The LEGO Foundation, the charity set up by the LEGO Group’s owners, has awarded a $100 million grant to the Sesame Workshop so that young children who have been impacted by the Rohingya and Syrian crises will have the opportunity to learn through play.
Working with BRAC, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and New York University’s Global TIES for Children, Sesame Workshop is helping children affected by crises in Bangladesh and Syria. Some of the most vulnerable children in the world will benefit from a $100 million grant from the LEGO Foundation.
Worldwide, there are 68.5 million displaced people, with 12.5 million refugee children within that figure. That means that millions of children are missing our on key development opportunities, which can lead to significant wellbeing problems throughout their life.
“This partnership marks the first step of the LEGO Foundation’s commitment to work within the humanitarian field to support children’s holistic development that incorporates learning through play. We hope to inspire other funders, humanitarian actors, world leaders and governments to act and urgently prioritise support for play-based early childhood development for children in humanitarian crises—a vastly overlooked but vital component in the progress of humanitarian aid. We hope that young children impacted by these crises will have opportunities to benefit from learning through play and also develop the skills needed for them to thrive in the future,” said Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, Chairman of the LEGO Foundation Board and 4th generation owner of the LEGO Group.
Of the global humanitarian aid budget, less than 3% is spent on education. The LEGO Foundation has committed to making a difference to children impacted by conflict and displacement.
“Research shows that not only is play vital for children’s psychological, emotional and cognitive health and development, but it also hones the resilience they need to overcome adversity and build their futures. Early adverse experiences negatively affect the development of brain architecture, which provides the foundation for all future learning, behavior and health. By providing play-based learning to children in crisis, we can help mitigate the detrimental, long term effects of displacement and trauma, ultimately giving a generation of refugee children a path forward,” said John Goodwin, CEO of the LEGO Foundation.
Sesame Workshop will use the $100 million grant to implement quality, play-based early childhood interventions, working in partnership with BRAC and IRC. These will include Play Labs with BRAC, new Sesame content, a program to help caregivers and video content for refugee children.
“With the LEGO Foundation’s extraordinary award, Sesame Workshop and our partners have an unprecedented opportunity to reach and teach some of the world’s most vulnerable children by harnessing the power of learning through play,” said Jeffrey D. Dunn, President & CEO of Sesame Workshop. “The global refugee crisis is the humanitarian issue of our time, and we are deeply humbled by the trust the LEGO Foundation has placed in us to uplift the lives of children affected by conflict. Together with our partners at BRAC, the IRC, and NYU, we can forge a legacy for children worldwide affected by displacement, today and for generations to come.”