Young, bold and inspirational
Trang is a teenage rugby player from Hoa Binh, Vietnam. She has been playing the game for over two years now and anyone meeting her for the first time is impressed by her liveliness.
But what impresses people even more is what this 13-year-old girl has accomplished at her young age.
“I love being part of ChildFund Pass It Back because I can make many new friends! I also learnt more about gender and why we should treat girls and boys equally,” says Trang.
“In the past, I often cried to myself because my parents seemed to prefer my younger brother. Though my brother was stubborn and naughty, they were more on his side many times. I found it unfair, however, I didn’t say that to them.
“After I learned about the rights of children and gender equality from the Understanding Gender Module, I understood that people should not be discriminated against just because of their gender. Boys are no better than girls, we are both human. Boys or girls, we are both our parents’ children and we should be treated equally.
“One day, I tried to talk to my parents about how I felt and that sons and daughters should be equally loved and cared for by their parents. My mother did not say anything, but afterwards she has lessened her favour toward my brother.
“At times, when my brother and I had conflicts, my mother would try to solve it, she also asked my brother to behave, instead of making me be the one to have to apologise to my brother and make peace with him like before. I was happy that I had finally plucked my courage up to speak up.”
Finding her voice
Coach Dung, who coaches Trang’s team, says: “It is important to equip children with knowledge about gender equality. I believe that when children know their rights, they will confidently speak their mind and raise their voice.
“As Trang’s coach, I am proud that ChildFund Pass It Back’s Understanding Gender curriculum has helped her gain confidence to stand up for her rights.”
Trang’s mother says: “Each time when she returns from training, Trang tells us a lot of things. She is excited about going to the pitch, and always does her house chores in advance in exchange for our permission to go.
“In the past, she used to be a short-tempered child. If something upset her, she would get sulky and give us the silent treatment. Now she talks to us about these things and points out what troubles her and what makes her unhappy – she has stopped sulking.
“Witnessing her changes and her fondness for the sport, we are very happy and totally support her joining ChildFund Pass It Back.”
A young role model
Trang is now the captain of her team, and is looked up to by her teammates.
“Trang is a good player yet she doesn’t look down on or judge those who are not yet good at playing. Instead, she always encourages us to learn from each other to be better.
“She is also a good team captain. She often supports other players in the team who might be stuck with some rugby techniques. And, she also reminds us not to be defensive when someone gives us feedback to help us improve.”
She’s also well-liked by her peers at school. Trang’s classmates add: “In our class, Trang regularly helps other friends with the lessons. If we have something that we don’t understand, we feel comfortable asking Trang for help.
“Trang is a smart student, but she’s not snobbish about it and she never looks down on those who don’t perform well at school. Trang is always available to help others to study better.”
Coach is Dung very proud of that: “I realised that it is important for our players to have a role model to follow. And I was even happier that one of our players had become a role model for their peers. Anyone can be a role model.”
Building stronger communities
Trang adds: “I hope the program can spread everywhere, even across the globe, so children in other places of the world can enjoy learning and playing like us here.”
Using sport as a platform to equip girls and young women with important leadership and life skills, ChildFund Pass It Back supports girls and young women to reach their full potential.
Trang’s story shows how girls, even at their young age, can actively stand up for their rights and become role models in their local community.