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News note

UNICEF Korea and Seoul broadcasting systems team up to leave a legacy for children

INANDA, DURBAN, 23 June 2010 - Amidst the excitement of the Republic of Korea’s progression to the second round of the World Cup, representatives from Seoul Broadcasting Systems (SBS), UNICEF, the Department of Basic Education and the staff and children of Nhlanhlayethu Secondary School, gathered to observe the signing of a partnership agreement between SBS and the Korean Committee for UNICEF which will see the up-grading of the school's current sport and playing field.

Although the school building is prominent amongst the small and simple houses dotting the hills around it, the playing field at Nhlanhlayethu is currently nothing more than an uneven dusty field littered with stones.

“UNICEF believes that engaging children in structured play and organized sports in schools and communities across the country is the best way to leave a legacy for development beyond 2010,” said Ms. Aida Girma, UNICEF Representative in South Africa, “and the provision of safe sports fields and play areas is integral to its success”.

CEO and President of SBS, Mr. Won Gil Woo, pledged the broadcaster’s support to the development of sport and children in South Africa, saying “We are very happy to work with UNICEF and to have this opportunity to give back.”

The commitment by SBS – who hold exclusive broadcasting rights for the World Cup in the Republic of Korea – was solidified through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by Mr. Won Gil Woo and Ms. Dong-Eun Park, Executive Director of the Korean Committee for UNICEF. Two sport fields at schools in South Africa will be upgraded, the first one at Nhlanhlayethu.

Partnerships for Children’s Development
The Vice Minister for Sport and Culture in the Republic of Korea, Mr. Doe-Gin Kim, highlighted the importance of partnerships for development by recalling his childhood – in the days before the Republic of Korea was an economic powerhouse – when he and other children had nothing but dirt and stones to play with. Now, as one of the top 20 economies in the world, the Republic of Korea is in a position to work closely with other countries to support their development.

“We hope that today will be the mustard seed for further development opportunities between South Africa and the Republic of Korea,” said Mr. Doe-Gin Kim.

In spite of the fact that schools in South Africa are currently on holiday, over 400 children from the school and community attended the pledge ceremony, and cheered loudly for the delegation from the Republic of Korea, congratulating them not only on their contribution to sport for development, but also for their success in the World Cup. The school is well known for producing a number of sporting stars and while poverty and over-crowding present major challenges to the quality of education, the school is aiming for a 90 per cent matric pass rate in 2010.

The Right to Play
UNICEF recognizes that sport and play can be powerful vehicles for working with disadvantaged and vulnerable children. Regular physical activity is essential for the physical, mental, psychological and social development of children and teens. Sport is also an ideal entry point for child, youth and community programmes. This is the concept for ‘sport for development’ – that sport is not just an end in itself, but also an effective tool to achieve goals in health, education, gender equality, HIV and AIDS and child protection.

UNICEF has teamed up with the Department of Basic Education to bring Sport for Development to more than one million children in over 700 most needy schools in the country. The approach is part of the Safe and Child Friendly School programme that works to transform schools into safe, healthy and child-friendly learning environments.

For information, please contact:
Ms Yvonne Duncan
Tel + 27 82 561 3970,

Kate Pawelczyk:
Mobile 0731563650 / 0823365565,




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