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World Rugby & ChildFund program to change children's lives through sport

Released at: 16:18, 05/09/2018

World Rugby & ChildFund program to change children's lives through sport

Photo: ChildFund

Two launch partnership as Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan now just a year away.

by Hai Van

World Rugby and ChildFund’s Pass It Back program launched a major international partnership on September 5 in Japan to change children’s lives through the transformative power of sport, as part of the Rugby World Cup 2019, being held in in the country in September and October next year.

World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said it awarded the tournament to Japan because it knew it could be a powerful game-changer for sport and social change in Asia.

“As a transformational ‘Rugby for Good’ program, the Pass It Back program is the perfect embodiment of that objective and we are excited about the impact rugby can have on thousands of children in the world’s most populous and youthful continent,” Mr. Gosper said.

Funds raised through the partnership will enable the award-winning Pass It Back program to be expanded in Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines and extended to other developing countries in the region. Donated funds will also assist with emergency relief efforts in disaster-affected areas in Japan. Over 20,000 children from disadvantaged communities across Asia will benefit.

“This is an exciting opportunity,” said ChildFund Alliance President Michael Rose. “We believe every child should have the right to play, which is why ChildFund’s Pass it Back program 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 programs are a proven way to achieve positive social outcomes, such as building resilience, youth leadership, and gender equity. Pass It Back helps young people 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 program has already assisted more than 6,000 children across Asia, with a 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 program has high participation rates for girls and young women.

“It’s great to see that over half of all players and coaches involved in Pass It Back are female,” Mr. Rose added. “Not only does the program strengthen the resilience of children and youth, it also helps to build a new generation of role models and leaders who ‘pass it back’ to their own communities.”

“Through the partnership with World Rugby, ChildFund will reach more marginalized 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 organized sport before,” said Ms. Nguyen Thi Bich Lien, Country Director of ChildFund Vietnam. “ChildFund Vietnam is proud and excited to be part of this major global initiative to improve the lives of impoverished children in Asia.”

“Sport has the incredible power to unite people and communities. As we celebrate the game of rugby at the World Cup 2019 in Japan, this partnership is an important reminder that children everywhere should have the opportunity to play, participate in organized sport, and enjoy the many life-changing benefits.”

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