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Did you know that ChildFund Pass It Back has registered more than 500 rugby coaches in Asia? These individuals are key to the program’s success. Working often in remote and rural areas, our coaches deliver rugby and life skills activities to children in their communities, in their own language.
Many of these coaches have taken part in ChildFund Pass It Back as players, and increased their resilience, confidence and vision. This gives them the ability to drive positive change and promote learning at a grassroots level. They are active citizens, promoting positive social change and passing it back to a new generation!
Who are they?
ChildFund Pass It Back coaches are recruited from the communities where ChildFund works in Laos, Philippines, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.
Reinaldo, age 18, is one of ChildFund Pass It Back’s newest coaches in Timor-Leste.
They can be mothers, farmers, village representatives, local youth union members or even high school students. When they are not at training, they might be at school, in the field harvesting crops or in the local market running a food stall.
But as ChildFund Pass It Back coaches, they share the same values, a love of the game, and a strong commitment to improving the lives of the children in their local communities.
Great role models who inspire their players
Lao Khang’s journey through ChildFund Pass It Back is incredibly inspiring. It is the story of a Hmong girl from the rural north of Laos who not only became a ChildFund Pass It Back coach, but a rugby player with her national team.
Now a development officer with Lao Rugby Federation, she has also been included in BBC’s 2018 list of its 100 most influential and inspirational women from around the world, chosen for their impact on their communities. In 2019 Lao was named in Forbes 30 under 30 Asia Entertainment and Sports.
A young girl who had to quit school at the age of 13, Lao Khang is now a role model to young people. She says: “I want to help involve as many Lao girls and women from rural and remote communities as possible in rugby so they too can feel brave and strong.”
Passionate and committed
Have you heard of the story of our female coaches in Vietnam, who travelled 80 km once a week to reach their players? And that 80 km road is not smooth – it is full of rocks and bumps. When it rains, there isn’t even a road, but that isn’t an obstacle to Mo and Hien.
“There were cold days, and there were rainy days, and some players had to walk 3km from their home to the pitch, yet they showed up for sessions,” says Coach Mo. “Their eagerness to learn motivated us.”
In other regions of Vietnam, Coach Thang travels by boat to a river island each week for training sessions. Running organised sport and learning activities in remote communities is not a simple job and, without these bold and passionate coaches, we wouldn’t be able to grow rugby and life skills learning in these rural villages.
They act with integrity
Integrity is one among rugby’s five values. Building leadership skills among young people is an important objective of the ChildFund Pass It Back program, and integrity is essential to being an effective leader. ChildFund Pass It Back coaches, as role models in the community, recognise the importance of demonstrating this value in everything they do, both on and off the pitch.
They love to learn
Coming from remote, marginalised communities throughout Asia, some of ChildFund Pass It Back coaches haven’t had the opportunity to complete their schooling. But this hasn’t stopped them from wanting to learn.
Mothers become Coaches. Farmers become referees. High school students take an active role in measuring change in their local communities, even coming up with new and useful tools to help improve our impact assessments! We know that this desire to learn and grow will take them far.
They never give up
Last, but definitely not least, what we love about our coaches is their determination. This is a group of people who never give up. When there are challenges, coaches sit down together to discuss solutions. When they encounter failure, they learn from their mistakes and use it as a lesson to do better in the future.
In their monthly coach journal entries, Que says: “We must try and stand up when facing failure. Success is not guaranteed without further improvement.”
‘Never give up’ is also one of the sessions in our “Planning for the Future” curriculum. And guess what? It has been voted to by coaches and players’ alike as their most favorite session!