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Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

In Australia, some of the best childhood memories are made during our summer holidays.

Long days and bright evenings, coupled with lots of free time thanks to the school break and public holidays, means summer really is the festive season in so many ways. A chance to shrug off daily routines, reconnect with friends and family, and most important have some fun!

Here are five games that will put a smile on the faces of everyone in the family, young and old.

 

1. Touch rugby

Touch rugby is so hassle free and easy to understand that even children in the remote highlands of Laos and Vietnam, who have never heard of the game, are falling in love with it. That’s one of the reasons ChildFund Pass it Back has been so quick to reach so many children throughout Asia.

All you need is a ball (preferably a rugby ball) and some markers for the field lines. You can play with as few as four players and can set up a field anywhere: the backyard, the park or the beach.

 

2. Football

Throughout the globe, you will see children making balls out of everything from plastic bags to cane. If you have a ball and at least two people, you can play a game of football.

You can play football on the smallest of pitches, but it does help to have a bit of extra room (especially if you want to run around). It’s a good excuse to take your family out to the beach or local park.

 

Growing up in Australia, playing sport was a given, although I never dreamed that I would end up a professional athlete, and especially not a rugby union player.

Having the opportunity to take part in organised sport is not something that is available to all children as I recently saw first hand during a trip to Laos with ChildFund.

In Nonghet Province, in the country’s north, sporting facilities are few and far between. This is a region that is also still recovering from the Vietnam war, with high levels of unexploded ordnance contamination making large areas of land unsafe.

The ChildFund Pass It Back rugby for development program is giving many young people here the opportunity to take part in tag rugby. It’s often the first time they’ve had the chance to play organised sport. Not only is this rugby for good program giving vulnerable children from developing communities to chance to play, but its unique curriculum also teaches young players about planning for the future, teamwork and gender equality.

The sheer joy on the kids’ faces in Laos was infectious. It really is a universal truth that every child loves to play! I was so touched to see how much these children treasure their involvement in rugby and embrace every minute on the field and with their teammates.

The experience really drove home to me that everyone should be able to give sport a go, whether they’re growing up in Laos or Australia, and everyone should be able to try rugby, whether they’re female or male.

What’s most impressive about ChildFund Pass It Back is the fact that over 50 per cent of the participants are girls and young women. Because it’s such a new sport in Laos, there are no pre-conceptions that it’s only a game for the boys.