Denmark, Billund, 1st September 2022 - The LEGO Foundation is donating 100M DKK (approximately 13.6M USD) to support the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the education system within Ukraine and the educational needs of the children and families who have fled to neighbouring countries.
Since the start of the ongoing war in Ukraine, approximately 15.7 million people are in need of help, 12.4 million* have been displaced and 3.6 million** Ukrainian children have had their education disrupted. Today’s donation aims to ensure Ukraine’s children have the chance to continue learning during their crucial developmental years while also ensuring that mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) is available to support well-being.
The new 100M DKK follows the March 2022 emergency donation of 110M DKK made jointly by the LEGO Foundation, the LEGO Group and Ole Kirk’s Fond for the provision of general humanitarian aid for the Ukrainian people. The latest funds to support the recovery of Ukraine and will be distributed via LEGO Foundation partners including United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the MHPSS Collaborative and Peppy Pals, as well as other organisations already working in Ukraine. The LEGO Foundation will also directly donate equipment to education institutions.
Oksana Roma, Country Manager Ukraine, The LEGO Foundation says, “As we start a new academic year in Ukraine, we must acknowledge how different an experience it will be for many of our children. Traditionally, this day is celebrated with ‘First Bell’ ceremonies in class that highlight the importance of children’s education for the successful future of Ukraine. This donation seeks to ensure the children of Ukraine, either in Ukraine or 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"
Oksana continues: “Over 2,300 education institutions have so far been damaged by bombing and shelling during the war with 286 completely destroyed**. Working with trusted and valued partners, we will help maintain learning opportunities that develop the skills children need for the future. This has always been, and will continue to be, crucial to building a world that offers inclusive equitable education for all.”*
The LEGO Foundation has worked closely with the government of Ukraine for the past 12 years reaching 4 million children in over 15,000 schools and 300 kindergartens with play-based learning through its partnership with Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science (MoES). The latest donation has also been coordinated with the Ukraine Education Cluster and the MoES to help ensure support goes to essential services that put Ukrainian families, teachers and children first.
Serhii Shkarlet, the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, says: “War has inevitably changed the lives of Ukrainian people and it has deeply affected the psychological state of children, students, teachers and parents. This is why one of our priorities is providing the right psychosocial support for all of those involved in the education of children and we will unite the efforts of the state, public sector and international partners to keep our education systems operating. We hope the support provided by the LEGO Foundation will be a significant contribution to ensuring this happens and will help provide effective means to promote the well-being of teachers and children.”
The LEGO Foundation is committed to supporting the rehabilitation and rebuilding of education systems as well as the provision of social and emotional support to those children and families who have been affected by the war. This includes Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) to ensure the continuity of learning in kindergartens, schools and collective centres, as well as provision of education materials and equipment that enable ongoing access to learning.
Education Cannot Wait recently reported that an estimated 222million**** school-aged children and adolescents are in crises globally and in urgent need of educational support. These include 78.2 million who are out of school and 119.6 million who are in school but not achieving minimum competencies in mathematics and reading. 25% of the LEGO Foundation’s grants are directed towards learning and education opportunities for children in emergencies and crisis settings.
. * UNOCHA, “Ukraine: Humanitarian Impact Situation Report,” 19 May 2022. Ukraine: Situation Report, 19 May 2022 - Ukraine | ReliefWeb
. ** Education in emergency (saveschools.in.ua)
. *** MoES, August 2022
. **** Global Estimates: Number of Crisis-Affected Children and Adolescents in Need of Education Support
Notes To Editors
Further detail on the donation partners:
- MHPSS Collaborative: To create a comprehensive module on mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) to be delivered through the system of pre-service and in-service training institutions. The module will be implemented nationally during the 2022-2023 academic year to ensure new and current Ukrainian teachers have access to and are systemically trained on MHPSS.
- Peppy Pals: The LEGO Foundation will translate and adapt the Peppy Pals suite of tools for Ukraine. The suite consists of a set of language-free applications, books and movies to teach kids ages 2-6 about emotions and empathy through play. The LEGO Foundation will make them accessible to teachers, parents, and children in the Foundation-supported educational institutions and eventually scaled nationally with support from the Ministry.
- UNICEF: UNICEF will provide support to young children and their mothers/caregivers in Moldova and Romania by establishing play and learning hubs at the municipal level. UNICEF will also work with the Governments of these countries to expand service provision and ensure access to quality early childhood development services for Ukrainian refugee and host country children.
- Details of additional fund recipients will follow in the coming months.
First Bell: 1st September is celebrated as Day of Knowledge in Ukraine. This is a national day that marks the official start of the academic year in all educational institutions. First Bell refers to the tradition of the first bell being rung in the morning to mark the start of the new school year. The bell is usually rung by one of the new members of the school – a first grade student. The First Bell is also a symbol of peace, safety and well-being.
March 2022: 110M DKK Emergency Donation made jointly by the LEGO Foundation, the LEGO Group and Ole Kirk’s Fond. For more information visit https://learningthroughplay.com/how-we-play/ukraine/
About the LEGO Foundation
The LEGO Foundation shares the mission of the LEGO Group: to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. The Foundation, which owns 25% of the LEGO Group, is dedicated to building a future in which learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners. It is through the ownership model, that a portion of profits go to funding research projects, activities and partnerships. In 2021 for example, the LEGO Foundation provided grants of DKK 2.8 billion (USD 443.9 million) to initiatives which help children reach their full potential through play. The LEGO Foundation works in collaboration with thought leaders, influencers, educators and parents aiming to re-define play, re-imagine learning and equip, inspire and activate champions for play. www.learningthroughplay.com
Image credit is © UNICEF/UN0691462/Hrom.
For information - on 25 July 2022, a view of the damage caused to the school in Buzova, Ukraine, which was heavily impacted by hostilities in February and March 2022.