In large parts of the world children's rights are routinely ignored. Grinding poverty, conflict and disease often mean children go without healthcare, education, or even a safe place to live.
Right To Play and Chelsea Football Club (Chelsea FC) are working together to change this. Since establishing a global partnership in 2007, Chelsea FC has been instrumental in helping Right To Play transform the lives of over one million disadvantaged children across Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia through weekly sport and play activities.
"I am excited about our continuing relationship with Chelsea Football Club. The Club has consistently shown their dedication to Right To Play since we started working together in 2007," says Right To Play founder and Chief Executive, Johann Olav Koss. "Our partnership has helped spread the message that sport and play have the power to improve the lives of children in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the world."
As the first English Premier League club to add a charity logo to their Champions League kit, Chelsea wore the words Right To Play all the way to the trophy in 2012, and then again for their Europa League triumph in 2013. For the 2014-15 season, the Chelsea FC players will wear the logo again; hopefully all the way to the finals.
However, this partnership is about much more than a logo. It brings together a key player in Sport for Development and Peace with one of the world's leading football social responsibility programmes at Chelsea FC, to educate and empower children through Right To Play's sport and play activities, including football.
"Chelsea Football Club understands the significance that sport can play in communities around the world," says Chelsea Chief Executive, Ron Gourlay. "We believe in the power of football and sport to reach people at home and abroad and to help hundreds of thousands of children play, learn and inspire each other."
Sport, and particularly football, has the power to transcend the barriers of gender, nationality and ethnicity, and address issues such as conflict, poor health practices and a lack of education. Right To Play's work shows that by using sport and structured play, children and young people in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world can gain quality education, learn positive health practices and overcome the effects of conflict.
Our Football For Development programme, now being used in 21 projects across 13 countries, integrates best practices in coaching, physical education, and Sport for Development to construct inclusive activities that focus on improving technical and tactical skills while also cultivating self-esteem and competency in children and young people. The programme is designed to assist Coaches in guiding regular football sessions once or twice a week for children and young people. As well as having fun, participants gain teamwork and cooperation skills, and apply what they've learned to situations outside the game.
Through such activities, boys and girls are better able to make important choices to protect themselves from disease, to attend and stay in school, and to resolve conflict and create peaceful communities. Play has the power to change lives.