Six teams of girls and boys (three each) from for community schools including Mashal Model School, Ayub Park School, Alfirdous Community School and Pehli Kiran School System participated in the two days educational football tournament. “We strongly believe in nurturing and promoting the children and youth of our country through sport and play. Play is our tool and fundamental right of the children. We envision a society where the rights of all children are realized and protected from violence, exploitation, and abuse of all forms, irrespective of their background and social standing,” said Iqbal Jatoi, Country Director Right To Play.
The tournament commenced on Friday, January 27, 2017 on Total Football ground in Chak Shehzad. During the 2 days tournament, children from 4 community school learned the technical skills of football and life-skills sessions from the Coaches of Right To Play. Captain national women football team, Hajira Khan and Asmara Kiani, the national player also joined the participating children. Both athletes being a role model especially for girls gave orientation to children on leadership and lifeskills.
The tournament was organised by Right To Play under a newly launched initiative for the children of under-privileged communities of Islamabad. The initiative using the power of football is transforming the lives of a selected group of more than 1000 children and youth from 4 schools of ICT through essential life skills education. The aim of the programme is to educate this group of children to foster social cohesion, inclusion and positive behaviour change in their communities.
The programme supported by street football world is a unique of its kind as it is providing the rarest opportunity to play and kick the ball to oft-neglected children of these communities. The tournament was themed under football for education and inclusion. Over 300 children from different schools attended the football tournament.
Hajra Khan, Captain National Football Team for Women said, “we are using the transformational power of play in the playfield and with every kick of the ball we learn that it is not just play it is much more than that. We learn the sportsman spirit which helps in everyday life to overcome different challenges, we learn fairplay which also motivates us in everyday life to treat others with dignity, we learn to play in a team which teaches us to accept and respect others”.
Children presented different skits after the matches. Children from Mashal Model School Barri Imam presented a powerful skit carrying placards of children rights. They made a performance on how important it is for children to exercise their fundamental right to play, right to stay safe, and right to play in safe environment.
Mr. Iqbal Jatoi, at the closing and prize distribution ceremony said “We are not just promoting sport and play but we are promoting learning, empowerment and inclusion through football. Play is natural and we are using this tool to contribute to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and to protect the rights of young people in Pakistan and around the globe”.
Right To Play is amongst the leading Sport for Development organisations, operating in 11 districts of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Islamabad. Using sport and play, Right To Play’s programmes are contributing for quality education, women empowerment, social cohesion and Positive Child and Youth Development.