Copyright © Right to play

Description: It is a child’s inherent right to be allowed to play. Right To Play believes in the power of play as a tool for education, a catalyst for change, and a positive force in the lives of at-risk children and youth. Play can bring entire communities together and inspire every individual. A game of football can teach children about tolerance and peace, and a game of tag can teach them about malaria. Playing helps teach important life lessons and develop skills like cooperation, leadership and teamwork.


How it began: In 1993, Johann Olav Koss led a humanitarian trip to Eritrea. As the ambassador of Olympic Aid, he saw the realities of life in a country suffering from decades of war. Amidst burned tanks and rubbles, Koss saw a glimpse of hope. A boy took off his long sleeve shirt and shared it as a soccer ball. Koss promised to return the following year with a proper soccer ball. After winning 3 Gold medals in the 1994 winter Olympics, Koss pledged his $30,000 medal bonus to Olympic aid. He asked his fellow Norwegians to also donate. Returning to Eritrea with sports equipment, Koss gave the children of Eritrea a hope to play like all other kids in the world. After that trip, Olympic Aid (later becoming Right to Play) was officially established as a fundraising body.


Its Success: Right to Play has positively impacted 1,000,000 children into participating in weekly sports or activities. Furthermore, of these children, 49% are girls!


Latest Information: In 2012, we reached about 43,000 children in refugee-focused programs.


If you are interested and want to know more, visit: http://www.righttoplay.com/International

Jeremy Lin



Palestine MMA

Copyright © Palestine MMA

Description: Bring positive social development through Mixed Martial Arts. Palestine MMA targets youth in the Palestine Community. Around 60% of Palestinians below 24 suffer from unemployment, poverty, and a lack of community activities. They aim to use MMA to bring a positive influence to the community, and create opportunities for jobs. The program offers free classes, opportunities to be an athlete and a coach, educational programs, and scholarships for talented athletes.


How it began: Palestine MMA began in 2012. It was formed by a group of young Palestinians dedicated to bringing sports programs to all Palestine kids. They wanted all kids, regardless of background, race, or religion, to have the opportunity to play sports.


Its Values: The values that Palestine MMA hopes to instill are based off the Olympic Values and Ethos

  1. Sports for All – Sport Belongs to Everyone
  2. Education Through Sport – Developing Body, Will and Mind
  3. Peace Through Sport – Forging Friendship Amongst Athletes
  4. Women and Sport – Promoting Women’s Participation
  5. Sport and Environment – Preserving Precious Resources


Its Goals:

  1. Help develop the popularity of MMA in Palestine
  2. Establish a bond with the community that encourages participation at all ages and levels
  3. Teach the local community to capably manage, and improve a world class sports program
  4. Contribute to tackling social issues in the Palestine community including Health, Education, Women’s Empowerment, Economic Empowerment, and Social Integration


If you are interested and want to know more, visit: http://palestinemma.org/

Matthew Yung


Copyright © Peaceplayers International

Description: Bring communities together with Basketball! PeacePlayers International uses basketball to unite, educate, and inspire youth living in divided communities. It hopes that the connections made between individuals will help form a more peaceful society. Currently, the organization has year-round programs in communities including Northern Ireland, Cyprus, South Africa, and Israel (West Bank).


How it Began: The organization started on the premise “children who play together can learn to live together”. Brothers Brendan and Sean Tuohey, who taught youth basketball in Northern Ireland in the late 90s, experienced the conflict of Protestantism against Catholicism. After successfully bringing young Protestants and Catholics together to play Basketball, they formed PeacePlayers International in 2001.


Its Success: More than 55,000 participants have experienced the opportunity to befriend and unite with other individuals.


Core Principles:

  • Bridging Divides: Bringing together children from different religions, cultures, and ethnicities together through sports.
  • Developing Leaders: Training young adults to become coaches and leaders that guide the peace building efforts of their community
  • Changing Perceptions: Showing how sports are not just for training top flight athletes. It can be used as a tool to change, educate, unite people.
  • Latest Information: Currently, around 4000 kids are participating in the camps at the 4 different locations.

(Information courtesy of PeacePlayers International)

If you are interested and want to know more, please visit http://www.peaceplayersintl.org/

Matthew Yung

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