Children’s toys are something that fill every family home to the rafters. Seemingly, no matter where you turn there is a pile of much-loved toys just waiting to be played with, but do they really represent the little people who treasure them?
From action figures and dolls to cuddly toys and cartoon characters, one thing that is quite striking about the products on offer to our children is that they don’t reflect all children. Nia Ballerina is a UK based company, and the people who live in Britain come from diverse cultures therefore more must be done to encourage the dreams and passions of all of its next generation. This is only possible if every child grows up in a society in which they feel represented and included.
Nia Ballerina grew from my inability to find a music box featuring a black ballerina for my little girl. She loved ballet even before she was old enough to try it for herself, and I simply wanted a toy that she could connect with. Extensive search told me that black ballerinas were and still are hugely underrepresented in the ballet industry,......and wondered if this is what the world is telling my little girl?
Whilst Nia Ballerina was developed as a toy for my daughter, I now think it is important that I help to raise awareness across the toy industry and beyond of the need for complete representation and inclusion. Recently featured on ITV This Morning Show (1), Nia Ballerina aims to allow child around the world who have a passion for ballet to enjoy hours of fun with a music box that they can relate to.
During the ITV feature, presenter and singer, Jamelia searched high and low in some of the UK’s leading toy shops and found only a handful of children’s toys that were non-white. Whilst there are signs that the industry is heading in the right direction, this is a process that we need to accelerate so that all children are fully represented within the society we live in.
My hope is that Nia Ballerina will play her part in giving every child the choice to play with a toy that they can enjoy and relate to. After all, if toys are not for inspiring children to be who they want to be, then what are they for?
(1) Broadcast on ITV This Morning 03/05/17