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Right to Play brings sport and play to children in Israel and Palestine

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Johann Koss, President and CEO of Right To Play signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNRWA today in Jericho. This marks the first time that Right To Play will bring its signature programs for children to Israel and in Palestine.
Right To Play is working with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the West Bank (UNRWA) to bring its popular SportWorks program to 10,000 children and youth in refugee camps in Jericho and Ramallah, Palestine. Right To Play currently has one team of two Project Coordinators involved with project delivery in Jericho. In February 2004, Right To Play will extend the implementation of their SportWorks project in the West Bank, adding another team of two Project Coordinators in Ramallah.

Right To Play is also bringing sport and play to Israel and Palestine in partnership with the Peres Center for Peace. This partnership will enlarge and enhance the Center's existing Twinned Soccer School programs in the cities of Issawiya/Sderot, Muslim Quarter, Old City/Bnei Aish and Hizmeh/Kiriyat Ekron. Over 480 Palestinian and Israeli children will participate as part of the twinning project.

"This historic agreement will bring sport and play to children who have witnessed a great deal of violence and unrest in recent years. We are taking our knowledge and experience of working in other areas of strife and conflict and bringing it to the Middle East." said Koss.

The signing of this agreement was preceded by a soccer match and basketball game played by children from UNRWA's co-ed school in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp in Jericho. The matches were followed by a press conference and signing ceremony between Mr. Koss and UNRWA's Commissioner-General, Peter Hansen.

UNRWA is a relief and human development agency, providing education, healthcare, social services and emergency aid to over 4 million refugees living in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Syrian Arab Republic.

The Peres Center for Peace is a non-profit, non-partisan organization, committed to advancing Arab-Israeli peace. Its mission is to build an infrastructure for peace by, and for, the people of the Middle East that promotes socio-economic development, while advancing cooperation and mutual understanding.

These programs are supported by The Representative Office of Norway to the Palestinian Authority and funded by the Government of Norway.

Right To Play is an athlete-driven humanitarian non-governmental organization delivering sport and play programs to the world's most disadvantaged children and communities - refugee populations, former child combatants, and children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Currently Right To Play programs are being implemented in Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Pakistan, Thailand, Belize, Israel and Palestine.

For further information, please contact:

Martha Murray
Manager, Communications
416 498-1922 x 204 (office)
416 801-8384 (mobile)