57 million primary school-aged children do not attend school. By making play part of the school day, we are improving enrolment and attendance.
Play is an important part of a child's development, and is also instinctive. By offering structured play programmes before, during and after classes, children are more actively engaged in their lessons.
Through playing together, children also interact more with each other, thereby improving their communication, decision-making and cooperation skills.
The success of our programmes is recognised by governments around the world: in Benin we have helped the government develop a curriculum for young children; and in Rwanda we have had an active role in the creation of a national physical education and health curriculum, and our programmes have been rolled out across the country. There is now a 95% attendance rate in schools in Rwanda among children who have attended our programmes, compared to 85% in 2007.
Due to a history of territorial disputes and natural disasters, education infrastructure in Pakistan is poor. Schools throughout the country have low attendance, high dropout rates and poor academic performance. The male literacy rate is 70%, while the female rate is even lower at 46%.
Sadori lives in the remote district of Thatta, Pakistan. She comes from a tribe which is strictly opposed to education for women. But when UNICEF adopted 30 primary schools for its child friendly model education programmes, Sadori was given the opportunity to enrol in the government girls' primary school.
Having been excluded from school until then, and used to carrying out household chores, Sadori was shy and built a wall around her, shutting herself off from her peers. "I was scared of talking to my teachers and classmates. I always thought they would taunt me and ridicule me," Sadori said.
Right To Play began to run programmes in the school, in partnership with UNICEF, in order to develop the confidence of girls like Sadori. As a result, she went on to not only reach eighth grade, but also became a Junior Leader for Right To Play, leading programmes for other children and young people.