Today (Wednesday 5 September, 2018, NZ) World Rugby and ChildFund announce a major international partnership to change children’s lives through the transformative power of sport, as part of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
World Rugby Chief Executive Officer Brett Gosper said: “We awarded the tournament to Japan because we knew that it could be a powerful game-changer for sporting and social change in Asia. As a transformational rugby for good programme, ChildFund Pass It Back is the perfect embodiment of that objective, and we are excited about the impact rugby can have to thousands of children within the world’s most populous and youthful continent.
“Rugby is a sport of character-building values and we have witnessed the solidarity of the rugby community in rallying behind Kamaishi, Japan [following the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 2011]. I am sure that fans purchasing tickets for Asia’s first Rugby World Cup will be generous in supporting rugby programmes that will make a real and lasting difference to thousands of disadvantaged children.”
Funds raised through the partnership will enable the award-winning ChildFund Pass It Back programme to be expanded in Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines, and extended to other developing countries in the region. Donated funds will also assist children from disaster-affected areas in Japan. Over 20,000 children from disadvantaged communities across Asia will benefit.
ChildFund Alliance President Michael Rose said: “This is an exciting opportunity. We believe every child should have the right to play, which is why the ChildFund Pass it Back programme was originally established for children in rural and remote communities of Laos and Vietnam. These are children who face significant challenges around poverty and inequality.
“Well designed sport for development programmes are a proven way to achieve positive social outcomes, such as building resilience, youth leadership and gender equity. ChildFund Pass It Back helps young people to develop the skills they need to keep themselves safe in what is a rapidly changing environment, and is aligned with global efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 - to end all forms of violence against children.
The ChildFund Pass It Back programme has already assisted more than 6000 children across Asia, with its unique curriculum that integrates tag rugby and life skills learning to help young people in a range of areas including leadership, problem solving, gender equity, conflict resolution and planning for the future. The programme has high participation rates for girls and young women.
Mr Rose added: “It is great to see that over 50 per cent of all players and coaches involved in ChildFund Pass It Back are female. Not only does this programme strengthen the resilience of children and youth, but it helps to build a new generation of role models and leaders who ‘pass it back’ to their own communities.”
Paul Brown, ChildFund New Zealand CEO said, “Through the partnership with World Rugby, ChildFund will reach more marginalised young people in Asia – girls, children from poor communities, young people living in rural and remote areas who have never had the opportunity to take part in organised sport before.
“Sport has the incredible power to unite people and communities. As we celebrate the game of rugby at the 2019 Japan World Cup, this partnership is an important reminder that children everywhere should have the opportunity to play, participate in organised sport and enjoy the many life-changing benefits. So ChildFund New Zealand is proud and excited to be part of this major global initiative to improve the lives of impoverished children in Asia.”
Lao Khang, Laos
Lao Khang comes from a small village in Nonghet district in the rural north of Laos. Her first opportunity to play organised sport was as a teenager when she was introduced to rugby through the ChildFund Pass It Back programme. Today Lao is working as a Development Officer with the Lao Rugby Federation, has represented the Lao Women’s National Rugby team, and won an Athletes in Excellence Award from the Foundation for Global Sports Development. She says: “As a girl I was always very shy. Now I am a brave and confident young woman. Before I began playing rugby I only knew people in my small village. Now I have friends all around the world. I want to help involve as many Lao girls and women from rural and remote communities as possible in rugby so they too can feel brave and strong.” For more information, visit www.childfundpassitback.org