Celebrating Laureus Sport for Good Award recipients

The Laureus World Sports Awards is the most prestigious annual honours event on the international sporting calendar and has recognised and celebrated memorable achievements in sport since its inception in 2000. 
As well as celebrating sporting achievement, the Awards also shine a light on the inspirational work Laureus-supported programmes undertake around the world, using the power of sport to help young people overcome violence, discrimination and disadvantage. 
Each year, one of the highlights of the Awards Ceremony is the presentation of the Laureus Sport for Good Award, an Award given to an organisation or individual who successfully uses the power of sport to make a change to society by helping young people overcome violence, discrimination or disadvantage.
The Award winner is decided by the 68 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, a unique group of sporting legends.
For the first time ever, three programmes have been shortlisted for the Laureus Sport for Good Award and announced alongside the Nominees, reflecting the outstanding contribution made by grassroots sports organisations during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The shortlisted projects are: KICKFORMORE, a football programme in Germany that encourages participants to make positive contributions in their communities; Boxgirls Kenya, which uses boxing to empower at-risk girls in slum communities in Nairobi; and Fundación Colombianitos, a Colombian organisation focusing on football and rugby to promote education and bridge gender gaps.
Laureus Sport for Good supports more than 200 programmes in over 40 countries and has transformed the lives of more than 6 million children and young people over the past two decades.

Over the last 20 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to see the transformational power sport can have in changing young lives through the inspirational work of Laureus Sport for Good.

Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy Sean Fitzpatrick
Recent winners of the Sport for Good Award have come from across the globe including Kenya, South Africa, India, the United Kingdom and the United States. 
Each programme operates in different and often challenging circumstances in communities around the world, but they are all celebrated for their common goal in using sport to change the lives of young people for the better. 
In 2018, Active Communities Network (ACN) received the Award for their work supporting young people in the UK, Ireland and South Africa. Using a variety of sports, the organisation works with marginalised and vulnerable young people, helping to strengthen and reinforce positive lifestyle choices, and offering a pathway to learning new skills and progressing into education, training and employment programmes.
ACN has come a long way since it was founded in 2007.  With support from Laureus Sport for Good and other partners, over 160,000 young people have been through its programmes in the UK and Ireland, with phenomenal success:  30,000 participants have moved into education, training or employment.  
Laureus Academy Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick (L) with Laureus Sport For Good Award winners Gary Stannett, (C) Founder of Active Communities Network and Ade Akande and Ibrahim Kanu from Active Communities Network with Benedict Cumberbatch (R) during the Laureus Sport For Good Award Announcement at the Meridien Beach Plaza on February 26, 2018 in Monaco
Benedict Cumberbatch (L) visits the Laureus supported Active Communities Network programme at Burgess Park Community Sports Centre, ahead of hosting the 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco 
Academy award-winning actor and three-time host of the Laureus World Sports Awards, Benedict Cumberbatch, said: “I have seen first-hand the work Active Communities Network undertakes, and for me it is the perfect example of ‘Sport for Good’. I met inspirational leaders who have come through the programme and are now role models, coaches and facilitators, giving back to the next generation.”
A year later Yuwa, an organisation from Jharkhand, India, won the Award for their use of football as a tool to empower girls and transform their lives to overcome poverty, violence and child marriages in the region.
Presenting the Award after having a kick-about with some of the young beneficiaries, legendary former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger said: “People talk about the beautiful game, and the Laureus-supported Yuwa programme is a wonderful example of the beautiful impact our sport can have. 
“The work Yuwa is doing in rural communities in India reaches far beyond the football pitch. They are changing perceptions, improving lives and giving young girls the chance to create brighter futures.”
Laureus Members, Boris Becker, Cafu, Arsene Wenger and Event Host, James Marsden with Neeta Kumari, Hema Kumari, Konika Kumari, Radha Kumari, of the Yuwa Football Girls team a football based charity from India winners of the Laureus Good For Sport Award on February 17, 2019 in Monaco
Fitzpatrick, who became Chairman of the Academy in May 2016 after a glittering career in international rugby for the New Zealand All Blacks, added: “There is this village where, four years ago, 100% of the girls were child brides. These girls were 10, 11, 12 years old, and there was 90% illiteracy among them. Then an American set up a school for girls only, where the girls played soccer. The fathers in the village were very unhappy, because to them, soccer and education were for boys. Now, this has changed. Today, there is not a single child bride in the village.
“We are lucky enough to learn about innovative and inspirational programs who are using sport to better the lives of young people in their communities. Football for these young girls in the YUWA program is a life-changing opportunity, and the young girls here today are proof of that.”
Most recently, South Bronx United, a youth development organisation that uses soccer to support and engage with young people from underprivileged communities in New York, received the Laureus Sport for Good Award in 2020.
Host Hugh Grant (L) and Laureus Academy member Sean Fitzpatrick congratulate Co-founder and Executive Director Andrew So, Maria Martinez, Mohamed Konate from South Bronx United winners of the Laureus Sport For Good Award during the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards at Verti Music Hall on February 17, 2020 in Berlin, Germany
Fitzpatrick said: “On behalf of the Laureus World Sports Academy, I would like to commend South Bronx United for their outstanding work in using sport as a tool for social change. In 2000, our Patron Nelson Mandela said ‘Sport has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.’ 
The winners of the 22nd Laureus World Sports Awards are to be announced in a new-style format this year. 
As well as recognising the most memorable sporting performances to have taken place in 2020 despite the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic, this year there will be additional special Awards acknowledging the wider impact on society made by athletes.
In line with the growing focus of Laureus on Sport for Good, the 2021 Awards will tell the inspirational stories of people who have worked tirelessly to combat the pandemic and will highlight the advocacy of sportsmen and sportswomen who have used their positions of influence to make a powerful impact on issues and conflicts which transcend sport.

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