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Children and youth from remote communities of Laos and Vietnam are learning rugby and life skills through ChildFund’s Pass it Back program, with girls making up over 50 per cent of the players and coaches.

January 12, 2017

Aussie Sevens stars support young rugby players in Vietnam

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: 12 January 2017: Two of Australia’s top rugby players will head to Vietnam this week to coach and support children from some of the poorest communities in Southeast Asia, as part of an innovative sport for development program managed by ChildFund Australia.

During the three-day visit, Australian Women’s Rugby Sevens Olympic gold medallist Nicole Beck and Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens Captain Lewis Holland will travel to Kim Boi district in northern Vietnam to run coach and referee clinics, and support a team competition involving more than 160 young players and coaches from remote communities of Laos and Vietnam.

The visit has been arranged under ChildFund’s Pass it Back program, which promotes the right to play in communities where children have little or no access to organised sport. Using a fully integrated rugby and life-skills curriculum, Pass it Back not only supports young people’s health and wellbeing but provides important learning opportunities around leadership, life skills and gender equality to help them overcome challenges, inspire positive change and ‘pass it back’ to their communities.

The program is supported by the Australian Government’s aid program through its Asia Sports Partnerships (ASP) initiative, which was established to foster links between Australia and Asia that promote community health, disability inclusion, gender equality and social cohesion.

To date, more than 2,500 children and youth in some of the poorest communities in Laos and Vietnam have benefitted from participation in the program, with girls making up over 50 per cent of the players and coaches.

“ChildFund’s Pass it Back program was set up for children living in rural and remote villages of Laos and Vietnam, who face significant challenges around poverty and inequality,” said ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence.

“As the program develops, it is wonderful to have the support of Australian Rugby to further build the knowledge and skills of our young players and coaches, and to inspire them to be strong leaders and role models within their communities.”

“I can’t wait to get these kids excited about playing rugby,” said Aussie Sevens star Nicole Beck. “It is a privilege to be able to travel to these communities and support the development of new talent. I am particularly impressed that in Laos and Vietnam, where rugby is a relatively new sport, so many girls and young women are jumping in and giving it a go. It’s really fantastic.”

The Pass it Back Cup will be held from 13-15 January 2017 in Vietnam. Photos and footage available upon request.

About Pass it Back

Pass It Back is an innovative Sport for Development program led by ChildFund in partnership with World Rugby, Asia Rugby and Women Win. The program aims to equip children and young people in Asia to overcome challenges, inspire positive social change and ‘pass it back’ to their communities. Using Get Into Rugby, a World Rugby program to grow the Game globally, the program gets children and youth to Try, Play and Stay in the Game. It is a part of the Impact Beyond Rugby World Cup 2019 programme (‘Impact Beyond 2019’), which will increase awareness and sustainable growth of rugby in Asia. Pass It Back delivers an integrated rugby and life-skills curriculum in a safe environment that promotes the values of the Game and builds a new generation of leaders in disadvantaged communities across Asia.