In the late seventies of the last century Arie van Kooten and Ger Limpens met at the university of Utrecht. They both studied mathematics and shared a great love for music. Their social commitment led to the publication of a magazine (“Pique”) of which they were the main editors. In 1979 Arie left for a period of three years to teach in Zambia. They kept in touch writing each other. In 1981 Arie married Dyness Nkole Kalwala from Kalwala Village in the north of Zambia (approximately ten kilometers from the district capital Chinsali). Arie and his family returned to the Netherlands, but in the early nineties Arie, Dyness and their children left again for a three year period to Africa, Zimbabwe this time. Again Arie and Ger kept in contact, writing letters. Because Arie wanted to keep several Dutch friends and relatives informed about their life in Zimbabwe, it was decided that Ger would intermediate in this news service. Arie would write about his findings, send them to Ger who would copy and send them to over 250 addresses, most of them in the Netherlands. Ger opened an account for running this news service. Their shared love for music provided a name for the account: “Joy of a Toy” is the title of a song of the first album of the British ‘avant garde’ band The Soft Machine. The guitar player of the band, Kevin Ayers, named his first album after this song. On this album he recorded a different version: “Joy of a Toy continued”.
The money raised by the subscribers of the newsletter was used to support the people of Kalwala Village in their battle against hunger and poverty. The subscribers agreed, and many of them donated considerable amounts. In 1994 family van Kooten returned to the Netherlands. The action committee Joy of a Toy stayed alive, first on a small scale, sending medication, food and clothes to Kalwala Village. From 2000 onwards the project worked on a larger scale by constructing and maintaining (amongst other issues) an orphanage, a medical clinic , a primary school, a nursery school and a secondary school. On page Infrastructure one can find a complete overview of all buildings realised by the Foundation.