Solar-powered gospel toys

Hannah Rueber

Meet Bertil (Sweden), a man with a passion for refugees seeking to make a difference through solar-panelled toys. Teens at TeenStreet (TS) paid 5 Euros to design, assemble and paint a wooden toy before attaching a solar panel-powered propeller on top. Having completed this craft that they’ve invested in, they had to donate their handicraft to be distributed to refugee families.

“In the world today, kids seem to always be asking, ‘What can I get?’” Bertil explained. “[Through this kind of project], I want to change their mindset and get them to say, ‘What can I give?’ just to be a blessing to someone else.”

A number of years ago, children from the UN spoke to their leaders. One of them said, “Don’t say we are the future. We are here now.” That’s part of what Bertil wants to do: focus on the youth of today.

 “These toys are something we came up with. The [teens] make them—they’re each individually, uniquely made—and then give them away to refugee families. They put in the time to put all of the individual pieces together and make this toy for someone else.”

Due to the solar panel, each toy should last for 1,000 hours or more. “It’s a gift that you (the person who made it) has invested in and is now giving that away to a family who will have something to enjoy for years to come,” Bertil shared. “The whole idea of solar panels is that these refugee children have nothing: no batteries, no electricity… but they have sun. They don’t need anything else to enjoy these.”

Still in a what-can-I-get mindset, some teens have completed one of the unique, personalised toys and asked, ‘Can I keep it?’

“I tell them no,” Bertil said, “unless they make two. The first one has to be given away.”

If the gesture itself wasn’t enough, there is also a gospel message that can be given along with the toy to refuges families. As Bertil told and showed the teens,

“In the beginning, God created us and gave us life (hold the toy in the sun to allow the top to spin from the sun). Then sin came into our lives (cover the solar panel so the top stops spinning) and our relationship with God broke. Then tell them about Jesus, about who He is. He washes away our sin and (uncover the solar panel, and the top begins to spin again) gives us life again.”

To see Bertil demonstrate these amazing, hand-crafted, solar panelled Gospel toys, click HERE.