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The simple answer is we are looking
for an idea that will generate that spark.”
• For information on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’
international program, including the
, log onto www.icmd-cidm.ca
Breaking out of the arena
The hidden powers of sport
A soccer tournament in Rwanda will be part of Kristina Molloy
for the rest of her life.
“Thousands of people came out. At the end it went to a
shoot-out and the fans were just freaking out. It was louder than anything I’d
ever heard,” says Molloy.
“They did a huge parade at the end and they hoisted all the
players up on their shoulders and were running around the soccer field. It was
It was all so amazing, not because of the setting in the almost
ethereal rolling red-earth hills of Rwanda, or the fans’ wild enthusiasm, or
the fact it took place in a refugee camp for 16,000 people.
It was amazing because the players were all girls. And only a
few short months before, those same girls — members of traditional
cultures that didn’t allow them to take part in such activities — had
been so jeered and laughed at as they made their first tentative attempts at
playing soccer that Molloy had been moved to tears.
Molloy, currently a coordinator for the 2010 Paralympic Games,
is no stranger to the emotional roller-coaster of sports. As a former rowing coach
at UBC she’d seen the thrills, the disappointments. But in her year of
volunteer work with Right To Play in Rwanda, she witnessed a new dimension to
the power of sport and play.
Right To Play sprang out of Olympic Aid, which started at the
1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. The organizing committee there
decided that the Games’ legacy should reach beyond gold medals and world
records, so that athletes could “give back” through a humanitarian
Olympic Aid was born, a non-profit organization aimed at using
sport and play to help children affected by war, poverty, and illness. The
organization’s vision is simple but powerful: “a world in which every child
enjoys the right to play.”