For more than 20 years, Right To Play has worked in some of the most difficult and dangerous places on earth to help children to stay in school and graduate, resist exploitation and overcome prejudice, keep themselves safe from disease, and heal from the harsh realities of war and abuse.
It all began with a boy in a long sleeve t-shirt…
It was only a few months before the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics, when Norwegian speed skater Johann Olav Koss led
a humanitarian trip to the newly formed African country of Eritrea. There, he came face-to-face with the realities of life in a country emerging from decades of war.
As children played amidst burned out tanks, surrounded by the images of war martyrs, one boy stood out and crystallized
an idea for Johann that would write the future of Right To Play.
He met the President of Eritrea and said, ‘You need food and I have brought sports equipment. I made a mistake. I’m sorry.’ The President looked at Johann and said, ‘This is the greatest gift we have ever received. For the first time, we are being treated like human beings–not just something to be kept alive. For the first time, my children can play like any child.’
For Johann, it felt like the starting point for something bigger. Since then, the power of play has helped millions of children to rise and recapture hope.
Our early years, 2001 – 2004, are focused on humanitarian needs in Africa, and Asia and the Middle East.
Programs launch in Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Mali, Thailand, Rwanda and the Palestinian Territories,
helping 500,000 children to rise each week.
Right To Play IN Thailand
In 2002, we started working in Thailand with a program to promote the normalization of life through sport and play in Tsunami-hit communities and provinces. We registered as foundation in Thailand Since 2007 (Kor Thor 1689). Over the years, we have grown to become experts in life skills development and youth leadership development while closely working with the Ministries of Education, Justice, and Interior as well as other stakeholders in children and youths’ lives to protect, educate, and empower children and youth.