Report from RCL Trip to Kenya

30 December 2023

In the spring of 2018 Geoffrey Mabuba and Samuel Imbwaga travelled to Luxembourg to play Rugby and study at  Lycée Michel Lucius. Host families at RCL helped the boys, who grew up in Africa's largest township, Kibera, adjust to Luxembourgish life and RCL promised to visit them on their return to Kenya. After delays caused by COVID  RCL Community Officer James Rautta and RCL Operations Manager Paul Sweetnam finally made the trip in early December.  Another important objective of the trip was to visit community Rugby projects focusing on girls and womens Rugby, firstly to learn from the success of these projects in attracting girls to play Rugby and secondly to find out how RCL could help these township based projects in 2024. In previous trips to Kenya, friends of RCL Danny Ligari and Steffon Armitage from the UK based Barefoot Charity, had noticed the positive impact of donating sports bras. While older girls will play sports without boots, the same girls will not play without a sports bra. With this in mind RCL travelled with 92 sports bras, as well as boots, base layer clothing and playing shirts.  
Many of the township projects were originally set up with the help of patrons from Nondescripts Rugby club (Kenya's oldest Club), RCL met many of these key figures at the Annual Ball on the 9th of December as well as current head of Kenyan Rugby Sasha Mutai.  Early the next morning a visit to Ngong Township Primary School was on the agenda where  Samuel Imbwaga coaches. Local coaches John and Anita introduced us to local success story Maggy who is Captain of Kenya's Women's U18s 7s side.  The following Tuesday a special match day was organized at the same venue which was attended by 92 children. The local coaches had to organize the transport for many of the children, unlike in Luxembourg where we have free public transport and parents to drive children to training, at Ngong Township pitch there is no bus stop and not a single parent was available to watch their children train on a weekday morning.
The 5 projects in the townships around Nairobi offer Rugby, and much more, to nearly 600 children, the Tuesday session was also attended by Joyce from a sister organization in Uganda which has 12 similar projects.
In total RCL distributed 120Kg of equipment on behalf of Barefoot UK and generous donations from RCL club members and supporters. In 2024 RCL will continue to support the amazing kids in these projects and learn from the incredible coaches who make a difference to so many lives.