The multitude of humanitarian crises of our time poses a high risk for the young children impacted by these crises and can have a detrimental impact on their long-term development.

Play can reduce stress and anxiety levels associated with adversity, and help children develop socio-emotional competencies and self-regulation skills as they interact with peers and adults, why the LEGO Foundation has engaged with some of the leading organisations within the humanitarian field to provide play-based learning to the most vulnerable children and call attention to the critical importance of learning through play to set them on a path of healthy growth and development.

Learn more about our projects here:

Play to Learn: Bringing the power of play to children affected by the Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises

Play to Learn is an innovative new program from Sesame Workshop, BRAC, and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) that harnesses the power of play to deliver critical early learning opportunities to children and caregivers affected by conflict and displacement. Made possible by a landmark $100M award from the LEGO Foundation, Play to Learn is reaching families affected by the Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises through direct services and educational media. Our program, tailored to meet the needs of the local context, provides the essential building blocks of play-based learning and lays the foundation for transformational change in early childhood development by generating a set of tested, scalable, and transportable models for use in other humanitarian crises globally—allowing us to reach generations of children affected by crisis and displacement, no matter where they are.

Play to Learn: Bringing the power of play to children affected by the Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises

Help increase access to quality learning in emergencies and protracted crises

High quality early childhood education supports school readiness and the social and emotional learning needed for successful transitions from emergency situations, why the LEGO Foundation has awarded a $12.5 million grant to Education Cannot Wait (ECW) to bring quality learning experiences to children in emergency situations as part of a joint pledge with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. State Department Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). 

ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises. The fund was established during the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 to help prioritize education on the humanitarian agenda, foster a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground and raise additional funding to ensure that every child impacted by crisis is learning.

The $12.5 million grant for Education Cannot Wait was announced during 2019 Global Citizen Festival

PlayMatters: Learning through Play for children in East Africa

The LEGO Foundation has significantly increased its investment for children affected by humanitarian crises by announcing the second US$100 million grant. This new grant, awarded to a consortium led by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), will positively impact learning experiences of nearly a million children between age 3-12+ years, impacted by the humanitarian crises in east Africa. This major initiative will improve education outcomes for approximately 800,000 refugee children in Ethiopia and Uganda, reaching approximately 10,000 pre-primary and primary school teachers and education personnel and 170,000 primary caregivers, all of who will receive training to engage in learning through play with children who have faced adversities.

There are more than 70 million displaced people in the world and almost half of them are children. Most of these displaced peoples spend on an average 10 years of their lives living as refugees. This means millions of children are spend a significant part of their childhoods without access to education and play opportunities. Play is a powerful contributor to children’s positive development and research shows that play-based pre-primary and primary learning experiences can build the skills needed for holistic development, mitigate the impact of adversity and support the resilience children need to thrive. East Africa has been suffering under persistent conflicts for the last 30 years, resulting in ongoing displacement of millions of people. Yet, donor and media attention has largely ceased.

2019 LEGO Foundation Humanitarian Grant announcement