December 6, 2022

CHAI receives US$15 million award from LEGO Foundation Global Challenge

Boston, Dec. 6, 2022 – Today, the LEGO Foundation announced Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) as one of the five recipients of its global Build a World of Play Challenge to fund bold, innovative, and impactful solutions focused on early childhood. The LEGO Foundation is awarding a total of DKK 900 million (approximately US$117 Million) to support organizations that make substantial contributions to the lives of children from birth to six years old and spark a global movement to prioritize early childhood development. Our project, Empowering Disabled Children to Play via Early Assistive Technology Access, received US$15 million.

Millions of children with disabilities are barred from their right to play because they lack access to life-changing assistive technology such as wheelchairs or hearing aids. Only a fraction of them get the products and services they need, largely through charitable donations. CHAI’s Early Assistive Technology project aims to transform play for disabled children across eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. It will support governments to implement policies that integrate screening, early access to assistive technology, and play therapy into health facilities and schools.

The Build a World of Play Challenge was launched on Feb. 16, 2022, by the LEGO Foundation to address a global early childhood emergency, characterized by a lack of access globally to quality services and supports that are needed during the critical early years of a child’s development–an emergency which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The awards reaffirm the LEGO Foundation’s commitment in the LEGO® brand’s 90th year to ensure children globally are given opportunities to realize their full potential by learning through play.

“We are delighted by Lego Foundation’s selection of CHAI as a partner to honor their 90th anniversary. Lego Foundation and CHAI share a commitment to the health and wellbeing of all children and believe that support for children with disabilities throughout the world is an extremely important, unaddressed development problem of our time,” said CHAI CEO, Dr. Neil Buddy Shah. “Together we plan to bring early screening, access to appropriate assistive technology, and linkages to play to millions of children to ensure every child has the dignity as well as the opportunities they deserve.”

The Challenge received a total of 627 valid proposals from 86 countries, from which ten finalists were selected. Applicants were evaluated by multi-disciplinary experts from across the world based on four criteria: whether they were impactful, feasible, community-centered, and sustainable. The awards announced today will help in furthering specific bold projects which promote the well-being of children, their caregivers, and their communities, using culturally relevant and sustainable approaches.

Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, Chairman of the LEGO Foundation Board of Directors, said: “As part of the LEGO brand’s 90th anniversary, the LEGO Foundation made a commitment to help build a better world for young children to thrive. The Build a World of Play Challenge is designed to do just that, by funding innovative projects that make a real difference for global childhood development and give young children a better start in life. Congratulations to all the recipients, who have all demonstrated game-changing solutions. We look forward to working alongside them as long-term partners, to invest in children’s futures.”

The LEGO Foundation partnered with Lever for Change a non-profit affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, to manage the Challenge process. Lever for Change connects donors with bold solutions to tackle the world’s biggest problems–including issues like racial inequity, gender inequality, lack of access to economic opportunity, and climate change.

More details on the Build a World of Play Challenge can be found at


About CHAI | The Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc. (CHAI) is a global health organization committed to saving lives and reducing the burden of disease in low- and middle-income countries. We work with our partners to help strengthen the capabilities of governments and the private sector to create and sustain high-quality health systems. For more information, please visit

Corina Milic, Acting Director of Communications, CHAI,

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