“Sabaidee [hello], my name is Miss Bounpasong Kedhongsa (Tarn). I was born in Sounanta Village, Kaisonephomviharn District, Savannakhet Province. I have played rugby for 1 year and 6 months. I started playing rugby in the Pass It Back program and then developed myself to play tackle rugby. I now play for the Vientiane Lions Club and I developed myself to become a bronze level coach for the Pass It Back program.
Before rugby, I was an ordinary child, living in a remote area located very far away from school. When I was fifteen, I moved to study at in Vientiane Capital. At the time, I lived with my aunt for my studies. When I was in grade 5 of secondary school, I played tag rugby with my school team. I was very excited to have a chance to be on the Nagas National Rugby Team to play in my first match in Hong Kong.
Later on, the Federation was recruiting coaches for the Pass It Back program, and I was really interested in becoming a coach because I wanted to deliver my knowledge to others. I was excited to participate in the training for coaches at the bronze level for the first time. It was challenging because I had to talk to many people, even though I did not like talking with others. But when I became a coach, I realized that I had more conversations with different people and even gained new experiences — like being a leader. I used my leadership experience in training my team so that children see me as a role model of the 5 moral rugby principles - honesty, solidarity, passion, respect and discipline. I also apply my leadership skills in my daily life: I must have a permanent job that I like and take care of my work around the house. In addition, I want to improve my English skills because I am a National Team member and will travel to play matches in many different countries. In 2017, I played in the Hong Kong match and was selected to be in the U17 National Team to play in the SEA Games in Malaysia. I am so happy and proud of my achievements and of those who continually support me. Moreover, I am a coach under the Pass It Back program. I think English is really important and it is very difficult if you do not know English, even when asking for directions. Sometimes, I know some words but cannot understand when people respond too fast.
I am very happy that we have the Pass It Back program because it helps develop my skills and ideas. In addition, it provides me with new experiences, leadership skills, and an understanding of the 5 moral principles of rugby, gender roles, and how to plan for my future.
I started playing rugby from zero - having no knowledge about it - and now I am on the National Team. Being able to apply lessons from rugby program into my daily life is something wonderful. In the next five years, my life may not be certain, but I still want to regularly do things that I like such as playing rugby, continuing to improve myself through coaching, and achieving my goals. I also want to share my experience with new generations, develop children in my community, and give more opportunities to disadvantaged people because I used to be in that situation. I want to travel and collect more experiences from more places, finish my studies, have a secure job, support my brothers/sisters to complete their studies, construct a new house for my mother, and send my youngest brother to get medical rehabilitation in another country. I am so proud of myself that I have been able to have so many experiences at this young age and I also feel that I am now a grown-up who is self-reliant and able to provide some support to my family.”