Most children box up their old toys when they don’t use them anymore. These boxes disappear under their beds or somewhere in an attic or garage, never to be looked at again. However, Ian, a Belgian boy of five years old, and his mother Shalila have found another destination for Ian’s old toys. This is, every few months they collect his old toys to give them away. The exact destination of the toys is up to Ian himself. “I want Ian to be conscious of the fact that not everyone’s life is as easy as ours,” Shalila explains.
Children in heaven
According to his mom, they give the toys to charity sometimes, but this time Ian had something else in mind. He wanted to give them to the children in heaven. He got this idea from a visit to a cemetery, during which he noticed some little graves. “I explained to him that the children who are now in heaven are lying there,” Shalila says. “Ian noticed that on none of the people had placed things children could play with. He concluded that children in heaven need toys too.”
The perfect toy
Ian decided to transform words into deeds and his mom took him to the cemetery during the celebration of ‘Allerzielen’. On this day, people commemorate the ones they have lost. Ian and Shalila spent over an hour, trying to give the right toy to every child in heaven. Like Ian said: “I can’t give a big car to a little boy, because he has small hands.” According to Shalila, Ian wanted to make sure he put the perfect toy on each grave.
People react very positively to the gesture of Ian and Shalila. For example, Els Germeaux, whose stillborn son Constantijn is in a grave at the cemetery, was very pleased when she discovered the toys. “It is like there is suddenly a real place for children at the cemetery. That is very touching.”
And Ian himself? The boy is very proud that he has made so many people happy by giving away his old toys. His only regret is that he doesn’t have enough toys for all the children who are lying at the cemetery. But that probably won’t be an issue for long, because Ian has already started collecting toys again.
Source: https://www.ad.nl/buitenland/ian-5-geeft-auto-s-en-knuffels-aan-overleden-kinderen~a42ccf13/ (On this page, you will also find pictures and a film fragment of Ian and Shalila at the cemetery)