hanoi, vietnam: tohe
I love Tohe!!! Tohe Style is a store (and much more) whose philosophy is 100% playful. Tohe was started via the inspiration of how children view the world: filled with wonder, asking questions, letting you know exactly how they're feeling, and continuously seeing things with fresh, new, happy and loving eyes.
Tohe Fun facilitates creative art playgrounds for disadvantaged and disabled children to play and express themselves. The children are not prompted on how or what to make but rather can freely draw and design as they wish. As I spoke with Van, Communications Director for Tohe, she showed me different pieces made my different children. It is amazing how styles and preferences are established among little artists at such a young age!
Selected artworks are then converted into merchandise, such as, clothes, accessories, homeware, toys, etc. and the profits go back to Tohe Fun, art classes and the artist themselves. Tohe Fun visits over 20 centers with 2,000 children on a weekly basis!!
As you walk into the store, a smile immediately hits your face. You are greeted with pops and splashes of color and all sorts of children's drawings. Unfiltered, uninhibited, completely real and authentic. I purchased the banana passport holder on the right from a little artist who never leaves any white spaces... (reminded me of my art style too :)
Van and her team have been working with the centers for over 10 years- building sustained, amazing relationships with the kids. I loved hearing Van's stories about how different kids like to draw and then seeing what their interpretations were. I am such a believer in art having healing properties through its ability to facilitate meditation and expression. It is amazing how Tohe brings fun, freedom and creativity to the kids and the kids bring the same to adults via the products in the store!
Tohe Fun brings such joy to children who need it most. I was so moved by these warm and beautiful drawings that emit happiness, yet being created by some who have been through the hardest of circumstances. Tohe products and artwork are a great reminder of being playful, letting loose, and seeing the world more like a child... a recurring theme for me in Vietnam!!
On that note, I'm getting ready to doodle on my plane to Bali :)