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Mon 27 Sep 2021 | by Rob Hutchins

The LEGO Foundation donates $150m to Covid-hit kids

The LEGO Foundation has pledged a $150 million donation to support children and families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic across the world. Around half ($70 million) of the donation to UNICEF will be used to support access to vital vaccines and health supplies for parents, teachers, and caregivers in vulnerable communities around the world. The pledge has been made in recognition of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have on health systems around the world, as well as children’s access to education, the way their families earn an income, and how safe they feel in their homes, communities, and countries. The LEGO Foundation has billed it ‘a child right’s crisis.’ The remaining $80 million of the donation will enable the Foundation’s numerous partners, such as BRAC, to continue to work with children to accelerate ongoing Covid-19 recovery. The pledge, issued at the Global Citizen Live event held on September 25th, 2021, builds on the $50 million donation the Foundation made back in March 2020. “The Covid-19 pandemic has completely re-shaped - and in many cases devastated - the lives of millions of children worldwide. It’s our responsibility to invest in children to ensure they continue to have access to education and develop skills critical for them to thrive in a constantly changing world,” said Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, chair of the Governing Board, The LEGO Foundation. “It’s our hope that others will see this as a high priority for investments. If we do not all invest now, we risk significant setbacks in child development, which will impact us all for generations.” Figures suggest that some 90 per cent of children across the globe have had their education interrupted due to Covid-19, and while ‘lost-learning’ to children has been widely reported, the full scale of the impact is largely unknown. Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has put a heavy toll on children, especially the most vulnerable ones, It kept them away from their schools and their friends, forced them into labour and child marriage, and pushed their families deeper into poverty. “This is a global crisis and it calls for action from all of us: governments, international organisations, businesses and individuals. We thank the LEGO Foundation for its generous contribution. By helping us provide critical vaccines to those who need them the most, this donation puts us one step closer to achieving vaccine equity and getting our lives - and our economies - back on track.” For the BRAC Institutue of Educational Development, the funding will help to scale outreach and support for early childhood development and improving the mental health of children and their caregivers across Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Uganda. Erum Mariam, executive director of BRAC Institute of Educational Development, BRAC University, said: “We are delighted to be able to continue our Play Lab partnership with the LEGO Foundation to deliver remote and digital playful learning experience to young children and their families as we navigate the pandemic.”