“I had never played any sport before. Playing rugby made me realise that I have special running skills, which is amazing! I am the fastest runner,” says thirteen-year-old Oanh, a sponsored child and a passionate member of ChildFund’s Pass It Back program in Vietnam.
Developed by ChildFund Australia and partners, Pass It Back is an innovative sport for development program
Which not only promotes the right to play in regions where children have little access to organised sport, but provides important learning opportunities by focusing on leadership, planning for the future and gender equality.
Introducing a previously unknown sport like rugby into communities in Vietnam encourages girls to take part, as it is not traditionally seen as a ‘boys’ game. With around 1,000 players in 60 teams, Pass It Back in Vietnam has attracted more than 50% female players from six communes in Kim Boi district.
Oanh and her team mates have weekly trainings on rugby and life skills, and cover topics such as teamwork, communication, confidence, social community access, and financial management; and every three months, they play matches against other teams in their district. A few months ago, Oanh and her team also had the chance to participate in the ‘Pass It Back Cup’ in Laos, which was the first time many of them had travelled out of their local districts.
“I am confident and proud of myself and my team,” she says.
Like many girls who take part in the Pass It Back program, Oanh has seen its benefits. “I’ve learnt about life skills during Pass It Back sessions. In the past, I was too shy to raise my own opinions and was unwilling to help other people. Recently, I shared confidently my ideas with other people and I feel responsible for addressing conflicts between my classmates. All of us have duties to stay united in a team,” she adds.
Oanh’s Pass It Back Coach, Ha, has also detailed of the changes she has witnessed: “I have seen big improvements in Oanh’s confidence and communication skills. She used to be very shy and had low confidence before becoming a player. I believe that all sessions in the Pass It Back curriculum have contributed to her achievements. Oanh has matured a lot thanks to Pass It Back.”