Coach Hien’s story: I’m proud to support my community during COVID-19

Hien is a keen Pass It Back Coach from Vietnam. She started coaching more than 2 years ago and as well as being a Life Skills and Rugby Coach, she is also a Trainer who supports others with developing their rugby coaching skills at regular coach training events.

Coach Hien

Hien is also one of the first female contact rugby players in Vietnam! She played at the first international rugby tournaments in Vietnam, and she has just been elected to be the Vice-President of the Hoa Binh Rugby Network – the first community-based rugby club network in Vietnam!

Like everyone else in her community, Hien spent the first few months of 2020 in a way she had never seen before with the country being under restrictions for months due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It was a challenging time for everyone, especially children.

“The children couldn’t go to school and therefore their studying was interrupted. They may also be at more risk of domestic violence. Having to spend too much time at home without being able to hang out with friends, children lose access to their peer support networks and may not know where to go to seek help when needed.”

From early recovery

As Vietnam lifted restrictions in early May 2020, Hien started coaching again a few weeks later.

“I was trained to deliver Reconnect, a new curriculum that supports children to keep themselves safe and healthy during the pandemic time. 

“Reconnect just came right on time. Beside teaching children skills to protect themselves from COVID-19 such as keeping good hygiene and keeping safe distances, it also provides children in the community a safe playground during a challenging time. They can reconnect with their friends, have a network to share their experiences with, and know that they can reach out for help when needed. They can also have access to a reliable source of information on how to stay safe and healthy. 

“The children also spread the messages they learn from the curriculum to their families! Luan is a player who lives near my house – we are actually relatives. One day, we visited his family and by that time Luan’s father had just finished cooking. Luan told him “Father, you just touched raw meat, you need to wash your hands”. I was very happy because my player remembered that he needed to wash his hands regularly to protect himself from the disease. I was also very proud since I had taught him something and he showed that he could influence his parents.”

 “I was also very proud since I had taught him something and he showed that he could influence his parents.”

To ‘I have a goal’

Since September 2020, Coaches across Laos and Vietnam started a new phase of Reconnect, responding to the changing conditions, called ‘Reconnect – I Have a Goal’, building on the early recovery Reconnect module delivered in the previous months. 

“Setting goals is an important set of skill for everyone, especially during this challenging time. Being able to identify our goal and to make a plan for achieving it helps us to be assured about what we want to do and get us somewhat ready for whatever will happen (for example another lockdown).

“I’m really impressed with one of my player’s goal: to pass the university entrance examination once she finishes high school. Thanks to the skills she has learned, she reached out to her teacher and asked her for extra support after class.”

Proud to be a leader supporting her community

“As a Coach, I’m very proud to be able to contribute to keeping my community safe and healthy, supporting children to have access to a safe place to play, learn, and share. I’m proud to be a role model for my players to look up to and follow. In the past, I never imagined I could be who I am today. Becoming a Pass It Back Coach changed my life.”

Hien, far left, with her peer Coaches at a Coach Training