Belfast, February 16th 2018: ChildFund Pass it Back
A group of 3 coaches and 15 players from ChildFund Pass It Back in Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines had a life-changing opportunity to travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland from 17-23 August during the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017. The team, touring as the South East Asian (SEA) Dragons, spent 7 days taking part in international rugby events, cultural exchange experiences and life skills activities, with the trip culminating in the ChildFund Pass It Back Cup.
ChildFund Pass It Back is a Sport for Development program led by ChildFund in partnership with World Rugby, Asia Rugby and Women Win that delivers an integrated life skills and rugby curriculum for children and youth in disadvantaged communities across Asia. The program works to equip young people to overcome challenges, inspire positive social change and “pass it back” to their communities. The program has delivered more than 20,000 training sessions to more than 4,000 players – 311 teams have been formed and 170 Coaches have also been trained. ChildFund Pass It Back is strongly committed to promoting gender equity through our work and more than 50% of players and coaches are female.
The ChildFund Pass It Back Cup brought together more than 100 female rugby athletes from the greater Belfast area, as well as the 3 visiting countries. With support from the Irish Rugby Football Union, Ulster Rugby and the Belfast Harlequins, the event demonstrated the power of sport to unite players from diverse backgrounds. Rugby Australia’s Wallaroos also came down to lend their support, inspiring young players and coaches by talking about their experiences and supporting teams.
“I think an event like this is a really valuable experience for these girls. These girls from 3 different countries, they communicate in such a way that isn’t necessarily through their voice but in other ways and they’re inspiring each other and I just think that this is teaching about self-esteem and self-confidence and the ability to believe in themselves and know that if they
have a dream or desire then they can follow that. What better way than on the rugby field – it’s really empowering!” said Louise Burrows, from the Wallaroos, highlighting some of the benefits for young people participating.
Echoing the comments of the Wallaroo, Angel, a young coach from the Philippines added “The impact of this trip on the players is an increase in self-confidence, new knowledge from their experiences during training, learning about different cultures and getting along with people from other countries, despite the language barriers. They are having fun, they understand each other, and are getting along very well. Hopefully, they’ll be able to realise they will be able to receive more opportunities if they persevere.”
At the end of the trip, players’ highlights were meeting and training with the Wallaroos and Cooke Women’s Rugby and for many, seeing the sea for the first time while visiting the Giant’s Causeway. Returning from the ChildFund Pass It Back Cup, the team carried lasting memories, a better understanding about the world over seas, greater confidence, and many new skills – all to be passed back to their communities!
Following the tremendous success of the trip, ChildFund Pass It Back looks forward to being able to bringing opportunities to more coaches and Players in the coming months and years working closely with our rugby partners.
To view the ‘Rise of the SEA Dragons documentary, visit our Facebook page HERE