Woman empowerment through sports

Today is the International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is: Be Bold for Change. Using an innovative rugby and life skills curriculum, ChildFund’s Pass It Back program has supported to implement the empowerment of young girls and women in Asia.

Photo: Than (left) cheered up with her team before the competition

Fifteen-year-old Than is living in a poor community in Kim Boi district, a mountainous area in Vietnam. Having lost both her parents at a young age, she was shy and lacking in confidence. Her cousin Phuong, a Pass It Back Coach, took active steps to get her involved with the program. “At first, she was reluctant and refused. But I encouraged her every week and, over time, she started to realise that she could participate in activities equally to other people – regardless of her family circumstances,” Phuong explained.

Pass It Back uses a fully integrated rugby and life-skills curriculum to not only promotes the right to play in communities where children have little or no access to organised sport, but to give participants important learning opportunities around leadership, life skills and gender equality. In particular, the program priorities equal inclusion of girls and young women.

Photo: Than (centre) played rugby at the Pass It Back Cup 2017 in Vietnam

Today, Than not only feels more confident, knowledgeable and positive about the future, but she is also a cup winner! “Sharing the moment of winning ChildFund’s Pass It Back Cup with my teammates was truly unforgettable. Now I know that I can have success in my life. All I need to do is try my best.”

To date, more than 3,500 children and youth in Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines have been benefiting from participation in the program, with girls making up more than 50 per cent of players and coaches.

“ChildFund’s Pass It Back program was set up for children in rural and remote communities, who face significant challenges around poverty and inequality,” said ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence. “The knowledge, skills and attitudes built through this program will provide young people, especially girls with opportunities to overcome these challenges, build their confidence and become strong leaders.”

Watch Than and Phuong at the Pass It Back Cup in Vietnam:

Pass It Back is an innovative Sport for Development program led by ChildFund in partnership with World Rugby, Asia Rugby and Women Win that delivers an integrated life skills and rugby curriculum for children and young people in disadvantaged communities across Asia.


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