Reconciliation Through Sport
Helping develop grassroots rugby in Rwanda
I entered the world of rugby as a student at Aberystwyth University and began my rugby career intensively playing for both university and town clubs. I left Wales in 2001 to live and work as a VSO volunteer and English Teacher in Rwanda. I was shocked and disappointed to learn that the students in my school had never heard of the game of rugby. I decided to introduce a rugby team in the school I taught at to enable me to develop my coaching skills in a challenging environment, and continue to play alongside the students. This experience began a journey leading to the establishment of a registered charity in the UK, Friends of Rwandan Rugby.
Having played, coached and refereed rugby since 1994 I feel really lucky to be able to assist the development and growth of our sport in this amazing country. The joy that I receive from helping kids gain access to rugby re-enforces my commitment long term. I dream of a functioning club house on a dedicated rugby pitch which will be open to rugby teams of boys and girls from all over Rwanda.
I became involved with FoRR while I was working in overseas aid for the Department for International Development. I was particularly interested in the unifying quality of rugby and how it has the potential to challenge prejudices. Although I haven’t played the game for a few years, it was a huge part of my teenage life and some of my best mates are the guys I met on the rugby field. In 2010 I was delighted to visit Rwanda and see firsthand the enthusiasm for the game and potential for growth.
As a keen rugby player myself I was fortunate to visit Rwanda in 2008 and got to experience 1st hand the amazing excitement and enthusiasm from children, many of whom had never even seen a rugby ball before. I am honored to be a trustee of this fantastic charity and fully support all the work FoRR does to unite children in this beautiful country through rugby.
With a love of rugby as a game since school days (second row forward) , I was delighted to hear my business and marketing background might be of use to FoRR. Having visited Rwanda and seen the work FoRR does, the sheer delight on the faces of the kids in training they couldn't get anywhere else, the supreme poverty and hardship some have seen, it is impossible not to want to do something. I am honoured to serve as a Trustee.
I became involved in FoRR after completing the Three Peaks Challenge with some friends to raise money for the charity in 2013. Having visited Rwanda with FoRR in February 2014 I believe that the programme is having a very real impact on the lives of children and young adults in the country. The game is greeted with such enthusiasm by all who are learning about rugby in Rwanda and there is tremendous potential for extending the reach of the sport across the country.
I first came across FoRR in 2012 when researching for an overseas trip for my 2 older sons. Having helped organise their trip and then heard all about their adventures I couldn’t help but get involved myself! My wife and I participated in the 2015 coaches tour and having been completely taken in by the beauty of Rwanda and its amazing people I volunteered to join the Board of Trustees. Ever since first getting involved at school Rugby has been a big part of my life. I’ve played and/or coached for over 40 years and am a passionate believer in the values and ethos of rugby and the benefits the sport can bring to children and adults worldwide. I'm delighted to see Rwandan Rugby progressing at all levels across the country and proud to be playing a small part in that development.