In large parts of the world children's rights are routinely ignored. Grinding poverty and a lack of awareness among adults mean that children often go without healthcare, education, or even a safe place to live. For the vulnerable children we work with, having one trusted person to call on can make the difference between a life lived in extreme hardship and one that is safe and fulfilled.
At Right To Play, our volunteer Coaches are just such people. They build trust in children and the community. Through games, they reach across gender and cultural divides and help teach crucial life skills. Thanks to them, we are able to reach the most inaccessible children in a way that has long-term benefits for the children and their communities.
Volunteer Coaches are local leaders and teachers, and are at the heart of our programmes. By running weekly games sessions specially designed to change behaviour, the Coaches entrench positive life messages that give children the knowledge to protect themselves from disease, attend and stay in school, resolve conflict and create peaceful communities.
Our Coaches become role models who the children trust and turn to when they need advice or help. In Uganda, 97% of children who attend our programmes said they would call on their Coach if they had a problem.
Annie is nineteen years old and was recruited as a Leader in Gbartala, Liberia in 2009. Before she became a Right To Play Coach, her community had given up on her because she failed seventh grade.
As a result of becoming a Coach, Annie has learned ways of understanding and playing with children, and they now look up to her as a role model. She has also become an integral part of the community, being referred to as 'children mother'. Annie has also gone back to school to complete her education. Despite initial bullying because of her age, the self-confidence skills gained through being involved in Right To Play have given her the strength to stand up to them.