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items repurposed & distributed to date
This month, CBC Toronto has been recognizing champions in their communities — people like Aiza Abid, a 22-year-old whose foundation has helped improve the lives of children across the Greater Toronto Area and around the world. Natalie Kalata has more on her remarkable effort.

Since 2013, Aiza’s Teddybear Foundation has sent hundreds of thousands of “bear hugs” in the form of teddies, warm clothing, school supplies, books and good food to children in need across the globe.

Why teddybears?

Once the physical needs (shelter, warmth, clothing & food) of a child are met, the emotional needs (love & affection) must be fulfilled. Teddy bears are a glimpse into our effort to give back childhood to children who have been deprived of their rights to healthy & happy formative years.

* Delivering presentations about the rights & freedoms of all children
* Leading empathy building, storytelling & self-reflecting workshops
* Creating free clothing store spaces in local homeless shelters
* Repurposing and distributing second-hand clothing items to families in need
* Supporting refugee families as they build a new life in Canada
* Creating at-home libraries for students learning at home during the pandemic
* Providing hundreds of backpacks filled with school supply items for students in need each year
* Mentoring aspiring young activists through our Youth Advisory Board
* Providing youth with service learning opportunities

* Filling underfunded classrooms with school supplies, books, and other resources
* Providing underfunded classrooms with heating systems and students with warm sweaters in the winter 
* Furnishing homes in impoverished communities with beds, ovens and kitchen appliances
* Providing good quality clothing to families in need
* Economic empowerment for single mothers and aspiring artisans (providing sewing machines and knitting supplies to help women earn an income to support their families)
* Providing school fees and uniforms to children who would otherwise be coerced into laborious conditions
* Funding nutritious meal programs for orphans and malnourished children in Southeast Asia