Back in 2010, a young Egyptian woman decided that every child has the right to a good toy, to a normal childhood. Nothing stopped Marwa Fayed from moving all around the country gathering used toys, wrapping them herself and distributing them with the help of a couple of friends to the less privileged children in Egypt. Her sad and sudden death was not the end of her initiative, but was in fact the spark that revived the Marwa Fayed's Toy Run Association. Thanks to her, and the support of many people, MFTR now places a smile on children's faces in 6 different countries around the world.
Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run is the quintessence of small, ambitious dreams turning into nationwide evolutions of philanthropy. It is a story of resilience; of hardship blooming into hope and triumph.
What started in 2010 as one woman’s – the late Marwa Fayed’s – kindness and love for giving stands today as a full-fledged community development organization with structured programs and aspirational plans that aim to make a resonant change in culture. Initially called The Cairo Toy Run for Orphanages, Marwa (God bless her soul) started out with the belief that every child, privileged or not, has the right to their very own toy and to an inspiring childhood.
Marwa started a small initiative to collect toys and redistribute them on underprivileged children across Egypt. Her efforts depended on volunteering and individual endeavors, but her passion resonated with hundreds of people and her toy runs soon became a regular occurrence that promised fruition.
Marwa Fayed passed away in 2013, four days shy of her 31st birthday, leaving behind a newborn and a husband whose lives were crushed by her sudden loss. Omar Samra; Marwa’s husband, and Rehab Fayed; Marwa’s twin sister, found the strength, resilience and determination to turn this heart-wrenching tragedy into a wellspring of hope and change to betterment. Immediately supported by an army of family and loved ones, they turned her small, ambitious initiative into what is now a full-fledged, legitimized philanthropic organization focused on bettering the lives of underprivileged children and of creating an echoing change in culture.
Today, Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run Association stands tall and proud with chapters in more than 6 countries, embodying the very essence of transforming tragedy into hope, into love, into change.
Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run Association is a community development organization, inaugurated to create a change in culture. The ethos that drives the organization’s efforts can be summarized in one word; empowerment.
Every human – child or adult – holds boundless potential within them. Every single one of us has dreams, ambitions and hopes and, given the chance, we would soar and turn these dreams into tangible, accessible realities that illuminate us and those around us.
By empowering children, Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run Association aspires to give them the opportunity to thrive and thus become the change-makers of tomorrow and of the world we all wish to live in. It is not a naïve or unattainable dream to want a happy world; it is an aspiration that can be within reach if we believe in it strongly enough.
Using a diverse set of offerings, Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run Association sees to the fruition of its ambitious and daring dreams.
Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run’s (MFTR) consistent success means we are now looking at a future geared towards expansion, where we can set a standard of ‘best practices’ for other organizations to look up to and follow. Our aim is to expand our regional reach and build a model that other organizations can implement quickly and effectively.
MFTR’s mission is to spread the idea of empowering children and youngsters through edutainment and giving. Allowing them to discover their own skills and talents will help them in their journey of determining their identity and feeling empowered by their choices. The organization is focused on the ethos of giving and hopes to one day embed this value in every generation to come.
Our desire to expand is motivated by our dream of touching as many lives as possible, driving positive change through a program that is “from children, for children”. Our goal is to become a trusted learning resource – this would enable us to share the knowledge that we have acquired over the years and spread it as far as community schools in rural areas.
Engaging and involving children and encouraging them to take responsibility from a young age, allowing them to feel empowered through every stage of their lives, lies at the heart of MFTR’s philosophy and motivates and informs our desire to expand.
Children are at the heart of our organization. Therefore, Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run aims to spread many values that are reflected in both short-term and long-term benefits to society.
GIVE AND TAKE
The concept of the joy that results from the act of giving to make others happy is one that is fosters in early years of childhood, where children are taught to give up their own toys lovingly in order to make other children happy.
Children love to play, and despite the fact that less fortunate children may need many items, toy giving allows a unique and memorable bond to be created with others, one that lasts for much longer than the life time of a single toy.
We are an organization that is truly rooted in the community in which we operate. We believe that our commitment to children in our local communities is the essence of our cause.
Each individual has childhood memories with their toys; we aim to allow new happy memories to be created with each toy that we deliver.
Gift giving has long been a custom of love in different cultures and beliefs, which is why a large proportion of our time is spent carefully wrapping toys for their new little “friends”.
INNOCENCE IS GLOBAL
Our organization is built on the belief that innocent smiles are the same everywhere, regardless of where in the world a needy child is located or aesthetic differences.
Omar Samra’s life story is living proof of the fact that we can change the cards that we are dealt in life. Born in the UK and raised in Cairo, Omar’s first challenge in life was to overcome severe asthma as a child. Not only did he overcome the illness: Omar grew to be a successful sportsman, an avid globetrotter and an accomplished mountaineer. He is the first Egyptian and youngest Arab to conquer Mount Everest, complete the 7 summits challenge and row across the Atlantic Ocean, to name but a few of his extraordinary undertakings.View More
Board Secretary ...View More
Board Secretary Rehab Fayed is Marwa's twin sister and an unbeatable force of nature! Juggling her roles as a mother and life coach with her passionate and relentless work to keep Marwa’s legacy alive through Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run, Rehab is always ready to do more, give more, and go above and beyond expectations when it comes to promoting the organization.
Board Treasurer ...View More
Board Treasurer Zeina Tawakol obtained her BA from the American University in Cairo, where she was awarded the prestigious Mahallawy Award. Tawakol has extensive experience in sustainable development, having worked with children from a range of underprivileged backgrounds. Currently Operational Director of the Aswan Heart Centre – Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation, where she has had an active role in planning and structuring, she also sits on the board of Trustees of Teach for Egypt and is the treasurer of Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run Foundation. Zeina has volunteered for several national and international humanitarian organizations and is also a member of the Clinton Global Initiative Commit to Action team. She is currently studying for an MA in Health Policy at Imperial College London.
Board Member ...View More
Board Member Farag received her BA in Political Science from The American University in Cairo, specializing in International Relations. She later completed an MA in International Relations and Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London, UK. With over 18 years of experience in the fields of social development, humanitarian relief, communication and corporate & social change, Mariam Farag is the leader of the thriving CSR program at MBC Group. Founded and launched in 2013, MBC Group’s CSR arm, MBC Al Amal, is the umbrella for the multitude of campaigns and initiatives that MBC Group is in any way involved in.
Board Member ...View More
Board Member Ahmed Samra is a 2009 graduate from the American University in Cairo, who majored in International Relations with a minor in History. He later completed an MA in International Relations, awarded in 2016. Samra’s work focused on nuclear proliferation and issues related to corruption in the Middle East before he became Senior English Analyst and Editor at the Regional Center for Strategic Studies (RCSS), a think-tank based in Egypt which focuses on the political transformations in the Middle East resulting from the Arab Spring. In 2016, he moved on to a Senior Editor role at CI Capital Research, and he is currently a Product Development Manager at Wild Guanabana.