The Bernard van Leer Foundation is a private grant-making foundation. Our mission is to improve opportunities for children up to age 8 who are growing up in socially and economically difficult circumstances. We see this both as a valuable end in itself and as a long-term means to promote more cohesive, considerate and creative societies with equal opportunities and rights for all. 

Latest news from the Bernard van Leer Foundation

Early Childhood Matters on Children of seasonal migrant workers 04-12-2013

ECM 121 coverThe latest edition of Early Childhood Matters on Children of seasonal migrant workers is now available (download pdf / order a free copy / read online). It focuses on an almost invisible population - people who migrate seasonally in search of work, and their children. Often they live in poor quality temporary accommodation close to the work site, where children are exposed to risks of accidents and illness, and below the radar of local authorities meaning they can't access services such as preschool, school and healthcare.

Articles explore the living conditions of seasonal migrant workers' children, and experiences with programmes designed to improve those conditions. Contributions come from the United States, India, Turkey, Mexico, Nicaragua and Africa.

Fellowship, Center for Universal Education 04-12-2013

Echidna Global Scholars Program
Promoting Girls’ Education in Developing Countries

Apply for the Echidna Global Scholars Program for 2014. The deadline to apply is January 5th 2014. The Echidna Global Scholars Program is a visiting fellowship at the Center for Universal Education that aims to catalyze the work of nonprofit leaders, academics and policymakers from developing countries. Echidna Global Scholars spend four and a half months in Washington from August through mid-December pursuing research on global education issues, with a specific focus on improving learning opportunities and outcomes for girls. Please click here for more information or to apply.

BvLF organized symposium "Break the Circle" 25-11-2013

During the ‘Week van Kinderen Veilig’ (Week of Children Safe) in the Netherlands, from 18-22 November, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, Municipality of The Hague and Stichting Geheim Geweld (Secret Violence Foundation) organized the symposium "Break the Circle", on the preventive approach to child abuse and the relationship between psycho-social trauma and its effects on physical health of children and adults.

At the same time there was a program organized for children where they learnt about child abuse and healthy food, and they participated it in a Spinning Marathon for charity, for the Secret Violence Foundation.

Watch below video for a news compilation of this successful day (0:26 to 4:50 minutes):

I want to tell you something – messages from abused children 14-11-2013

By Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, 14 November 2013

The Dutch are very proud that, according to UNICEF’s research, children here are the happiest in the world. But averages hide extremes. Sadly, in the Netherlands, neglect and abuse are on the rise. The University of Leiden found in 2011 that one in 30 Dutch children suffer abuse.

Privacy is held dear in the Netherlands. Interfering in family life is frowned upon, and violence in children’s lives is almost a taboo discussion. So how could we, as a small foundation, try to prevent violence in children’s lives when an entire society appears unwilling to have the conversation? Read more...

BVLF supports joint initiative to save kids' brains in Brazil 12-11-2013

Grand Challenges Canada, Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal Foundation, Bernard van Leer Foundation and Grand Challenges Brazil Initiative of Brazil Ministry of Health join forces to save kids’ brains in Brazil

Toronto, Canada and São Paulo, Brazil - Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, and the Maria Cecília Souto Vidigal Foundation are announcing an agreement to support innovation in early child development in Brazil. This new partnership is in association with Grand Challenges Brazil, an initiative of the Brazil Ministry of Health. It is strengthened by the support of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, an international pioneer for integrated innovations, addressing multiple aspects of young children's needs. Read more...

Please join us for an afternoon symposium on child abuse on November 20th 04-11-2013

Please join us for an afternoon symposium on the preventive approach to child abuse and early treatment of the effects of trauma on the psycho-social health of children and adults. The symposium will be on Wednesday November 20th (International Day of Children’s Rights), from 14.00 – 17.00 uur, at the ADO stadium in the Hague - organized by the Bernard van Leer Foundation, Municipality of The Hague and Stichting Geheim Geweld (Secret Violence Foundation).

During the symposium, several experts will discuss the relationship between psycho-social trauma and its effects on the physical health of children and adults .We would like to invite you to join us and discuss prevention, identification and treatment of child abuse and domestic violence. The presentation and discussions will take place under the leadership of chairman and discussion leader Andre Rouvoet, President of Health Insurers Netherlands (Zorgverzekeraars Nederland) and former Minister for Youth and Family and Deputy Prime Minister.

Please check the invitation for more information (in Dutch), or visit the website

Het Klokhuis Wins 2 Prizes! 26-10-2013

We are proud to announce that Het Klokhuis has won the two most important children's TV prizes in the Netherlands for the special episodes on child abuse, supported by the Bernard van Leer Foundation:

Het Klokhuis wins the Cinekid Golden Kinderkast Jury Prize and the Cinekid Children's Choice Award for best non fiction TV Programme of kids in 2013!

Congratulations everyone at Het Klokhuis and to the brave young people who shared their stories in the series.

Play is powerful 09-10-2013

By Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, 1 October 2013

If you observe young children you can see they are little scientists, exploring the world and trying out different things, breaking things and putting them back together. Or, at least, trying to – it turns out that an iPhone is tricky. Read more...

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