Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Over the years we've done a lot to spread a positive message through rugby, so today we have a guest post from former player Meghan Mutrie, who recently travelled to Africa to share her love for rugby and sport, with Right To Play.
Rugbydump typically isn’t the place for serious or emotional content but under the clever guise of a masculine sport, it can be (kind of like how you can pat another man on the bum as long as you’re both in athletic kit).
One month has passed since my trip to Benin, West Africa with Right To Play and I still struggle to articulate what it was truly like when someone just casually asks. Africa was harsh, confusing, raw and incomprehensible. It was also reframing, promising, inspiring and fun.
To give you the proper spiel, RTP is an international humanitarian organization that uses the power of sport and play to help children in disadvantaged countries, creating social change through education and development.
RTP uses Olympians and professional athletes from various sports around the world to give their work international exposure (you may recognize their logo from the back of Chelsea’s jerseys) but they have only just started to break into rugby.
I am an Athlete Ambassador for RTP, chosen because of my (glory days) time in a 7s and XVs Canadian jersey, and am very keen to strengthen the relationship between RTP and rugby. The two are a natural fit; like the legendary Shane Williams in an XS jersey.
RTP invited me to Benin (one of 20 countries they’re established in) to see what their programs do at the ground level. I was blown away by what I saw; the kids who were allowed to just play were so much more aware, confident and happy. I used the opportunity to connect RTP with the rugby world by attempting to teach the sport to a village that had never seen a rugby ball.
For more information about Right To Play, please visit their website and choose your appropriate country: http://www.righttoplay.com
Also check out http://www.rugbyinafrica.org as the two phenomenal organizations are eerily alike, but this one reaches its goals using rugby specifically, as opposed to all sport and play.
A massive thanks to Rugbydump for helping me spread Right To Play’s brilliant work and hopefully strengthen the link between the organisation and rugby for the future.
Again, even with a video camera, it was impossible to capture and explain the experience but I tried with my camera from The Crowd Goes Wild, that crazy little New Zealand TV show.