Everybody has the right to play, which is why I recently became a member of the UK Development Committee of ‘Right to Play.’ Right to Play is a charity that transforms the lives of two million disadvantaged children every week across Africa, the Middle East and Asia through the power of sport and play.
Children learn best through play-based activities. And Right to Play design games that are specially designed to provide children with the knowledge and skills they need to overcome adversity and to tackle the challenges affecting their communities. Programmes are tailored to local context and need, whether it’s health concerns, lack of education, conflict resolution or all three.
Weekly programmes help develop disadvantaged children with newly acquired skills and attitudes to positively influence lasting change.
Right to Play believes a child’s behaviour is determined by their experiences and the influence of important people in their lives. It’s why the volunteer Coaches who run their programmes are the community’s teachers and local role models and become essential players in each child’s life, cultivating trust, self-worth and confidence.
Over 300 athletes support Right to Play’s work worldwide, over 20 of whom are in the UK. Athlete Ambassadors are vital to their work – inspiring the children in their programmes, advocating for children’s rights, raising awareness of Right to Play and promoting their work to new audiences.
Last week I visited Tanzania to see projects in action. Seeing first-hand the importance and impact of Right to Play’s work and how they make a massive difference to the lives of disadvantaged children was so evident. For me, it is very gratifying to be able to support and promote Right to Play and the life-changing work they do in helping disadvantaged children in some of the poorest communities around the world. When children play, the world wins.