A group of rugby players from five different countries have just finished a charity trip to Rwanda.
Twenty-one members of the King Penguins International Rugby Club spent the past week, from June 17 to 25, touring around Rwanda in an effort to support the sport.
“Our aim is to support rugby in Rwanda, and all those who are involved here with the sport,” explained Craig Brown, one of the leaders of the trip.
The group spent time coaching teams in Kigali. Two locations the team coached at were the Rwanda Orphan Project and St. John’s Baptist School.
They also played a match against the country’s national rugby team, the Rwandan Silverbacks.
“We also brought with us 300 kilograms-worth of clothing, books, first aid kits and rugby equipment for the local communities,” explained Brown. The donations were collected in the club’s home country, the U.K, during a donation drive leading up to the trip.
Brown said he hopes the club’s coaching and donations will encourage Rwandan youth to play more rugby.
“We interacted with many young people,” he explained, “so hopefully we inspired them a little to continue on.”
The trip comes on the heels of a similar tour the team took to Rwanda in 2010, which only involved coaching.
“We hope to be back in the future as well,” said Brown, “because our team funds a couple of other rugby projects in Rwanda.”
The King Penguins are currently involved with two other local charities to fund a new rugby centre for Rwandan National Rugby Federation.
Since the establishment of the Rwandan National Rugby Federation in 2009, rugby has been one of the fastest growing sports in Rwanda.
“Rugby is certainly on the up in Rwanda, and these tours are helping to increase the sport’s profile,” explained Dave Hughes, honorary director of the Rwandan Rugby Federation. “There are more clubs starting up, more kids playing, and more women’s teams being formed.”