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UNICEF and Vanuatu Football Federation help children to play and recover from Cyclone Pam

© UNICEF Pacific/2015/Vlad Sokhin
Henry Arsen 12 years old escapes from the reality around through football. Henry here juggles a soccer ball amongst of what remains of Erakor school on Efate island. The school was badly damaged by Cyclone Pam when it hit Vanuatu on March 13, 2015.

Port Vila, 16 April 2015 – UNICEF and the Vanuatu Football Federation (VFF) through the Just Play programme, are collaborating to use existing networks and sport to assist with emergency relief activities in Vanuatu following the category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam that struck Vanuatu four weeks ago.

“The work we are doing through this partnership with the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and working through our implementing partners at VFF through the Just Play Programme, is an important part of our work to address issues such as psychosocial support. Children may need support to cope with, and overcome, the stress of the cyclone. The use of sport, in this case football, is a powerful tool in the emotional recovery process, allowing children to have fun at a stressful time, connect with each other, collaborate, play and process their experiences” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr. Karen Allen.

Young representatives from the Just Play programme are participating this week in an orientation of peer educators on psychosocial support where they will gain skills to help other children to recover emotionally. 

The Just Play programme will also be organising festivals for an upcoming national birth registration campaign that is being launched in Tanna next week. This will be an opportunity for community outreach activities targeting children as well as parents and caregivers. 

Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) President and FIFA Vice President, David Chung, has come to Vanuatu this week to show his support for cyclone survivors, visiting affected children from the Just Play programme and their families. 

The OFC is also partnering with UNICEF to appeal for funds for the Vanuatu emergency through the two-week OFC Fiji Airways Champions League, a popular regional football competition currently being held in Fiji from 11 - 26 April.

The Just Play programme, was designed and monitored by the Social Responsibility Department of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), helping children to grow, learn and explore through sport.

About UNICEF: 

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: 

For further information, please contact:

Noreen Chambers, Communication Officer – (678) 5471473, Email: 

Vika Waradi, Communication Officer – (678) 5477798, Email: 



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