Find Refuge, a tech platform that unites those in need with people who can help across the world, has launched Circle of Toys, a circular gift-giving initiative connecting British and Ukrainian families.

The initiative which launched ahead of the Christmas gift-giving season saw 20,000 Ukrainian-based gift-seekers sign up to receive toy donations from the British public, preventing millions of toys from reaching landfill. Donations are being encouraged into the new year to continue supporting families and increasing the sustainability of gifting.

The secure tech platform makes it simple to spread joy to the families of Ukraine, with gift-givers able to sign up and register themselves as a sender in seconds. Gift-givers then select from a list of families who have signed up to the website, letting them match their donation to the likes and interests of the gift seekers.

Applications are moderated to ensure gifting is safe, genuine and sincere and that it's going to the right child. Once approved, gift-givers receive the family's mailing address to send their toy to through Circle of Toys' direct donation gifting scheme. The tech platform has an in-built translator to aid communication, allowing people to share festive messages of goodwill as well as presents.

Donations are still being encouraged into the new year to brighten the lives of Ukrainian families. Traditionally gifts are exchanged on New Year's Eve rather than Christmas Day, as New Year occurs before Orthodox Christmas - January 7th - however many families have  switched their celebrations to December 25th in support of Western traditions following the invasion by Russia. 

Arthur Corvin Powells, CEO at Circle of Toys, said: "Technology is a powerful tool that, when used correctly, can tap into the goodness of people. We created Circle of Toys to try to give children in need all around the world some normalcy this Christmas and New Year. The platform is easy to use for people of all technical abilities. We also considered how to add a personal touch to the tech when connecting families, so added the ability to share and translate messages..

"Making a difference to just one family and creating a childhood filled with play, love, and warmth, Circle of Toys would have already served its purpose. If we can scale that to the 20,000 families that have registered to receive a gift, we can really prove the concept that, when given an opportunity, humans are good. This tech has many applications beyond gift-giving, and it also allows us to try to help people support one another beyond just Ukraine ahead of other calendar dates and gift-giving events. 

"What we really want to achieve is the circularity of items ordinarily thrown away. When one child outgrows a toy another should grow into it. With this philosophy, we want to give people a chance to bring play, joy and a new item of treasure to thousands of people globally.

"All our gift seekers greatly appreciate the gifts they receive - to a lot of them, they seem like a miracle. Let's try to ensure that more children have as close to a real childhood as possible. If we cannot do that, I'm not sure we are doing it right."

Find Refuge was created through a desire to help the millions of Ukrainians affected by the Russian invasion of their country. The vast majority (80%) of children have been affected by the ongoing war in Ukraine. To date, Circle of Toys has amassed more than 20,000 Ukrainian sign-ups and received the support of over 3,000 volunteers from around the world.

Please visit the Circle of Toys project and find out how you can sign up to be a gift giver