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.