By Marijke Vandergift
Right To Play began offering sport and play programs to children in rural communities of Peru in December 2008. In just over a year, the reputation of the organization’s programs has spread so widely that children in isolated areas across the southern region of the country have made the effort to come and participate.
In December 2009, Right To Play staff organized and hosted a Play Day in Cusco, located in the Andean mountains. Nearly 1,500 students and teachers from schools in and around Cusco participated in games and other activities celebrating the power of sport and play to create healthier, safer and more active communities.
One of the schools invited to join the event was located outside of Cusco in a more rural area. The group had planned to drive to Cusco in order to participate, but the day before the Play Day was scheduled, they were told that the school’s van needed repairs and gas. The school could not afford to buy the gas or to pay for the repairs. The teacher told the students that they wouldn’t be able to go to the Play Day and the students were very upset.
The next morning, the teacher was awoken by a knock on his door at 4 a.m. He opened it and saw the group of all of his students. They told him that they had decided to walk to the Play Day, four hours away. The teacher was so moved that he got dressed and joined their four-hour journey to Cusco so that the children could participate in the Right To Play event.
The children enjoyed the day immensely and when the day was over, they started back on their long four-hour walk home.
Angel Cabrera, Program Coordinator for Right To Play in Cusco, was also impressed and moved by the children’s efforts to participate. “The dedication of the children, and their desire to be able to play and learn new games with other children from all over Cusco, was incredible to see,” said Angel. “It reminded us of why we have put together the Play Day for children in rural areas that don’t often get the chance to attend this kind of event. To be able to have such a positive impact on so many children in one day is so rewarding.”