Dear Friends & Colleagues,
I would like to introduce a very special event taking place at Blackrock College RFC on the 25th September 2016. 15 rugby teams from Ireland (13 teams around Ire), South Africa (all lads are from township in S. AFRICA) and Georgia will compete in a 7’s tournament on Sunday 25 Sept
However, two of the visiting teams are unique to the others as they both hail from extremely under privileged backgrounds.
Let me share their individual stories…
Liahue Eagles Invitation U14 7’s Team, Samachablo Region, Georgia
Whilst most of the world suffered a terrible and debilitating economic crash in the summer of 2008, Georgia received a double dose when in August that year Georgia endured a short but brutal war with Russia which left her without two major territories, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
What followed was effectively the ethnic cleansing of all Georgian families from these two regions and were forced to leave with what they could carry. Today, many of these families live in refugee camps in abject poverty leaving their children in a very vulnerable position.
There a number of active development programs but one that stands out is being run by a Georgian who wants to make a difference which give these children hope and the opportunity of a fresh start through sport.
Giorgi Kacharava, a 32-year old Georgian rugby player capped 15 times for his country and now captains top division side Lelo dedicates his time to run a program for disadvantaged children from the refugee camps in Samachablo and surrounding border villages which have been absolutely devastated from the war.
For the past two years Giorgi has run rugby development programs with the sole purpose to instill in these kids the rugby values and principles so as to help them develop positively as individuals and integrate them socially with the objective of enabling them to realize their dreams be it sport or careers. Giorgi has run many masterclasses with the kids with Georgian and International Rugby Caps.
Here is a recent video clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFvl-L34Vjc to give you some insight into the Samachablo program and a selection of photos below…
For the kids, this trip to Dublin to participate in the tournament will open their world beyond their imagination. Some of these kids have not even been as far as their capital city Tbilisi never mind getting on a plane packed with brand new rugby kit to meet a whole host of other kids to share stories and fun, it will simply be mind-blowing for them…
Vikings Invitation U14 7’s Team, Johannesburg, South Africa
Diepsloot Township is one of the poorest and most densely populated townships in Johannesburg. If you born there the chances of escaping the circle of poverty and crime is slim to none.
However, like Samachablo there are a number of active development programs trying desperately to improve life in the absence of any meaningful government support. One program that stands out is run by a selfless warrior against poverty, Trevor Van Den Berg who is running a series of rugby youth development programs in and around the Deipsloot.
Trevor`s passion for rugby development is boundless and he continues to work with Rugby Academies where underprivileged children are given hope through sport. He works closely with Vikings Rugby Academy and in recognition of their work in the community, Vikings have agreed to train Trevor’s Deipsloot side at their academy this summer for the upcoming blitz in Blackrock.
It will be a wonderful opportunity to practice and develop skills under the leadership of Paul Flanagan, a local rugby legend. Trevor has seen first-hand the impact rugby is having of these kids, the values which are being embedded, team building, self-respect and most of all, belief. Trevor has watched this young Diepsloot side develop and moreover has had them focus on education and social development so they can do what most cannot, harsh as it may seem but escape for a better life. Trevor has pulled many a SpringBok cap to give master classes to the kids.
Here is a snap of the team and a recent video clip to give you some insight into Diepsloot https://web.facebook.com/DiepslootRugby/videos/507174932715264/?video_source=pages_finch_main_video
Again, this trip to Dublin to participate against what will be some of the best young sides in Irish Rugby will not just a dream come true but will catapult their belief system to a whole new level…
So what’s this all about…
In April this year the idea was born while on a trip to Georgia we have developed the concept of the tournament and through the rich tapestry of the rugby network the work Giorgi and Trevor were doing was brought to our attention. Their story has motivated David Van Zuydum, BRCFC Youth Coach and myself to develop the International Under 14’s Club 7’s Tournament with the sole objective of bringing underprivileged kids from around the world to give them the chance to participate and compete in something very special
Please all come down on Sunday to support on the day buy a burger, have an ice cream and enjoy rugby at Rock. Two Leinster boys will be down as well.
Please note Vincent Carew has single handedly raised circa EUR 9k to make this happen for the kids from Georgia and S.Africa, and funding the shortfalls, thanks so much to Vincent and his sponsors, you are all legends.
David van Zuydam, Finbarr Hayes and Vincent Carew