Gilbert is committed to spreading the benefit of Rugby Union throughout world rugby.
Rugby has the ability to influence lives positively and, following the global triumph of Rugby World Cup 2015, there can be no better time to create a legacy for the sport.
An initiative that Gilbert is pleased to support in a non-traditional rugby nation is the Kampuchea Balopp in Cambodia.
Kampuchea Balopp (which literally means “embrace the ball” in Khmer) is about more than getting children to play rugby – it is about providing disabled and disadvantaged children with the opportunity to grow and thrive through sport. While other sports showcase the individual, rugby’s emphasis is very much on the team – for without a team a try cannot be scored.
Cambodia has been an associate member of World Rugby (formerly the IRB) since 2006, and the team behind Kampuchea Balopp has experience of playing and coaching the game at a high level. KB employs six full time staff who spend the majority of their week on the coaching field training the children. The full time staff undergo professional development, taking first aid courses and learning English for personal growth. Overseas staff and volunteers assist with administration, communications and fundraising, to help maintain and grow the organisation.
Kampuchea Balopp benefits from having 16 partner organisations to help their 650 children. These organisations are involved with housing and schooling the kids, which includes not only sport but education around health, fitness and nutrition.
What are Kampuchea Balopp’s objectives for the future? The goal at present is to increase the number of children in training sessions every week to 1000. More kids will also mean the development of more Khmer trainers and an increase in support staff numbers.
The programme also aims to branch out – taking it into government schools to enable a broadening of the foundations of Cambodian rugby. Securing core funding is obviously crucial to attaining all these goals.
Gilbert were delighted to support the project in Cambodia to aid the continual development of the Kampuchea Rugby and will continue to report back on the project in 2016.
If you are interested in finding out more about Kampuchea Rugby, contact Program Development Manager Jean-Baptiste Suberbie (firstname.lastname@example.org)