The Ministry of Public Health launch with UNICEF, Danish Government and the LEGO Foundation the ‘Heal through Play’ project to improve the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of children in Lebanon

07 June 2024
During the launch of the 'Heal through Play' project
UNICEF2024/Fouad-Choufany/Lebanon

7 June 2024 – The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in partnership with UNICEF, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the LEGO Foundation, launched the ‘Heal through Play’ project to provide the most vulnerable children with safe spaces and tools for children to play, learn, express themselves, and return to a sense of normalcy.

’Heal through Play’ integrates the LEGO® play box activities into the child-friendly spaces including primary healthcare centers and targets specific mental health outcomes. Facilitated sessions will leverage the opportunity for play to help foster healing, improve mental health, and strengthen psychosocial well-being for children whose world has been turned upside down.

Thousands of play materials have been distributed across Lebanon. In addition to the direct support for children offered by the integration of LEGO® play boxes into UNICEF’s existing programmes, and in collaboration with the National Mental Health Program, this project will also explore how play can be linked more closely to mental health and psychosocial support. 

Minister Dr Firass Abiad highlighted the importance of the project and the role of mental development during children's growth, emphasizing how essential playing is. He stated, “This project will not be limited to one center but will include a number of primary healthcare centers because it is important to give the necessary attention to children's mental and psychological health to strengthen and help them build their future."

The Minister of Public Health thanked the partners, noting the continuous support provided by UNICEF to all the ministry's projects, especially those related to children. He also thanked the LEGO Foundation and Denmark for their support to the health sector in Lebanon.

Danish Ambassador to Lebanon, Kristoffer Vivike said: “LEGO has a very special place in most Danes hearts, and almost all Danish children play with LEGO. Playing with LEGO inspires creativity and learning for children at all ages: with a box of LEGO you can build anything. We are delighted to be a part of this partnership with the LEGO Foundation, UNICEF and the Lebanese Ministry of Health, and I am thrilled that thousands of children in Lebanon will gain access to this incredible toy and learning tool. Not least in a situation where many children – Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian – are facing extremely tough times. I am confident this partnership will bring hope and joy to many.”

“Supporting children to feel secure in expressing their thoughts and feelings can help shape their understanding of events and environments in ways that may reduce feelings of anxiety and insecurity,” said Ettie Higgins, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Lebanon. “UNICEF partnership with the LEGO Foundation will provide the most vulnerable children with the skilled support to improve their mental health and psychosocial wellbeing while providing training in psychological first aid for facilitators to improve recognition of children in distress.”

In addition to the donation of the play materials over 1364 facilitators are being trained in play-based methods that help children develop a broad set of skills—all in child-friendly spaces and primary healthcare centers.

‘Heal through Play’ will help children develop five crucial skills - physical, creative, cognitive, social, emotional – all of which can improve the quality of their learning, help them recover from the trauma caused by conflict and other traumatic experiences, and help build their resilience.

Media contacts

Christophe Boulierac
Chief of Communications
United Nations Children’s Fund Lebanon
Blanche Baz
Communication Specialist
United Nations Children’s Fund Lebanon

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org/lebanon/.

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