The Bernard van Leer Foundation is an international grantmaking foundation based in The Hague.
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 promoting more cohesive, considerate and creative societies with equal opportunities and rights for all.
Latest news from the Bernard van Leer Foundation
Amal Elsana Alhjooj and Hagit Damri of the Hagar bilingual school - a partner of the Bernard van Leer Foundation in Israel, where children from Jewish and Arab backgrounds learn together - recently visited the United States on an informational and fundraising tour.
You can read about the background to the visit on the Hagar website, and local accounts of their meetings in Tacoma in Soundly Jewish, and in Los Angeles in the Jewish Journal. For a short introduction to Hagar's work (subtitled in English), see the below video.
As part of our work to highlight the effects of violence on children growing up in Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, we funded an independent journalist named Jean Friedman-Rudovsky whose article was picked up by the Village Voice Media and published in a number of their newspapers around the United States as part of the "Amongst U.S." series on immigration. You can read the report here. The "Amongst U.S." series has now won the 2010 James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism.
The cycle of violence in the Israeli conflict goes something like this: Violence leads to trauma, trauma leads to revenge, and revenge leads to violence. In adolescent girls, these feelings are most acute and result in action. In very young children where there is no difference in the effects of witnessing or experiencing violence, the brain matter is developed in accordance to the level of violence the child experiences: The more trauma, the thicker the brain stem becomes, and the less space there is for cortical, limbic development, which moderates primitive behaviour. Read more
Professor Nathaniel Laor delivered the Van Leer Lecture at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference in Philadelphia on Sunday April 10th. You can read more about the research on which Professor Laor's lecture was based in a press release from the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Teachers-based Intervention Provides Stress Resistance in War-Exposed Children.
Following meetings hosted by the Bernard van Leer Foundation - and ahead of International Roma Day on April 8th - the European Foundation Centre's Forum for Roma Inclusion has issued a five-part response to the European Commission’s Communication on an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. Read it here. The response will be delivered today in Brussels by Christian Petry, chair of the EFC Forum, on the occasion of a European Roma Information Office conference.
BvLF congratulates Nabila Espanioly on being named as one of the 100 most influential women in the world. Director of the Altafula Center in Nazareth, Nabila is a key person in the Musharaka Association, a collective of organisations supported by BvLF which works to improve early childhood care and development in Arab Palestinian communities in Israel.
A foundation partner since 1990, the Centro Popular de Cultura e Desenvolvimento (CPCD) has been nominated for a 2011 Globe Award in the Sustainable City category for its work in Araçuaí, Brazil. BvLF has supported two early childhood projects as part of this work - Hug's Pedagogy and the Sementinha ("little seed") approach explored in a previous issue of our journal Early Childhood Matters.
While the details of BvLF’s country strategy in Israel remain under development, the foundation’s first approved grant of 2011 lays the ground for progress towards our first defined goal in the country – universal access to quality pre-school among 3 to 6 year old children. Read more