August 15, 2012
Getting close to the South African Rugby Sevens team is a lifelong dream for many people. For a group of school children involved in Laureus rugby projects in Hong Kong and South Africa, that dream became a potentially life changing reality when youngsters from Soweto near Johannesburg in South Africa travelled to Hong Kong to take part a training session with the South Africa Team, including Laureus Academy Member and manager of the 1995 World Cup winning South African team Morné du Plessis.
But the fun and games have a serious side to them. The trip was part of the Laureus-supported Soweto School Rugby programme, which teaches young people in the township of Soweto serious subjects while they are having fun playing rugby, in a project called Play 2 Learn. In an area like Soweto, where lack of education is a fundamental problem for many children, projects like these can have a marked improvement on their academic prospects.
For people like Lucky Zwane who joined the project in 2009, this project represents a beacon of hope in a life hampered by difficulties. Orphaned, and living with his siblings in one of the poorest areas of Johannesburg, Zwane says meeting the South African players was the highlight of his life, and has inspired him to better his circumstances. “I feel like I can achieve a lot when I get back to Soweto.”
But it’s not just the children who benefit from projects like these. Captain of the South African Sevens team Kyle Brown, whose team motto is ‘touching people through rugby’ believes “it is very inspiring for us to meet these young people.”
Du Plessis agrees: “we have a lot in common,” he says, “both having rugby as a key part of our activities. Brown adds that, “being where we are doesn’t come easy; you have to work hard….in order to succeed.” Inspiring young children to flourish in life is a key outcome of Laureus projects, which promote sport for good.
“Sharing the spirit” is the theme of the Laureus Medal campaign, which allows everyone to reward people who have had an impact on the lives of others, through sport or other means, by giving them a Laureus Medal. This week, we’re giving away the chance to win the South African Team signed shirt to people who use the Laureus Medal app, so you can have a chance to touch the South African team when you share the spirit of Laureus and reward those who have touched other people’s lives for good.