Founding committee member David Barker , Emma Rees, Danny Stoker, Andrew Pollard, Kirstie Wielandt, Ian Wells, Deena Aiken Lucie Rideot, and Tony Newman gathered to lay down the strategic plan for the development of the charity and the sport in Rwanda. It was decided that the mission of the charity would be to assist the growth of teams and schools participation in rural communities. With a plan for 2 serving trustees to visit the country and seek information about infrastructure specific tangible targets were replaced with creating a structure for continuous feedback and adaptability of the program’s working projects.
HAKAZIMANA Jean Paul, USENGIMANA Fabrice, HABUMUGISHA Moise, TWAMBALE Aristide, NSENGIYUMVA Jean Paul, KAMANZI Isaac, MUSANA Emmanuel, SHEMA Bryan, IYIZIRE Cedric Yahaya, URWIBUTSO Mihigo Felix, NIYIDUHA Eric, (Coach) GAKARAGE Philip.
Deena Aiken and Emma Rees travelled up to assess the possibility of introducing rugby into this community. After a day spent meeting leaders it was decided that an introduction may be possible once the sport becomes more developed and local coaches are able to become responsible for delivery.
Exciting times for the charity with the arrival of Toby Kyle and Kate Alback. This pair of teachers came to Rwanda loaded with valuable funds raised from the Shanghai school community in which they work but perhaps of greater value was 110 kilograms of equipment they bought to donate to local schools and youth groups. Their time was spent coaching children and young adults from an orphanage, The Red Cross and Universities across the country. At the end of their stay they held a tournament for two age levels 14/15 years and small boys and girls. The children all received a t-shirt for participating and with 70 young people involved the day gave them a chance to have some fun and experience competition many for the first time in their lives.
Working with Amanda Furst at Musha secondary school sees the rugby passion spread east. In addition we recently started work with the Christ for Nations street kids centre based in Nyabagogo, these children are often orphans and are amazingly enthusiastic every time we arrive. The space behind the building in which they live is challenging to say the least but they give every activity their all and they seem particularly pleased learning how to count to 6 “tags” in English. Our coaching continues with Centre Merembo across town in Remera. The children continue to walk the 30 minutes to the playing field in extreme heat to play small sided games with us. Contact sessions are developing and the celebrations of tries have become expressive !! Monday and Thursday afternoons involve visiting the Red Cross education centre where their team is starting to take shape. We now have a crowd of interested spectators who come to the watch the boys and girls train. The development of game awareness has come on in leaps and bounds since the introduction of “intra-club” games after the initial skills based drills are completed.09/06/2007 – Under 14 Tournament
An incredibly exciting morning saw one of the first junior rugby tournaments in Rwandan history. Teams from across the country came together for a TAG competition with a view to indentifying natural talent that could be moulded into a team to travel to London in 3 months time. With huge physical variation it was necessary to try and identify characteristics that could add to the success of a developing squad and some furious action ensued. Multiple teams from Gitarama, Ndera and Kigali took part and the standard was incredible. It is hoped that this tournament can be the catalyst for the development of a level of junior rugby around the country.
09/06/2007 – Coaching Workshop
30 Rwandan coaches attended a workshop to enhance their skills in areas including safety of engagement at scrum time, lineout technique, creating space, communication and ruck clearance. All participations were enthusiastic about future workshops and there was a wonderful atmosphere of community at the meal following the completion of the program.
May 2007 – Brilliant UK Support
SODAM RFC and Northolt RFC adopt Friends of Rwandan Rugby as their charity and raise funds and awareness at their annual charity rugby tournament.
27/05/2007 – Identifying local talent
ETO Ruhango played Ecole Secondaire Ruhango in a closely fought result of 8 – 5. With reports that Emeru also has a team FoRR has identified this southern region for future attention and resources. A decision has been made to search for a Rugby Development Officers for this region. ** A report was received at this event detailing the success of St Joseph’s against Shyogwe in a friendly played on the previous weekend with a final score of 29 – 12.
12/05/2007 – Puma Club Workshop, Rema Rukoma.
After a bumpy couple of hours on a packed taxi bus it was wonderful to arrive in this rugby aware community. Through the efforts of a former Shyogwe student the Puma club has found a foothold in this area. With 2 huge schools within a couple of kilometres there is an environment to facilitate competitive matches between boys and girls teams. The best of the area are able to compete for Puma in the National men’s league and we were delighted to officiate a local match and run a few skills and drills for the players.
28/04/2007 – Buffaloes Rugby Club & FoRR work together
Resources and coaching expertice from the two organisations combined to hold a joint training session at the Kabgayi training area. With 40 student from the nearby school St Joseph’s in attendance smaller groups were split down and taken through various coaching stations. Work was performed on defensive alignments, set piece, re-starts, rucking/mauling and 2 on 1 spacial attack. The session was rounded off with a ferocious game. Huge contacts were made by the teams but some wonderful lines were run irrespective of the incredibly limited space. A great time was had by all with many requests from the students that such sessions could be repeated.
Friends of Rwandan Rugby has taken its’ first official steps to establish a presence in youth groups, schools and Universities across Rwanda. The arrival of Emma Rees and Deena Aiken into the country will allow the charity to start funnelling materials and information into the developing rugby community. Upon arrival they were able to receive 200 kilograms of equipment kindly donated by UK clubs and schools and set up a coaching program that will see sessions and workshops with key stakeholders continue throughout the duration of their stay.