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World Rugby and ChildFund have launched a major international partnership to change children’s lives through the transformative power of sport, as part of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
World Rugby Chief Executive Officer Brett Gosper said: “We awarded the tournament to Japan because we knew that it could be a powerful game-changer for sporting and social change in Asia. As a transformational rugby for good programme ChildFund Pass It Back is the perfect embodiment of that objective and we are excited about the impact rugby can have to thousands of children within the world’s most populous and youthful continent.
“Rugby is a sport of character-building values and we have witnessed the solidarity of the rugby community in rallying behind Kamaishi and I am sure that fans purchasing tickets for Asia’s first Rugby World Cup will be generous in supporting rugby programmes that will make a real and lasting difference to thousands of disadvantaged children.”
Funds raised through the partnership will enable the award-winning ChildFund 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.
ChildFund Alliance President Michael Rose said: “This is an exciting opportunity. 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. ChildFund Pass It Back helps young people to 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 ChildFund Pass It Back program has already assisted more than 6,000 children across Asia, with its 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.
Mr Rose added: “It is great to see that over 50% of all players and coaches involved in ChildFund Pass It Back are female. Not only does this program strengthen the resilience of children and youth, but it helps to build a new generation of role models and leaders who ‘pass it back’ to their own communities.”
 ChildFund Pass It Back won the UNICEF Safeguarding Children in Sport Award at the prestigious Beyond Sport Global Awards in 2017.
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