Hackney Quest teenagers teach tag rugby in Zambia

A group of young people have been awarded for their sustainable sports project in Zambia, where they taught orphans and HIV positive youngsters how to play tag rugby.

Seven 17-19 year olds spent 18 months preparing for the trip to the south African country by fundraising and completing tag rugby coaching, first aid and youth work qualifications, as well as achieving community sports leader awards, surfing and public speaking.

The culmination was a two week tag rugby development programme in urban and rural Zambia, where they ran two tournaments and taught over 1,000 children the game - which sees attacking players pulling a velcro

tag from the ball carrier rather than full-on contact tackles.

The group from the Hackney Empowering Active Team (HEAT) also gave rugby equipment to schools and taught teachers and volunteers how to be coaches to ensure the programme will continue once they left.

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Youth project manager Keeley Williams from Hackney Quest, the children’s charity in Poole Road which runs the programme, said: “The idea is for them to get paid work as coaches. They were working with a lot of children who have HIV or who are orphans and they did not allow any of those things to be a barrier, their aim was just to make them smile and be happy.”

The youth-led programme has been awarded a 2012 Young Partners Award by the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS) recognising youth leadership and what young people can achieve through working in equal partnership with adults in organisations and projects.

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