Lego and ‘Sesame Street’ unite with $100m project to benefit refugee children

There’s no greater image than that of a happy, healthy child playing and giggling.

Photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop

By Dana Feldman

 

Below is en excerpt of a piece originally published in Forbes. Click here to view the full piece.

There’s no greater image than that of a happy, healthy child playing and giggling. Unfortunately, as we all know, this isn’t the reality for many children the world over.

The LEGO FoundationSesame Workshop and organizations working with Syrian and Rohingya refugees have teamed up on a humanitarian project announced today in an effort to change the daunting reality for refugee children. The goal is to help children up to age six heal from trauma with play-based learning programs.

LEGO will provide $100 million over the course of five years to the creators of Sesame Street to expand their work with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in the countries surrounding Syria, and also to partner with the Bangladeshi relief organization BRAC that works with Rohingya refugees.

“The goal of the humanitarian play lab is to build resilience and empower children and their communities,” says Director for BRAC University’s Institute of Educational Development, Dr. Erum Mariam. She’s been running BRAC’s education programs for more than 25 years and describes the children of the Rohingya community as some of the most talented and spontaneous she’s worked with. “We have been working with the children over the past 14 months to collect ‘Kabbiya’ (rhymes), physical play activities and ‘Kissa’ (stories) so that the humanitarian play lab provides children with self-confidence and pride. The entire model is based on the idea that play heals and play helps children to learn.”