Monday 28th Aug 2017: The Hong Kong International 15s Rugby Team held a half-day rugby mentorship for over 200+ children from Kibera slums, an event which was hosted at Hillcrest School, Nairobi. This comes after the international test match over the weekend against Kenya’s Simbas who lost 43-34 to visiting Hong Kong Dragons.
The young rugby players from Kibera are part of on-going rugby coaching sessions organised my Kings Rugby Development Academy (KRDA), a charitable organisation using rugby to mentor and empower children from disadvantaged backgrounds, such as Kibera slums.
Started in mid last year, the program currently hosts a cohort of 250+ children aged between the ages of 5 -16, who train every weekend at Hillcrest School, under the watchful eye of 30 IRB World Rugby certified coaches and facilitators, drawn from top clubs in Kenya. Fifty of the young rugby players attended the international test match at the RFUEA Grounds on Saturday, where three of their coaches were part of the Kenyan team.
Speaking during the mentorship session with the Hong Kong 15s team, Stuart Mc Greevy, the founding chairman of Kings Rugby Development Academy, shared the vision of an upcoming youth rugby league. The league, which will be organised in conjunction with the Kenya rugby Union (KRU), is intended to be launched later in the year by a former Captain of the All Blacks of New Zealand. The youth league will include a structured exchange program aimed at growing Kenya’s new rugby talent. The youth league will incorporate many, if not all of the rugby playing schools in Kenya. This will be a stimulus for the formations of many Kenya cup rugby clubs colts.
John Kilonzo, a director at Kenya Rugby Union, lauded KRDA and the Hong Kong 15s team for their devotion to impacting skills and rugby passion to the young players. ”I look forward to a trip to Hong Kong for a talent exchange with the young teams. KRU is willing and able to work with such initiatives to build the local rugby fraternity.”
Earlier in the year, the rugby academy hosted Jason Leonard, the former world cup winner and England RFU President, who officially launched the Kings Rugby Development Academy (KRDA) programme in Kenya. He further explored how Kenya could connect with rugby clubs in the United Kingdom to promote early rugby talent development and transform children from under-resourced communities.
In four years, the rugby academy plans to have impacted over 2,500 children directly and over 10,000 family members indirectly in the sprawling slums of Kibera.