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Lego partners with the Jack Ma Foundation

By WANG ZHUOQIONG | | Updated: 2019-05-31 22:03
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With the upcoming Children's Day on June 1, Lego and the Jack Ma Foundation on Friday launched a three-year partnership focused on empowering rural education through play on Friday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Bao Yajing, 14, and her schoolmates from the Dasendian Primary School in Qinhuangdao city, Hebei province, were busy building her dream activity center in the school on Friday afternoon, using Lego bricks.

"It has library, dance room, music room, restroom, dormitory and a large garden," said Bao, a sixth-grade student, who is among hundreds of students from the school taking part in the program Build the Change.

With the upcoming Children's Day on June 1, Lego and the Jack Ma Foundation on Friday launched a three-year partnership focused on empowering rural education through play.

"It has been inspirational to see how we can cultivate our children holistically, together with the fun of play," said Zhao Yinfeng, principal of Dasendian Primary School, which has 164 students and 11 teachers.

"We can see it is not our rural students don't have imagination nor creativity – the fact is they don't have sufficient access nor conditions to help them accomplish."

She also said that learning through play is an essential complement to today's rural education, and that its positive impact has brought out the best in these children.

The Jack Ma Foundation has established activity centers, or children's palaces, in 14 rural schools in China, providing programs in history, science, and arts.

It is expected that the activity centers set up by the foundation will reach ten provinces and autonomous regions in the next three years.

As one of the supporting partners for these activity centers, Lego will donate products and training at each of these centers.

Over 30,000 students and 300 teachers from these rural schools are expected to benefit from the partnership.

"Our mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow," said Kathrine Kirk Muff, vice-president of social responsibility and engagement at Lego.

"In the coming years, we will focus on providing access to quality learning through play to children in need. Our partnership with the Jack Ma Foundation will ground our commitment to benefit rural children in need and empower them with lifelong skills for their future development through high-quality learning through experiences."

Yu Xiuhong, executive secretary general of the Jack Ma Foundation, said: "We collaborate with caring and mission-driven companies such as the Lego to develop various programs, to bring rural students opportunities to enjoy learning through play and gain meaningful individual growth.

"This concept also represents a significant addition and new exploration for rural education in China."

Lego since 2018 has donated more than 20,000 sets to various nonprofits, NGOs and communities in China to provide learning through play opportunities for children in need.

Children build their dream activity center with LEGO bricks at the Dasendian Primary School in Qinhuangdao city, Hebei province. [Photo provided to China Daily]
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