Australian Aid is supporting Pass it Back, an innovative new program in Asia, which uses sport to build the leadership and life-skills of young people; enabling them to overcome challenges in their lives and ‘pass it back’ to others in their communities. Here’s the story of Pass it Back.Read more
Developed by ChildFund Australia, the Pass it Back program has started in Laos and Vietnam, and will be rolled out to another nine countries in Asia. Not only does Pass it Back promote the right to play in regions where children have little access to organised recreation, but the program also has a strong focus on increasing the participation of girls. Introducing a previously unknown sport such as rugby into communities makes it easier to encourage girls’ to take part, as it is not traditionally seen as a ‘boys’ sport like soccer.
Lao Khang is a young woman from Nonghet district, one of the poorest regions in Laos, due to the high incidence of unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination. Every year, around 300 people in Laos die from UXOs; almost half are children.
After enrolling in ChildFund Laos’ sports for development program, Lao Khang found her passion and has never looked back! Today, Lao’s extraordinary determination and commitment has seen her represent the Lao Women’s National Rugby team. She now works for the Lao Rugby Federation, advocating on the benefits of sport for girls in remote, rural communities.
Lao says: “I have learnt that rugby is an exciting way to educate children. As a girl, I was always very shy. Now I am a brave and confident young woman. I want to help involve as many Lao girls and women from rural and remote communities as possible so they too can feel brave and strong.”
Speaking at the Pass It Back launch, Australian Ambassador to Laos John Williams said: “Australia is a country that loves its sport and, along with our long-term commitment to supporting development in Laos, we are very excited to see sport used to build young people’s capacities to contribute to development across the region.”