• Press Release - July 31, 2014

    How a boy from Ghana inspired a team to travel the 2,320 miles of the mighty Mississippi

    Mississippi Million challenge will see international team of philanthropists row the famed U.S. river to raise $1 million for Right To Play

    TORONTO, CANADA (31 July 2014) – When John Pritchard first met Richmond while on a family trip to Ghana, he could have never imagined it would lead to an adventure down the Mississippi River. John.jpg

    Pritchard, Chair of the Board of Directors for Right To Play UK, was with his wife and son visiting Right To Play programs at the Three Kings School for children with learning and physical disabilities in Battor, Ghana, when a lively young boy caught his attention.

    "I noticed Richmond on the edge of the playfield. He has Down Syndrome and at 10 years old—the same age as my son—he was half the size of the other boys," says Pritchard. "His personality is what really shone through. We struck up a friendship immediately and as he sat on my knee with his arms around my neck, I realized how much love and support this exceptional young boy needed. He made me realize I have a duty to try and do something that will make a change for kids like him."

    He decided on the Mississippi Million Challenge.

    Beginning in August, Pritchard and an international team of philanthropists and supporters will spend nearly three months rowing the 2,320 miles of the Mississippi River in a Victorian skiff named Richmond to raise awareness and $1 million for Right To Play.

    Right To Play is a global organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity. With programs in more than 20 countries, it reaches more than one million children through weekly play activities that engage them in critical lessons about health and disease prevention, peace and community development, and helps to develop their confidence and leadership skills.

    For a school like Three Kings—short on the resources needed to adequately support special needs children like Richmond—Right To Play games are an effective way to adapt lessons to ensure all children are engaged in their learning.

    "Unfortunately Richmond's story is not a unique one," says Right To Play President and CEO Johann Koss. "Millions of children around the world have been given a life with so little opportunity, yet every one of them is born with the same limitless potential. With the support of people like John and the Mississippi Million, we can work to ensure every child has a chance at a childhood and the opportunity to learn, grow and reach their full potential through play."  

    The Mississippi Million Challenge will begin Aug. 2 in South Clearwater, Minnesota. Throughout the challenge, Koss and around 50 others will join Pritchard for two-day stages of the row, which will end in New Orleans, Louisiana.

    To learn more about the Mississippi Million Challenge and to donate, visit: www.mississippimillion.com

    About Right To Play

    Right To Play is a global organization, using the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity. Through playing sports and games, Right To Play helps over one million children learn through play to create better futures, while driving lasting social change in more than 20 countries each week. Founded in 2000 by social entrepreneur and four-time Olympic gold medalist Johann Olav Koss, Right To Play is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and has national fundraising offices in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Regional offices are in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Our programs are facilitated by more than 600 international staff and 16,400 local volunteer Coaches.


    Kyla Pearson
    Media and Communications Officer
    Right To Play International                 
    Email: kpearson@righttoplay.com
    Phone: +1 (416) 498-1922 x. 240