Tuesday, July 22, 2008

English Women's Rugby team volunteers in Argentina

18 Women Rugby players descended on Buenos Aires in early June 2008 for four days of volunteering with Virreyes Rugby club, located outside the capital in the district of San Fernando, Greater Buenos Aires. Virreyes Rugby club works in close collaboration with the Mother Teresa school. The school was founded to provide much-needed educational support and contention for the growing poulation of young people from the neighboring low income community. Founded by professional ex-rugby players, Virreyes teaches rugby to young people as well as organizing workshops and tournaments.

After the school year ended, this London-based Women's Rugby club contacted HelpArgentina. They wanted to travel together to South America to participate in group volunteer work, preferably with Rugby. HelpArgentina organized over the course of four full days that the team would volunteer at the local school in the morning and play rugby with the kids in the afternoons. Though they were able to volunteer only a short time; their days were nevertheless full, the weather cooperated, and more than one hundred energetic kids ran circles around the women's rugby team and vice versa.

During the final day of volunteering, I accompanied the group. In the morning, they worked with one of the professors at the Mother Teresa school to make a collage with pictures and artistic designs for the children as a gift from the group to the school. During the afternoon, the rugby club organized a round-robin tournament where the women rugby players/volunteers coached and played rugby with the kids.

It was a wonderful experience for all parties. The kids presented the volunteers with "thank you" cards that they had written and the women's rugby team posed for numerous photos to close out the day.

Already feeling part of the community, these women athletes were invited to a traditional Argentine barbecue (asado) with the staff of the Virreyes club on Saturday and concluded what was a short, but very rewarding experience for everyone involved.

No comments: