New games awaken the creative spirit of children
Over 16,000 students take part in the “LEGO® Build the Change” workshops organized by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education, and share ideas for a more child-friendly world.
On this unusual day, clicking noises can be heard at the entrance of Ampefiloha public primary school in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. Students from Grade 4 have just finished their morning class and are called to gather in another classroom, where a special welcome is in store. The children cannot contain their surprise to see the colourful LEGO bricks spread out on the tables.
Teacher Lalaharindratana Reine Evelyne explains the reasons behind this “LEGO Build the Change” workshop. The students listen carefully to the instructions, while eagerly waiting to share their ideas and hopes for the future by using the LEGO bricks and their imaginations. It is not every day that they are asked to express themselves through a playful activity, with most of the Grade 4 students playing with LEGO bricks for the very first time.
“We don't offer any extracurricular activities at our school, but students find ways to play using their own means. We are glad to be involved in this activity because building games with LEGO bricks stimulates their minds and awakens their creativity” explains Evelyne, who supervised the students during the workshop.
11-year-old Anita built a house filled with different characters and created a festive atmosphere. “I love birthday parties and I wish every child could celebrate their birthday in this way”, she explains shyly.
Build the Change for children
In 2022, UNICEF’s Supply Division celebrated 60 years of operations in Denmark, helping children across the world to access the supplies they need to survive and thrive. To highlight this important milestone and support the rights of children to access supplies and play, UNICEF teamed up with the Danish company the LEGO Group to launch “LEGO Build the Change” workshops. Four countries, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Egypt and Madagascar are rolling out this special collaboration to involve children from different backgrounds to build a more child-friendly world using LEGO bricks and other available materials as a means of expression. The ideas and solutions shared by the children will inform potential product innovations for UNICEF supplies in the future.
“Most of the children who study at our school come from underprivileged backgrounds. This is a meaningful opportunity for them to participate and have a say in the kind of future they wish to see. It is a fun way to learn through play and discover new means to express themselves through engaging games,” shares Rakotonirina Harijaona, director of Ampefiloha public primary school.
UNICEF and the Ministry of Education organized similar workshops in 25 public primary schools in five regions of Madagascar with 16,000 students in total benefitting from this initiative.
At the end of the workshop in Ampefiloha, everyone went home feeling excited to have explored new horizons using the power of play.
“I built a big presidential palace because I would like to become President of the Republic when I grow up, so that I can help the poor” explains 10-year-old Sitraka, a determined student who participated in this workshop. Faravavy (10 years old), another participant, built an animal park because according to her, an environment with fauna and flora is the best environment to live.