At Rugby for Good, Social Inclusion is one of our key areas of focus in an effort to ensure that everyone, regardless of their background, has the best opportunities to enjoy life and do well in society. In the spotlight — Jockey Club Rugby United Project and Ageas Buddy Rugby — two landmark programs that leverage the power of rugby to connect with students and youth to help them develop positive life skills and grow to their full potential.
A Movement for a More Inclusive Hong Kong
Marginalisation often comes from systemic exclusion and can make it very difficult for disadvantaged children and youth to participate fully in their community. Our ongoing Social Inclusion programs help students and youth from the margins engage and interact through play, achieve goals that are meaningful to them, improving their health and wellbeing and community participation.
Ensuring that historically disadvantaged and marginalised groups are represented and encouraged is key to many of our outreach programs. A key element of social inclusion is bridging different communities together. Two of our projects — Jockey Club Rugby United Project and Ageas Po Leung Kuk Buddy Rugby work towards this aim.
Jockey Club Rugby United Project — Social Cohesion and Life Skills Through Sport
Jockey Club Rugby United Project uses sport as a vehicle for social cohesion and teaching important life skills to Hong Kong youth from a wide range of academic and socioeconomic backgrounds, with 20+ schools and 300 students having participated so far.
With the ongoing support of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, students from ethnic Chinese and ethnic minority backgrounds, along with Mainland students use a specially designed curriculum provided by the international NGO PeacePlayers International to develop positive social relationships and learn about teamwork, respect, positive thinking, determination, leadership and embracing diversity.
The program provides regular training sessions with curriculum centred on conflict resolution, building friendships, diversity and social inclusion. We also hold Rugby United Fun Days where students come together for a joint training session and engage in friendly touch rugby games.
Our most recent Fun Day was hosted on April 22, at Son Ko Po. The exhilarating event saw participation from over 61 students from La Salle College, SKH Lui Ming Choi Secondary School, HKUGA College, and Carmel Divine Grace Foundation Secondary School.
Ageas Po Leung Kuk Buddy Rugby
Integrating children with special needs in the mainstream comes with many benefits. Students with special needs difficulties learn positive social communication, while their peers without such difficulties develop a deeper understanding and empathy for the obstacles special educational needs (SEN) students have to face.
The Ageas Po Leung Kuk Buddy Rugby Program uses rugby as a medium to promote social inclusion by pairing students from SEN schools with a buddy from a mainstream school. The program encourages playing, learning and growing together through joint school training and events. Both schools practice tag rugby separately and then come together every few weeks for joint training sessions where they have an opportunity to review the skills they have been learning. The special education needs students and their buddy work together to take on a range of rugby challenges and activities.
The Ageas Po Leung Kuk Buddy Rugby Program nurtures and inspires inclusivity, encourages mainstream school students to gain experience interacting with students with special needs, and allows SEN students to practice their communication and social skills with other kids. The two schools paired this year are PLK Grandmont Primary School and Po Leung Kuk Anita L. L. Chan (Centenary) School. They hold monthly joint sessions over Zoom to discuss life values such as empathy. The recent Christmas Fun Day at King’s Park Sports Ground saw participation from 32 students. The buddies were able to spend time together in person and build a connection, celebrating Christmas as a community. The students also participated in an enjoyable series of games and drills.
Coming Up: All Aboard! More Projects for Social Inclusion…
Over the next three weeks, we will spotlight our ongoing Rugby for Good projects that champion social inclusion, and how we’re using sports to forge pathways between those on the margins and the wider community. Stay tuned!