • The importance of desegregated ECEC for Roma and non-Roma children, and anti-bias education;
  • Quality in community-based ECEC projects.

The TOY for Inclusion partners are available to provide guidance and training to organization interested in setting up ECEC Play Hubs.

If you want to have more information about the TOY for Inclusion approach or you want to set-up a Play Hub, please contact us.

The training materials (Power Points) mentioned in the Toolkit are available upon request.

Download the toolkit here.

Play Hubs for Roma integration launched in seven countries

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TOY for Inclusion is delighted to announce that new Play Hubs for children, families and adults have opened this month in Belgium, Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Slovenia and Slovakia. Our Play Hubs are safe education and care spaces where relationships between Roma and non-Roma young children and their families are built.

CITY of Ghent, Belgium

In Ghent toy libraries have been existing for 20 years. Our local partner the Centre for Innovation in the Early Years (VBJK) has worked to integrate the existing work on inclusion.

The TOY for Inclusion Play Hub has decided to meet Roma people where they gather: mostly in Neighborhood Centers and spaces managed by the civil society. Our activities started in two of Ghent’s neighborhoods, Ledeberg and Brugsepoort, where there is a big concentration of Roma-Slovak families who are not always reached by the local education services.

There, we are organizing now music lessons, free time activities for children and parenting support sessions. We usually bring toys from the nearby toy libraries in order to let children play and to sensitize families towards the toy libraries themselves.

Activities are usually planned every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. After spending some time in building up connections and trust, now families are increasingly attending.

TOY for Inclusion is thankful to the REYN National Coordinator in Belgium Centre for Innovation in the Early Years (VBJK) for the creation of the Play Hub activities. For more information you can contact Nima Sharmahd.

Town of Sisak, Croatia

A new Play Hub has been launched in the primary school of Braća Bobetko in the town of Sisak on January 24, 2018. An estimated 2.165 Roma people out of a total population of 61.497 live in Sisak. Many children of the Roma settlements in the surroundings attend the school of Braća Bobetko.

The Play Hub was officially opened by the mayor Kristina Baniček and by Klara Perković, mayor of the children’s city council. The opening ceremony was highly attended by the local community: children, parents, grandparents and volunteers.

The Play Hub opens, next to the local Toy Library, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 PM to 7 PM.

The creation of the Play Hub was made possible thanks to the REYN National Coordinator in Croatia Korak Po Korak. For more information you can contact Sanja Brajković.

Rome suburb and Mazara del Vallo, Italy

Two Play Hubs have opened their doors on January 20, 2018 in Italy. One is located in Tor Bella Monaca (a suburb of Rome), the other one is in Mazara del Vallo – in the province of Trapani, Sicily.

About 160 people attended the launch including experts, volunteers and representatives of the municipalities. The two opening ceremonies also saw the joyful and enthusiastic participation of many families with Romani and Italian background.

Adults and children learned about the activities that will be offered by the Play Hubs in the near future. Also, dozens of children tested the new toys available in the libraries.

In Mazara del Vallo, the Play Hub called Casa di Toy, is open every Monday and Wednesday from 4 PM to 7 PM and every first Saturday of the month from 10 AM to 1 PM.

In Rome, the official opening was attended by Roberto Romanella, the President of the Sub-municipality, Francesca Filipponi, the Municipal Councilor of Social Policies, Health and Equal Opportunities and Alessandro Marco Gisonda, the Municipal Councilor of Education, Sport, Culture and Youth Policies.

The Play Hub in Tor Bella Monaca is open every Saturday from 10 AM to 1 PM and from 4 PM to 7 PM and every last Sunday of the month from 10 AM to 1 PM.

The opening of this toy library was made possible thanks to Associazione 21 Luglio, REYN National Coordinator in Italy. For more information you can contact Francesca Petrucci.

City of Jelgava, Latvia

The TOY for Inclusion Play Hub “Ringla” was officially opened in Jelgava on January 30, 2018. Children and their parents as well as representatives of local municipality and Ministry of Culture participated to the opening event. All guests were introduced to the library by Ringla: a Roma girl from a children’s book – a well-known character in Latvia. Ringla also invited all participants to create beautiful paintings and to leave colorful hand prints as a sign they had attended the opening.

Ringla will be waiting for children and their family members twice a week and will involve them in different activities. The first activity will be “Ringla’s drawing workshop”, where she and her friends will draw a calendar together, which later will be filled in with exciting activities and events.

We are thankful to the REYN National Coordinator in Latvia Center for Education Initiatives (CEI). For more information you can contact Kristīne Liepiņa


Town of Murska Sobota, Slovenia

In Slovenia, the new Play Hub is located in a public library in Murska Sobota, a town with a large Roma community. The library has a department for children and is highly attended by the families living in the surroundings.

The opening ceremony on January 13, 2018, was attended by about 100 people who included families, experts and local volunteers. Two groups of children, one from a kindergarten and one from a primary school ‘spiced up’ the opening with a small show. Families and children were then shown the new Play Hub and were informed about its services; they were also invited to test and borrow the new toys available.

The launch was well covered by the local media in newspapers and by a Romani show on television.  

The Play Hub is open every Saturday from 10 to 12 AM. In addition, TOY for Inclusion will organize workshops for families twice a month in collaboration with local associations.

The creation of the Play Hub was made possible thanks to the REYN National Coordinator in Slovenia Korak Za Korakom. For more information you can contact Mateja Mlinar.

Town of Spišský Hrhov, Slovakia

Over 130 adults and children have visited the Play Hub in Spišský Hrhov on a regular basis, since the opening on December 8, 2017.

This new toy library is equipped with brand new furniture, lots of books, modern toys and games. The activities that are organized have become popular among people both from the Roma and from non-Roma community in the village.

Volunteers and teachers offer children more than just a place to play: children come together to draw, play sports, read and to attend different type of workshops.

While care services are offered to children, their parents can benefit from parental support at the TOY for Inclusion Play Hub as well.

On January 26, 2018, a school psychologist met parents of pre-school children to promote the benefits of attending day care at school. In particular, the psychologist shared data on how spending more time at day care in school can improve education results.

The opening of this toy library was made possible thanks to Skola Dokoran, REYN National Coordinator in Slovakia. For more information you can contact Miroslav Sklenka. Read more about this Play Hub here.

Nagydobos, Hungary

Nagydobos is a village of 2200 inhabitants; an estimated 15% of them are Roma. Alarmingly though, the local kindergarten has 180 children of which 89% Roma. This creates risks of segregation.

For this reason the Play Hub was located on the main street of the village, to attract both Roma and non-Roma. The mediators are highly trusted and attract members of both communities. The Play Hub is visited by teachers, parents and children.

“It is wonderful here, there is a calm atmosphere. This is a play land and it’s my dream”, said a 4 years old Roma child.

Parents have access to information and support about child rearing, health and early childhood development. Like the Play Hub of Nagydobos on Facebook!

The opening hours are Wednesday and Saturday 14:00 to 18:00 hours.

Find out more about how TOY for Inclusion’s Play Hubs can contribute to Roma integration on

TOY partners unveil plans to create play hubs

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TOY for Inclusion partners unveil their plans to create play hubs for young children in seven EU countries (Belgium, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Slovakia and Slovenia). The play hubs will be launched in early 2018. Click on the image below to see the details for each country.

TOY for Inclusion is creating non-segregated intergenerational play spaces in the mentioned countries. These spaces are located in areas that are reachable for both Roma and non-Roma families. They are designed and run by local committees composed by representatives of both communities (called Local Action Teams), school and preschool teachers, community development workers and local authorities.

Along with activities aimed to help children develop competences and knowledge for formal education, these spaces mobilize local communities around young children, and organize intergenerational activities involving older people with and without a Roma background.

Read more about TOY for Inclusion here.