The LEGO Foundation donates $7m to help Ukrainian refugee children with access to play and learning
The funds will be used to create play and early learning hubs in host countries Moldova and Romania for young children and families fleeing the war in Ukraine
GENEVA / COPENHAGEN, 7 December 2022 - The LEGO Foundation today announced a $7 million donation to help UNICEF reach Ukrainian refugee children and their families with access to play and learning activities.
The funds will be used to create 35 new play and learning hubs in Moldova and Romania for young children fleeing war in Ukraine, as well as children from the host countries. Additionally, the LEGO Foundation will provide the centres with more than 10,000 LEGO PlayBoxes.
This announcement comes as UNICEF launched its Humanitarian Action for Children appeal, which highlights that more children need humanitarian assistance than at any other time since the Second World War.
“Children fleeing the violence in Ukraine have endured trauma, loss, and uncertainty about the future. We need to reach them with play and learning activities -- and provide them with a safe environment where they can get the support and care they need,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “The support of our long-term partner The LEGO Foundation will help UNICEF and our partners to restore a sense of normalcy for Ukrainian children by providing them with the building blocks for their recovery.”
The war in Ukraine has forced nearly 7.4 million people - of which 90 per cent are women and children – to flee their homes and seek safety in neighbouring countries.
“This donation seeks to ensure the children of Ukraine, in neighbouring countries such as Moldova and Romania, can continue their education despite the severe disruption they have experienced due to the war, and before that the global pandemic,’ said Oksana Roma, Country Manager Ukraine, the LEGO Foundation. “Working with trusted and valued partners, like UNICEF, we will help maintain learning opportunities that develop the skills children need for the future, including the provision of social and emotional support. This is critical for all children, including those whose family’s lives have been affected by the war,” she added.
The contribution from the LEGO Foundation will help UNICEF to:
- Establish 15 play and learning hubs within existing community centres across Moldova and 20 play hubs across Romania, reaching more than 200,000 young refugee and host countries’ children.
- Support the integration of refugee children in early education settings in Moldova and Romania through training pre-school teachers and staff; and strengthen work with local and national policy makers.
- Renovate play and learning spaces with child friendly furniture and the provision of play and learning materials such as early child education kits, toys and books.
- Provide parents with mental health and psychosocial support, and training in positive parenting techniques and language courses.
- Support community building, social cohesion, and integration for Ukrainian and host families with young children.
Approximately 100,000 children will be reached with LEGO PlayBoxes. Learning through play helps children develop skills that can improve their quality of learning, help them recover from trauma caused by conflict and build resilience.
UNICEF and the LEGO Foundation have been partners since 2015, focusing on child wellbeing and empowering children to become creative, lifelong learners through play. Earlier this year the LEGO Foundation donated $3.7 million to UNICEF’s humanitarian efforts for children in Ukraine.
For further information, please contact:
Laila Ali, UNICEF Geneva, +41 76 784 65 32
About the LEGO Foundation
The LEGO Foundation aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow; a mission that it shares with the LEGO Group. The LEGO Foundation is dedicated to building a future where learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners. Its work is about re-defining play and re-imagining learning. In collaboration with thought leaders, influencers, educators and parents the LEGO Foundation aims to equip, inspire and activate champions for learning through play. Learn more on www.learningthroughplay.com.
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. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
UNICEF does not endorse any company, brand, product, or service.