Vientiane, 24 June 2018: The Lao Rugby Federation (LRF) launched its inaugural Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back Rugby and English Camp, with 52 Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back Coaches receiving intensive English language training paired with daily rugby activities. Having completed the camp, Coaches will be able to use their newfound English abilities to better understand in World Rugby training and education content, to interact more with visiting coaches and players and generally in their studies and as leaders in their communities.
On 21 June 2018 the LRF hosted a ceremony in Vientiane, Lao PDR to celebrate the graduation of 52 coaches from the inaugural Rugby and English Camp. During the previous three days, the coaches participated in English training and assessment activities led by native English speakers from around the world.
Developed by the LRF and ChildFund Laos and sponsored by the British Embassy in Vientiane and Vientiane College, this first Rugby and English Camp used principles of student-centered learning like the Coaches have been using in theirChildFund Pass It Back rugby and life skills sessions with players in their communities. The result was a 4-day experience that made English language fun and accessible for the young Coaches and moved coaches and teachers alike. “Sometimes you work really hard on something and it doesn't turn out how you hoped,” said Casey Morrison, a ChildFund Laos representative who developed the curriculum and served as a teacher throughout the camp. “On rare occasions like this one, you work hard on something that ends up exceeding your highest expectations.”
For Coaches, these new English language skills, including introductions, numbers, parts of the body, and rugby-specific vocabulary, will open new doors. “English language learning can help us feel more confident as Coaches and as leaders,” commented Boudsadee Vongdala, a Coach and LRF staff member. “Many World Rugby resources are available online in English and guest coaches often visit Laos from the UK and other English speaking countries. Having basic English skills can help us understand the materials and better interact with and learn from visiting coaches.”
At the graduation ceremony, Coaches displayed their new skills through performance, including a skit and two English-language songs. British Ambassador Hugh Evans and LRF President Mr. Virayouth Rathikoun recognized the achievements of these Coaches by handing out certificates commemorating their hard work and thanked the teachers, assistants, and supporters that made the Rugby and English Camp a success.
Over the next two weeks, the Coaches will participate in the biannual Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back Coach training, two weeks of rigorous curriculum where new coaches will have the opportunity to earn their Coach certification for the first time and veteran Coaches may earn a higher level of certification. As part of the training, all Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back Coaches participate in sessions focusing on measuring change, first aid, and safeguarding practices in addition to rugby and life skills, allowing Coaches to improve awareness around safety and improve access to first aid in their communities.
The LRF would like to thank our ChildFund Pass It Back partners including ChildFund, World Rugby, Asia Rugby, and Women Win as well as Australian Aid for powering ChildFund Pass It Back in Laos. Thank you to Princeton in Asia, who supplied the teachers for Rugby and English Camp, and to Vientiane College, whose generous loan of their facilities made this camp possible. Finally, many thanks to the British Embassy in Vientiane for their support of the camp as part of their work to support increased access to education across Laos.
We would like to also thank our generous Champa Ban powered by ChildFund Pass It Back sponsors DFDL Legal & Tax, Coca Cola, Pot Bellied Pigs RFC, DHL, DAC Management LLC, RedBox Storage, PROJECX, Cairnhill Structures, and 1765 Gemini for their ongoing contributions to youth rugby in Laos. We would also like to thank the Friends of Lao Rugby in Hong Kong, ESF Kennedy School, Kowloon RFC, Sandy Bay U14 Girls, Kukri, Escapade Sports, Streamline Sports, and Shrewsbury House for their support of the LRF’s youth programming through kit and equipment donations.