War Toys

Using toys as creative, therapeutic tools, this organization is dedicated to helping children overcome war-related trauma

Courtesy Brian McCarty / War Toys

Courtesy Brian McCarty / War Toys

Founded in 2019, War Toys pairs a uniquely artistic approach with a firm rehabilitative focus. Advocating for children affected by war, it utilizes locally obtained toys as a means of processing first-hand accounts of loss. Partnered with various NGOs and UN agencies, the nonprofit empowers youth voices across various conflict zones throughout the world. Producing artwork to engage and explore the lived experiences of those shaped by various forms of warfare, the institution aspires to bring about change through exhibitions, campaigns, and media engagement.

Currently based in California, War Toys connects experts in expressive therapies and childhood development with toy designers and manufacturers, aiming to make meaningful changes to the ways in which products are disseminated and represented. Foregrounding a sense of catharsis and healing, the charity also builds educational programs, providing caregivers and educators with invaluable support in their respective fields. Helping children process and manage their distress, specialized support is offered as the core tenet of the organization’s ethos.

Courtesy Brian McCarty / War Toys

Courtesy Brian McCarty / War Toys

Courtesy Brian McCarty / War Toys

Courtesy Brian McCarty / War Toys

Courtesy Brian McCarty / War Toys

Courtesy Brian McCarty / War Toys

Courtesy Brian McCarty / War Toys

Brian McCarty, Executive director & president

Photographer, art director, producer, and Fulbright Specialist, Brian spent 20 years in the toy industry, working for companies including Mattel, Hasbro, Disney, and Nickelodeon. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, he has spent the last ten years focusing efforts on documenting the experiences of children living in Middle Eastern conflict zones. Brian currently heads up the organization as its key executive stakeholder.

Myra Saad, Director of healing programs & board member

Art therapist and executive director of the Artichoke Studio in Beirut, Myra has worked on the War Toys photo series since 2014. She’s recently been involved with workshops for displaced refugee children in the Middle East, focusing upon marginalized stories of innocence lost. At present, Myra oversees War Toys’ Healing Programs, as well as coordinating various operations as a valued board member.