UNICEF and LEGO Foundation provide conflict-affected children a chance to play and learn
Kyiv, Ukraine - 7 September: Today, UNICEF and the LEGO Foundation launched a local initiative to provide conflict-affected children in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine with high quality play materials to continue their development and learning. Children in 48 schools, 62 kindergartens, and 10 Community Protection Centres located in government-controlled areas will benefit from this initiative.
“Children’s right to play is stipulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is fundamental to quality early learning and cognitive development, as well as to help conflict-affected children cope with stress and trauma,” said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine. "This partnership with the LEGO Foundation enables UNICEF to provide a chance to play and learn to over 18,000 conflict-affected children”.
Children are paying the highest price in the humanitarian crisis that continues to worsen in Ukraine. As a result of the extended violence, children have been suffering enormous levels of stress, having witnessed violent fighting and shelling. At least 178,000 children have been forced to flee their homes and displaced within Ukraine. Thousands of conflict-affected children in eastern Ukraine do not have access to education. Didactic materials, books, and particularly games, which engage children in learning through play, are limited.
In the midst of violence and instability, playing and education help to alleviate trauma for conflict-affected children.
“Play can help children address stress and develop physical, intellectual and social skills as well as creativity,” said Mirjam Schöning, Global Head of Programmes and Partnerships at the LEGO Foundation. “Play is the natural approach by which children learn, develop and give meaning to the world in which they live. It is the most inspiring way for them to acquire the skills needed to create new possibilities and meet the many challenges of the future. As a Foundation, we have been working in Ukraine for many years and want to ensure with this collaboration that we can also reach those children affected by the conflict.”
This initiative in Ukraine is a part of the global cooperation between the LEGO Foundation and UNICEF announced in March 2015, which aims to promote quality early learning through play for children around the world. In Ukraine, over 1,600 LEGO Charity Boxes will be donated to support play and early childhood development opportunities to over 18,000 children in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. In addition, over 500 educators and caregivers will be taught to understand and use play as a tool for children’s stimulation and learning.
For more information, please contact:
Veronika Vashchenko, UNICEF Kyiv, Tel +38 044 254 2450, firstname.lastname@example.org
Christina Witcomb, LEGO Foundation, Tel +45 2030 8496, Christina.witcomb@LEGO.com
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org.ua. Join us on Twitter, Facebook and ВКонтакте.
About the LEGO Foundation:
The LEGO Foundation shares the mission of the LEGO Group: to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. The 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 play: www.LEGOfoundation.com. Join us on Twitter and Facebook.