Mental health and wellbeing for Ukrainian children

The Joy of Play -initiative

The Joy of Play -initiative, is focusing on the wellbeing of Ukrainian children.

Since February 2022 when the war in Ukraine escalated a generation of children has experienced violence, fear, loss and tragedy across the whole country. The war is having a devastating impact on the mental health and wellbeing of children. 

Our aim is to create moments of joy and give children hope for the future.

Playgrounds for children in Ukraine

Finnish and Danish companies and individuals have teamed up to build kids’ playgrounds in Ukraine, the first one in Lviv and a second one in Kyiv. The Joy of Play -projects are run by the Hartwall family and the key partners are play facilities producer Lappset Group, kids’ wear brand Reima and Nilpeter, a leading manufacturer of printing solutions . Additionally, donations from dozens of other corporations and private individuals through the Ukrainaid initiative are enabling the building of the two playgrounds.   

With these projects we want to offer, children in Ukraine, places where they can run, jump, swing and play freely with other children. Feel a moment of joy and forget all the evil around. It´s known that playing in addition to giving joyful moments, reduces stress, builds resilience and strength. 

The locations for the playgrounds were chosen carefully, in areas where we believe they can bring joy for many years to come.

New playground opened in Kyiv 24th of May, 2024

Together, Joy of Play, Lappset, Reima and Nilpeter have donated a second playground to Ukraine. The first playground was opened in Lviv in June last year. The new playground, designed for children of different ages, was completed in May in Shuliavka Park in Kyiv.

The opening ceremony of the playground took place on May 24 in Kyiv, attended by representatives of the city of Kyiv, the Finnish Ambassador to Ukraine Jaakko Lehtovirta, and representatives of the donating companies. The opening speeches emphasised children's right to childhood despite the war and the responsibility of adults to do everything in their power to ensure this.

It was heartwarming to see the happy faces of the children and watch them explore the new park. It´s the best appreciation we can get from the project. 

The uniqueness of this playground is the construction of the "Super Cube". The giant game element is a result of several years of work by the design studio of the Finnish manufacturer - Lappset Group. About 55 children can be inside the Cube simultaneously. It is currently the only vertical play space of its kind in Ukraine, with an exclusive design, made of natural wood.  

Our fantastic local team, the All-Ukrainian public association, the Institute Respublika in partnership with the company New Horizons 2005 and the ME Kyivzelenbud have executed the work on site.

Lviv playground

The first playground is completed and was opened in Lviv in June 2023. It´s built in the courtyard of Lviv public school 62, located in the center of the city in a historic building. Since the war started, the school has accommodated more than 60 refugees from destroyed and occupied territories, that literally lived in the school gymnasium. When the school year started in autumn 2022, students came back to study. During recurring air raids, they hide in a bomb shelter in the school's basement and tries to adapt to the reality of war. They had no safe place to go during breaks and quiet moments. Together with the support of numerous donators we were able to offer children the joy of playing and built a playground in the school's courtyard. The project was led by Kateryna Matiushchenko, General Manager, Leopolis Hotel in Lviv, owned by the Hartwall family.



Watch the whole process in above video.

About us

The Joy of Play -initiative is carried out by the Hartwall family and their team, who have been operating in Ukraine for a long time. The country, and its people, are very close to us. Since the war broke out, we have taken several measures to help the country. Both money and materials have been collected for humanitarian aid. Trucks packed with supplies have reached both the military and civilians. We have talented staff and a large network of contacts in Ukraine, who ensure that the help goes where it is most needed. With the Joy of Play -initiative our focus is now on helping Ukrainian children. We welcome all to join us in our mission.

“We hope the Joy of Play project can serve as a model for companies on how to bring concrete aid to Ukraine. We urge businesses to cooperate with others and use their resources and unique know-how to help, each in their own way”, Victor Hartwall.