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The Lego Foundation and Kirkbi announce £11.5m grand to support vulnerable children in Haiti and Afghanistan

Thu 02 Sep 2021 | 09:16 am GMT
Katie Roberts-Mason | Products of Change Writer

The Lego Foundation has announced that it will give 30m Danish Krone (DKK) to UNHCR, 20m DKK to UNICEF, and 35m DKK to ECW to be distributed in due course, as the needs of the emergencies unfold. “The humanitarian crises that are happening in Haiti and Afghanistan are unimaginable and only intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Both require a response that focuses attention on the immediate and long-term impacts,” said Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, chair of the governing board, The Lego Foundation, and 4th generation representative of the Lego owner family “Kirkbi and the Lego Foundation, as the owners of the Lego Group, have an immense opportunity to respond to the crises. With the grant, we hope to take a targeted approach to support the needs of the people of Haiti and Afghanistan – not least the children who are in a urgent need of protection assistance.” Prior to the current crisis, almost half of the population of Afghanistan (18.4 million people and 8.2 million children) were in need of humanitarian aid. Since May, over half a million people have been displaced and their rights gravely endangered. John Goodwin, ceo, The Lego Foundation, commented: “These grants are an important part of our ongoing commitment to supporting children affected by crises. We know that by giving attention to young children and their continued access to learning in crisis settings, especially their early stimulation needs, we can make a big positive difference to them immediately and in the long-term. “Together, we hope to provide more children with access to early childhood and education services needed to develop skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving. Social and emotional skills are vital for children to overcome the stressors caused by crisis situations, and build resilience and adapt to the needs of the rapidly changing world.”  The 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on August 14th, followed by Tropical Storm Grace, has left 500,000 Haitian children with limited or no access to shelter, safe water, healthcare, and nutrition. With COVID-19 still an imminent threat, the most recent natural disaster only further compounds the dire situation so many children and families are experiencing. “As a global fund dedicated to education in emergencies, our First Emergency Response is one of impatience. Education cannot wait until the emergency is over. Thanks to the rapid support by the LEGO Foundation we can now establish safe learning spaces for children, and provide mental health and psychological social support without delay” said Yasmine Sherif, director, Education Cannot Wait.  “Early Childhood Education needs are central to our response, alongside other components of quality education. In Afghanistan, this additional funding will enable us to continue implementing community-based education to target the most vulnerable children, with an emphasis on girls.”
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