The Lego Foundation just gave Sesame Workshop $100 million to help finance play-based educational projects for children who have been impacted by the Syrian conflict, as well as Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
The donation, which will be distributed over a five-year period, adds to the $100 million grant Sesame and the International Rescue Committee won in the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural 100&Change competition, Fast Company reports.
There are currently more than 25 million registered refugees. While many aid agencies focus on providing things like food and shelter to those refugees, many of whom are children, very few focus on educational services, especially for younger children.
“Less than 3% of all humanitarian aid goes to education, and a tiny sliver of that goes to early education,” Sherrie Westin, the president of global impact and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop told Fast Company. “And yet we know from all of the evidence–from brain science, from epigenetics, you name it–that the most critical time in a child’s development is in those first five years. And that when they experience traumatic events and exposure to prolonged stress, it literally debilitates their brain development.”
Sesame and Lego are currently working on creating the exact programming to be offered with the grant. The grant money doesn’t require the use of Legos.