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Rugby means Na is setting goals for the future

Playing sport isn’t just good for our physical health. It can also be an important tool in developing confidence, leadership and life skills. That’s why at ChildFund, we believe in the power of sport to change children’s lives.

Seventeen-year-old Na (pictured above), is a high school student and a rugby coach with the Lao Rugby Federation. She joined the Pass It Back program in 2015 after being encouraged by friends.

“At the beginning I wasn’t interested in playing rugby,” says Na. “But when I started playing, it was so much fun as well as challenging. Since then, I’ve been playing rugby seriously.”

In the early days, Na said one of her friends asked: “You are a girl and not as strong as boys, so how can you play rugby and coach others?” This was an opportunity to Na to explain that girls have the same rights to play sport, and the same abilities.

Na says: “I believe that everyone has unlimited ability. If we have a strong intention to develop ourselves, we can make it happen.”

After spending four months as a rugby player, Na applied to become a coach with the Lao Rugby Federation (LRF). Because of her outstanding performance, Na is now a coach for three youth rugby teams in Xieng Khouang Province in northern Laos. 

Na says the Pass It Back program has taught her a great deal. She has strong leadership skills and the ability to set goals; these are tools that she can apply to her life off the rugby. Na explains: “When my parents are not at home, I have the confidence to make decisions and face and solve problems by myself.”

One of her goals is to complete her higher education. Na hopes to continue working as a rugby coach while she finishes her university course.

Na is also keen to share her newfound skills, saying she wants to “transfer all my knowledge to other children in my community”.

Seventeen-year-old Na is a coach for three youth rugby teams in Xieng Khouang Province in Laos. She says girls have the same rights as boys to play sport, and the same abilities.

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