Right to Peace Cup teaches street children life skills through football

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ISLAMABAD, 19 FEB, (DNA) – Recognizing the importance of sports in children’s development and as a tool to advocate for their right to peace, the United Nations teamed up with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Right to Play International and the Mashal Model School to organize the “Right to Peace” football tournament.
Spectators included diplomats, Government and United Nations officials and civil society members and media representatives who were treated to an exciting match between children who rarely have opportunities to play.
Dr. Cyrill Nunn, Ambassador of Germany, congratulated the winning team and took note of their spirit of friendship and fair play in the football matches.
“We shall continue to promote sports in fostering development and peace, respect for diversity and as an agent of social change at the grassroots and community levels” he stated.
“I am extremely honoured to be part of this educational tournament.” Germany made a valuable contribution by donating PKR.460000 for this project.
Vittorio Cammarota, Director of the United Nations Information Centre, said “It was amazing to see the excellent play and eagerness to learn that these children demonstrated throughout the tournament. It is unacceptable that children should have to live or work on the streets anywhere in the world.”
“Participating in sports can give children confidence and teach them important values like perseverance, patience and good sportsmanship. It can also play a strategic role in fostering life skills and encouraging social change”, Cammarota observed.
Kinza Kausar, 13 years old, was very excited to be on the winning team in “Right to Peace” football tournament and educational event for street children.
She said that what they learnt was life skills, fair play, respecting yourselves and others, football rules and teamwork. All these were through play and games; above all they learnt importance of human dignity.
Kinza now hopes to bring positive changes to the lives of other street children with what she learned at the four-day event.
Drawing attention to children’s right to play, as well their right to development and peace, the event also gave the children opportunities to learn about child labour, early marriage, gender equity, nutrition, child protection, education, peace and tolerance.
The learning sessions were conducted on the side-lines of the football matches by professional trainers from Right to Play International and officials from the United Nations, including ILO and UNFPA.
Encouraging girls to participate equally, 30 underprivileged 10-14-year-olds played in the tournament with each team getting an equal opportunity to play.
The final match took place on Thursday at the Mashal Model School, followed by the awarding of the “Right to Peace” cup and a jumbo version of the Brazuka, the official football of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, donated by the Embassy of Brazil.
The tournament concluded with renewed commitments of partnerships to explore how sports can be empower Pakistani youth and how sport for development can be brought to the rest of the country. DNA
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