A letter from our Founder: How Follies is Supporting Refugee Children

·3 mins read

In 2018 I had the honor of running a play workshop with children in refugee camps in Greece where I am from originally. One of the first things I noticed was that the camp was packed with really young kids and there was no space for them to play. As a designer, I went into research mode and quickly found out that playgrounds cost thousands of dollars to purchase and install. I made a low cost prototype called “Play In A Box” and took it to the camp to test it out. It had all sorts of toys inside: balls, hula hoops and puzzles. My goal was to create some kind of low cost pop-up play space. Of course, the kids started to play with the box more, as kids do and the idea of something that would replicate that feeling of creating a space, but also last more than cardboard, was seeded in my head. I was really passionate about this idea so I started working on it on the side of my full time job. I even pitched it to a few big international development organizations. They loved it, but they thought it was too early to commit any funding, so I put the idea to rest. Then a year later, COVID happened and well, my kids for starters were jumping off the walls, so I thought ok, let’s try to revisit this idea and see what happens. My daughter helped me with my first prototypes and Follies was born.

I am proud to share that we are now not only shipping a beautiful modular toy, but thanks to your support we are also serving displaced children through product donations and partnerships. 

We are so excited to announce today that we are partnering with the NGO Odyssea to create a pilot program that supports refugee communities in Athens, Greece. 

Watch the video from our first pilot:

Play is an essential part of childhood. It keeps our children healthy and happy.  In fact, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child declares that every child has the right to engage in play. Thank you for supporting every child's right to play through getting your own set of Follies. 

In Gratitude,

Chloe Varelidi,
Founder & Designer