“Cielo” – putting children first

CIELO is an international aid NGO active in assisting children from deprived backgrounds in Latin America. Games and leisure activities are central to its approach. Coming! Ready or not!

Social and Employment

Quito, Ecuador

Christian Orlandini

13,000 € to the Selection Committee at 2004/09/28

Project leader


« The toy library is a wonderful way to help children escape from certain high-risk environments. It makes it possible to strengthen the family unit which has an essential role to play. It enables us to provide children with a stable and secure environment. »

Christian Orlandini

Since its founding in 1995, Cielo has worked with local partners in Latin America on projects aimed at children, based on games and leisure activities. The underlying principle is that learning can be fun. However, these toy libraries managed by the communities themselves are not just about play. They help to put children and young people on the path to developing their personalities and teach them to reject violence while respecting codes and models of social behaviour. They therefore help to reduce the risks of delinquency and promote learning.

Training ten new toy library assistants

This network is now comprised of 20 toy libraries in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Guatemala, for the benefit of 25,000 children with each stocking an average of 200 educational toys. The Veolia foundation has decided to assist with the training of ten future toy library administrators, who will take up their duties in ten new toy libraries which the NGOs or local authorities plan to open in various towns in Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela and Chile.
These vocational training courses will be run at a training centre set up by CIELO in a toy library in the suburbs of Quito, the Ecuadorian capital, in partnership with the Ecuadorian association "Asociacion Familias Amigas". This training centre was opened in 2003 and is jointly funded by UNESCO and the French ministry of foreign affairs. Proof, if it were needed, that much can be achieved by taking time out to play.

Ten jobs guaranteed

In late 2004, sure to be able to train new "toy librarians",Cielo signalled the green light for the admission of ten persons coming from several Latin American countries (Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela) for a course curriculum dispensed in early 2005. Among the ten cities in which they were assigned subsequently to open a toy library, four were capitals (La Paz, Havana, Lima, Caracas) and the remaining six were provincial towns.

For eight days, the future toy librarians accordingly came to Quito to attend the various training sessions. Among them, subjects concerning the management of a toy library, and more relational aspects, such as, for example, welcoming families unaccustomed to frequenting such premises.

Since then, they have opened the various toy libraries and have had the time to turn them into extremely popular meeting places in the neighborhoods -- thereby incidentally perpetuating their jobs.