The grant will be paid out over five years as established milestones are met. The new program builds on the existing Sesame Workshop-IRC program that serves children and families affected by the Syrian conflict and supports caregivers to better engage in playful learning with their children.
The award is a response to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s call for philanthropy to modify the way the humanitarian system services children affected by crises in early childhood. According to a company statement, roughly 68.5 million people are displaced around the world, which includes 25 million refugees, half of whom are children.
Because refugees are displaced an average of 10 years, the instability significantly affects the mental, physical and educational development of affected children. Less than 3 percent of the current global humanitarian budget is dedicated to education.
“Research shows that not only is play vital for children’s psychological, emotional and cognitive health and development, but it also hones the resilience they need to overcome adversity and build their futures,” says John Goodwin, chief executive officer, LEGO Foundation. “Early adverse experiences negatively affect the development of brain architecture, which provides the foundation for all future learning, behavior and health. By providing play-based learning to children in crisis, we can help mitigate the detrimental, long-term effects of displacement and trauma, ultimately giving a generation of refugee children a path forward.”
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