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South Africa, 19 April 2018: “Let’s Play” – UNICEF, SuperSport and WWE celebrate the power of sport to help foster violence-free schools

© UNICEF South Africa/2018/Mojapelo
WWE star, Mandy Rose, with participants of the Lets Play Challenge in Cape Town on 19 April 2018.

Cape Town, 19 April 2018 – Statistics show that currently over 20 per cent of learners in South Africa have either been threatened or experienced some form of violence in schools and 31 per cent of school learners consume alcohol as a way to release stress and feel part of peer groups.

Sport has proven to be effective way to deal with these challenges. Through its Sport for Development (S4D) initiatives, UNICEF has shown that the introduction of inclusive sporting programmes can result in a 77 per cent reduction in violence, an 81 per cent improvement in learner attendance and a 76 per cent increase in positive life skills such as teamwork, cooperation and respect. Sports has unique convening power to bring everyone together, thus promoting diversity and inclusion in schools and in society while mitigating violence and bullying in schools.

With this in mind, UNICEF South Africa partnered on the Let’s Play Physical Education Challenge together with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and long-standing media partner SuperSport. 80 Grade 4 and Grade 6 learners participated in the Lets Play Physical Education Challenge together with popular sporting heroes.
 

© UNICEF South Africa/2018/Mojapelo
WWE star, Mandy Rose, with participants of the Lets Play Challenge in Cape Town on 19 April 2018.

Nearly 500 children from Athlone in Cape Town had the opportunity to meet Apollo and Mandy Rose, two of the WWE global stars, as well as Bongi Mbonambi and Jaco Coetzee, prominent rugby players from the Springboks and the Stormers teams respectively.

The Let’s Play Physical Education Challenge is a physical education and Sport-For-Development program that was launched in 2015 in order to educate children on how to live healthier lives and to reinforce the instruction of curriculum-oriented Physical Education, as well as teaching basic movement, co-ordination and to promote physical activity in all primary schools.

UNICEF South Africa together with Department of Basic Education, Sport and Recreation South Africa, the Sports Trust, SuperSport and Active Education have designed and implemented the program in 1,650 schools throughout South Africa. The winning team is rewarded with sport facilities valued at ZAR 1.4 million and this is sponsored by the organisation, the Sports Trust.

Through a range of exercises, the Lets Play Physical Education Challenge aims to bridge the social gaps that continue in South African society. Sports has the potential to bring children closer, teaches them discipline, builds team spirit and relieves stress, anxiety and negative emotions. In the words of WWE star, Mandy Rose, in her address to the participants, “when you do sports it does not matter who you are, you just play.”

 

 
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