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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Under privileged kids to learn rugby

30th March 2012

Arusha and Moshi-based street children have found a new sanctuary to ease life hardships through training how to play the rugby.

The initiative has been taken by the Rhino Rugby Football Club (RRFC) that took trouble to stage a fund raising gala to cater for the children’s training costs.

The gala was held at the New Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha whereby over $150,000 was raised to cater for the newly devised plan with a double edge to upgrade life of the children and at the same time to promote the game.

Nearly 350 guests from various institutions and organisations attended the ‘Rhino Ball’ which was also graced by the visiting rugby team from Dar es Salaam—the Leopards.

The event was organised by Peter Morgan, who is the Doric Group executive director. He said the planned street children rugby project is another way of intensifying cooperation through sports and also meant to extend the corporate social responsibility.

The 'Street Children for Rugby' initiative is also being highly supported by Hughes Motors (Tanzania) Limited.

"We have already enrolled 30 street children for the course," said Robert Odundo, acting director for Hughes, adding that the project will invest US $ 240,000 for the initiative.

Earlier this year, the rugby national team coach, Michael Hooke, joined forces with the Arusha Rhinos Rugby Club and Hughes Motors in yet another sporting initiative to introduce the game to schools here.

‘Try Rugby’ was the motto behind the school campaign aimed at recruiting youngsters, precisely students and encouraging the youth to start playing what should be a new game to them.

“Rugby is less complicated than most people think,” Hooke was quoted as saying. “All you need is grass, or essentially an open space and you are in a game.”

He added that even where there are no rugby balls, coconuts could be used as alternative ball.

The rugby promotional campaign was also intended to be spread to the Tanzania Military Academy (TMA) in Monduli where the game is set to gain tempo among soldiers.

The national coach admitted that rugby, which was introduced in Tanzania in 2006, remains an alien game compared to the well-established events like the popular football or netball, but he was optimistic over increased awareness in Tanzania.

The rugby campaign coordinator, Kittyler Juma, said the first rugby promotional event for students started with remarkable success, enrolling more than 800 students from 16 schools in Arusha.

Lucas Laurent and Claude Joseph are among the young students who were recruited.

"It is a game that makes you use both muscles and brains," Laurent said.

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