Exploring the power of Sports to empower Pakistani Youth
Sports is more than just winning or losing. Playing sports is a chance to stay healthy, make friends, have fun, and learn some valuable life lessons such as teamwork, fair play, tolerance, cooperation, confidence and improving self-esteem.
This is exactly what 13-year-old Kinza Kausar learned at “Right to Peace” football tournament and educational event for street children in Islamabad. “We had a lot of fun and made friends. What we learnt was life skills, fair play, respecting ourselves and others, football rules and teamwork. All these were through play and games above all we learnt importance of human dignity”, she said with confidence.
Excited to be on the winning team in tournament, Kinza now hopes to bring positive changes to the lives of other street children with what she learned at the sports event held at Mashal Model School in Islamabad.
A four-day event ‘Right to Peace’ was held in Islamabad for street children which offered kids opportunity to take part in sporting and educational activities.
Recognising the importance of sports in children’s development and as a tool to advocate for their right to peace, the United Nations teamed up with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Right to Play International and the Mashal Model School to organise the tournament.
H.E. Dr. Cyrill Nunn, Ambassador of Germany, congratulated the winning team and took note of their spirit of friendship and fair play in the football matches.
“We shall continue to promote sports in fostering development and peace, respect for diversity and as an agent of social change at the grassroots and community levels” the German Ambassador stated. “I am extremely honoured to be part of this educational tournament.” Germany made a valuable contribution by donating PKR.460000 for the project.
“Participating in sports can give children confidence and teach them important values like perseverance, patience and good sportsmanship. It can also play a strategic role in fostering life skills and encouraging social change”, Mr. Cammarota observed.
Mr. Vittorio Cammarota, Director of the United Nations Information Centre, said “It was amazing to see the excellent play and eagerness to learn that these children demonstrated throughout the tournament. It is unacceptable that children should have to live or work on the streets anywhere in the world.”
Diplomats, Government and United Nations officials and civil society members who attended the event were treated to an exciting match between children who rarely have opportunities to play.
Drawing attention to children’s right to play, as well their right to development and peace, the event also gave the children opportunities to learn about child labour, early marriage, gender equity, nutrition, child protection, education, peace and tolerance. The learning sessions were conducted on the side-lines of the football matches by professional trainers from Right to Play International and officials from the UN, including ILO and UNFPA.
Encouraging girls to participate equally, 30 underprivileged 10-14-year-olds played in the tournament with each team getting an equal opportunity to play. The final match took place today at the Mashal Model School, followed by the awarding of the “Right to Peace” cup and a jumbo version of the Brazuka, the official football of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, donated by the Embassy of Brazil.
The tournament concluded with renewed commitments of partnerships to explore how sports can be empower Pakistani youth and how sport for development can be brought to the rest of the country.
Sport for Social Development is a method of bringing about social change through the use of sports. Sport refers to the physical activity and development is any individual, health, social, and economic benefits. Sport for is used as a tool for peace and development. The programs use sport to help children learn lifelong skills as an incentive for the children to improve their scholarship. Sport is used as a tool to reach personal and community goals. Most organizations utilizing this method are geared towards underprivileged children and teenagers in urban areas.