As the premier brand name for children’s educational toys throughout most of the world, LEGO can be considered one of the foremost voices towards encouraging the early education of children through, of course, good play. And they’re gracious enough to award other companies and organizations that support such early-age development.
This is the ideal for the LEGO Prize, a special award given by The LEGO Group’s charitable arm, to worthy individuals and groups that are proponents of learning through play. This year, LEGO Foundation is giving the Prize to Bangladeshi social worker and honorary British Knight, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed.
Sir Fazle is the founder and longtime chairperson of BRAC, arguably the largest developmental NGO in the world operating in Bangladesh and 13 other nations spread across three continents. He was presented the LEGO Prize at Denmark by LEGO Foundation board chairman Thomas Kirk Christiansen, along with a $100,000 grant.
On his acceptance speech, Sir Fazle expressed his honor at being accorded the award from LEGO, and thanked them for the cash grand that came with the LEGO Prize. Every child deserves the opportunity to grow and develop,” he said. “This generous financial contribution will support the holistic development of an underserved group of children in Bangladesh with special needs.”
BRAC was considered for the LEGO Prize on account of their 1,400 early-childhood development centers located in Bangladesh and other nations like Uganda and Tanzania in Africa. With programs that helped children learn and develop through appropriate games and toys, the success of these centers were what caught LEGO’s praise.
“At BRAC, we pride ourselves on taking an innovative approach to early childhood development and education and share the LEGO Foundation’s passion for learning through play,” added Sir Fazle in his speech. “Through our Play Lab programme, we have seen first-hand the power it can have in a child’s development.”
Born 1932, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed founded BRAC in 1972: a year after Bangladesh became a separate independent nation from Pakistan. His purpose was to help improve living conditions for the people devastated by war, including the early-education of children.
For his efforts he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) in 2010, eligible as he was born when his birthplace in Bangladesh was still part of India under British colonial rule.