News

FoRR on CNN

Please take a look at a nice article about FoRR and the charity’s journey on the CNN site :

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/08/sport/rwanda-rugby-post-genocide/

 

IT STARTS OUT : An estimated one million people were killed during a 100-day period, among them Tharcisse’s father and two brothers. Aged 13, he was forced to flee his home and then the supposed safe shelter of a camp to stay alive with his mother, sisters and remaining brothers. However, he has been able to slowly and steadily heal his emotional wounds thanks to an unlikely source of solace — the game of rugby. “With rugby, I feel alive,” says Tharcisse, one of the country’s first players, a former international with national side the Silverbacks, and now the general secretary of Rwandan Rugby. “I feel like I’m running to the future,” he adds. “It can bring you great joy and you don’t think about the past. When rugby started here, people were still thinking about the past, about the genocide. The game just brings so much unity with other people.”

Prior to 2001, rugby barely existed in the “Land of a Thousand Hills.” Bar the occasional game between ex-pats, it was unheard of in the East African country. Football was king, and still is — the other key sports in Rwanda being basketball, volleyball and cycling. But that all changed in 2001, with the visit of a British charity worker seeking to find a purpose in life. Emma Rees was unsure what to do after completing her university degree, and traveled to Rwanda with Voluntary Service Overseas. She started throwing around a rugby ball with school kids, and has since become a sort of modern-day William Webb Ellis — the schoolboy credited as being rugby’s original founder in the 1820s — for one particular country. Rees first took the game to schools, and the following year the Ministry of Sport granted approval for the formation of the Rwandan Rugby Federation. Two years later the Friends of Rwandan Rugby charity was formed………..

BBC Wales Article – Longevity from the Welsh in Rwanda!!

Nice to hear that we are building great relationships through brilliant rugby stakeholders from the land of the leeks!! Click on the below link if you want to see the “Shiny Photo’s & All Version”

http://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/37607879

 

Two Welsh volunteers kick-start Rwandan rugby revolution
By Lauren Jenkins
BBC Wales Sport
When volunteer Glyn Watkins was asked to hold a rugby training session in a school in western Rwanda, he was not expecting to be greeted by 200 pupils.
"Help," was the message he mouthed to his wife, Mary, as he stood holding a single ball.
Two years later Glyn and Mary are back in Wales and can only watch through a computer screen as a handful of those pupils take to the field for the final of the Rwandan National League.
What began as a trial training session has developed into a way of life for many young people growing up in a country still tainted by the 1994 genocide.
Mary and Glyn Watkins were volunteering as teachers at TTC Mururu school in Rwanda in early 2014 when the principal of the college invited them to dinner.
"I know the Welsh are not very good at football, but you're good at rugby," was the candid conversation starter that led to the school's first training session. How quickly things can change in sport.
Glyn had never previously coached rugby at any level, but his befitting birthplace granted him all the credibility he needed.
The school's single ball would not suffice so the couple travelled six hours through the Nyungwe rainforest to seek assistance from Friends of Rwandan Rugby, a small charity started by Emma Rees - a former student and rugby player of Aberystwyth University - which promotes the sport in Rwanda. Players mark the pitch with sawdust before kick-off. They returned with three balls and the commitment of a few rugby development officers who would soon visit the school to coach the players.
This led to Mururu's participation in its first inter-schools national competition in which they finished fourth.
Word spread quickly and soon Mary found herself at the heart of her first international friendly.
"We were right on the Congo border and they heard about the training Glyn was doing, the next thing we knew we had a load of Congolese turn up," Mary said.
"I think that was the first Congo versus Rwanda international. The only problem was that the border closes at 6pm and it was about a 20 minute run for them to get back. So at half-past-five they would all disappear."
Border control wasn't the only obstacle to overcome. The pupils were also all too poor to afford any proper kit.
"In fairness to these lads, they don't have any money, they had one T-shirt for PE lessons and they complained they were getting ripped. So Caldicot RFC offered us some kit. Caerleon and Bedlinog RFC also helped out."
The team at least looked the part even if the pitch did not meet usual standards. Initially the markings were fictional which became the source of much dissent among opposing teams when tries were awarded.
"One game was delayed because none of the markings were set out and we had to wait for a guy to arrive on a bike that was loaded with sawdust - all the boys dived in and marked out the lines.
They play on a football pitch in which they strap massive bamboo poles to the posts to make rugby posts. I've also seen games played where the referee's flag is a leafy twig." Mary added.
By the end of 2015 many of the students had graduated but the team's captain Donatien Ufitimfura could not entertain the idea of life without rugby.
"I was wondering how am I going to spend two months of the holiday without playing the game so I came up with the idea of creating a team," he said.
"I started coaching newcomers from my district Rusizi and worked hard to increase the number of people interested in the sport."
From here Rusizi Resilience was born.
The team became the eighth member of the country's national league which led to its official recognition by World Rugby. The only problem?
They had only ever played sevens in school and their first 15-a-side match was a competitive game in the national league. However, they won that match 36-6 against Muhanga RFC.
The team went on to win every match of their opening season until the league's final against Thousand Hills RFC on Saturday which they lost 45-0.
Mary arranged for the team to play in Oakdale RFC kit and is proud of their achievement.
"The team they were playing on Saturday is made up almost exclusively of international players. What Donatien has done is incredible," she said.
"He stood out from the very first training session for us. He is a very intelligent young man and he does an awful lot of research."
Donatien was invited to train with the national team, but fell just short of making the final squad.
He has turned down the opportunity to attend university to take up a post as a rugby development officer with 'Friends of Rwandan Rugby.'
He has already set up tag rugby teams in eight local primary schools.
Past grievances
For a country with such a turbulent history as Rwanda, Mary was quick to discover that rugby provided the pupils with a refuge, free from any painful historical references.
"Rugby is a post-genocide sport. When you were out there you realised that everyone was affected," Mary said.
"There were a lot of people that were killed in football stadiums. In village football sides you'd maybe play opposition that maybe killed your family". "All the sports can be tainted but there are no bad memories associated with rugby."
Donatien admits the sport has become much more than a pastime.
"Rugby has eased the wound of genocide especially for the youth. Rugby has contributed for developing the sociability of Rwandans," he said.
"I could not envisage life without it. Only war, disaster or other conditions out of my control could stop me from playing now.
"Nobody can forget it all because what happened was so bad, but rugby can help me forget all the bad things I have seen.
"When I play rugby I can feel nothing in my heart but enjoyment."

9th Coaching Tour – Success

Well, our 9th coaching trip has been concluded. This takes our figures to 89 coaches travelling to Rwanda over 9 years to contribute to the Rwandan rugby scene.

This year they delivered 369 shirts, 175 balls, 22 trophies, 252 medals, 22 sets of TAGs, 194 cones, 14 pumps and 31 bibs. Not bad when you consider we also delivered 4 tournaments, 2 referee coaching workshops, 4 teaching-the-teacher sessions at Rusizi College as well as sessions with the newly formed club, Rusizi Resilience.

Great work from our 12 Volunteers and all of our staff and supporters in Rwanda.

Where should we go for our 10th year in May 2017????

Busy Times

We are deep into tournament season. Take a look at the tournament page to see the winners of our 23 tournaments due for delivery by the close of 2015. The recent first aid workshop was a huge hit with teams from all over the country sending representatives to learn rugby 1st Aid. But perhaps the highlight of recent times has been the success of Rwandan teams at the Federation of East African Schools rugby tournament. Congratulations must go to GS St Famillie who were the tournament champions. Incredible achievement by these guys. Also well done to ET Mikingi for winning the Bowl Final.

LAW BOOKS

FoRR hopes to continue the development of an understanding of the laws of the game through the purchase of massive amounts of law books. We have ambition for every school and team in the country to hold their own copy. A huge task to distribute but it will be great to see so many empowered with technical detail and an opportunity to learn.

 

 

5 New Rugby Development Officers

2015 RDOs

We are delighted to announce the employment of new RDOs for 5 rural regions across Rwanda. Our coaches are working to teach students and staff the laws of rugby. They are dedicated to delivering regular coaching sessions and organising friendly fixtures, league games and tournaments for primary students and secondary students. They also work as community leaders in the development of new adult rugby clubs so there is a pathway for all Rwandans to develop a life long love for rugby. Our staff now works in the following regions:

KARONGI – MUHIRE Ancelme

RUHANGO – ZABAYO Joseph

RWAMAGANA – HAKIZIMANA Jean de Dieu

MUSANZE – TUYISENGE Jean Luc

GAKENKE – UMUTONI Jean Marie Vianney

HUYE ­ MUDAHERANWA Jean Claude

­MUHANGA – HAKIZIMANA Laurien

KIGALI – THARCISSE Kamanda

 

 

2015 Tour

The 8th annual coaching trip has returned home after completing their voluntary work in Rwanda. This year eight British coaches ventured north to Musanze to deliver coaching, equipment and a tournament to the primary schools of that district. In addition 300 jerseys, 316 balls and 230 tag belts were left for FoRR staff to replenish stocks in all of our schools right across the country. Finally this trip gave us an opportunity to assess new applicants for the expansion of our RDO staff. We will be making new appointments ready to commence on the 1st of May!

 

2015 Tour MEG Foundation boys' in action2015 Tour Coaching RDOs2015 Tour Equipment Donated

 

 

Rwandan Orphans Project Loves Rugby

FoRR is delighted to work with a range of groups across the country. It is particularly special to work with some of the most disadvantaged youth to bring them some joy and belief that they are part of our wonderful rugby community. Recently we received this note from Sean Jones who is the executive director of the Rwandan Orphans Project:

Dear FoRR team,

I just wanted to express our gratitude for allowing our boys to participate in Saturday’s rugby tournament here in Kigali. Our boys were so excited when they left our center that we could hear them shouting and singing on the bus for quite a while as the they drove down the road. Our boys took second place overall and when I arrived at the ROP Center this morning they all rushed to me to show me their shiny medals. They were so proud and happy and I can’t thank you all enough for giving them that opportunity. Thanks also for providing the transportation and snacks for them after the tournament. We’re so appreciate of our partnership with you and thankful for your support over the years. I would also like to thank Kamanda for being such a great role model for our kids and such a wonderful ambassador for your organization. Our boys really love him and he is very, very good with them.

Rwandan Orphanges Project Photo 2014 with medals

 

2014 National Schools Final

FROM FoRR program manager:

The tournament went well but unfortunately ES NYARUTOVU didn’t participate because of their Headmaster, who is not organized.

The teams were divided into the two following pools

Pool A: ET MUKINGI, ACEJ KARAMA, RUSHAKI COLLEGE, EAV KABUTURE.

POOL B: GS St FAMILLE, APICUR, ETO GITARAMA.

The teams played each other in their pools and 4 teams qualified into the semi finals including:

ET MUKINI 35 VS APICUR 0 and GS St FAMMILLE 33 VS EAV KABUTARE 5

The final match ended with a victory to ET MUKINGI 24 – 12 as the winning team of FoRR 2014 Schools seven-a-side tournament.

The games were refereed by the RDO`s and were kindly assistance by Andrew Kettlewell (International Referee) from the UK.

The event attended by the President of Rwandan Rugby Federation who presented the trophies to the Winning team.

 

EAV KABUTARE DA ACEJ KARAMA DA LYCEE APICUR DA RUSHAKI COLLEGE DA GS St FAMILLE DA ETO GITARAMA DA ET MUKINGI DA