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Hien is defining leadership this International Youth Day

At 18 years old Hien became a rugby coach through ChildFund Sport for Development program, Pass It Back. At the age of 19, she led a group of coaches and at 20 she was the first ever President of the Hoa Binh Rugby Network, the first community rugby network in Vietnam.

This International Youth Day 12 August we’re celebrating young people like Hien. Through rugby, Hien is becoming more confident and has become a role model for her peers.

“I used to find it hard to voice my opinion in front of a crowd, partly because I had no idea if I was right or not, and I was afraid of being wrong, and partly because I thought no one would care to listen,” she says. “Since I joined the program, though, I learned a lot of useful things, like how it does not matter whether you are male or female, everyone has the right to speak up and voice their opinion.”

ChildFund Sport for Development is making sure that rugby is a safe and inclusive space for children and youth – particularly for young girls – to learn a new skill, grow their confidence, make friends and engage with their community.

When Hien first started coaching, she was nervous to take on the responsibility and was unsure about her abilities. As she developed her coaching skills over time, she could see her players were learning.

Through coaching, Hien has had the opportunity to challenge the gender stereotypes that exist in her community and has become a respected leader. She now leaps at the opportunity to take on more responsibility.

“When the previous coach left to take care of his newborn baby, I was voted to be his replacement as the coach group leader of Ngo Luong commune,” Hien says. “After a while, I became the coach group leader of Quyet Chien commune as well. I was under a lot of pressure at the time, but I tried to look at it as an opportunity to learn new skills and grow.”

Last year, Hien was voted to be the first ever President of Hoa Binh Rugby Network. “When I heard that I had the highest vote counts and would become the first President of the network, all I could do was grin,” she says.

“Little by little, I got used to the work and could manage all my responsibilities. I started spending most of my free time on the job. I went online and researched how to run a club and attract members. I grew more confident in assigning tasks and discussing work with members of the rugby club network. Everyone listened to and supported my decisions, which made me happy.

“As a coach and a leader, I have to be a role model. My players will look at everything I do and learn from it.”

Programs like ChildFund’s Pass It Back provide young people like Hien with the opportunity to develop the confidence necessary to reach their full potential and be able to speak up for their rights.

“People will now look at my actions and how I conduct myself,” Hien says. “I never used to care about life’s happenings, I was very uninvolved. Now when I see something that I think is not right, I will speak up.”

This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

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