This article, originally written 4 years ago, is now part of a fundraising campaign to showcase the work we did and to raise money to support the young people we worked with and their families before the pandemic and recent coup.
The organisation was set up as The Little Dragons, the development arm of the Yangon Dragons Rugby Football Club, it later merged with Crossing the Gain Line, a UK registered charity.
The Nan Oo School had recently received a donation and we arrived to a courtyard full of bamboo canes being chopped up. This isn’t an unusual sight; last time it was planks of wood. In less than 15 minutes the space was cleared and doused with water to prevent the inevitable dust storm created when 30-odd kids run around chasing each other like Gremlins occasionally trying to catch a ball.
This was the first rugby session run by local players from the Doh Kyoung Thar School. Three young lads – So Thiha, Thein Maung Nyein and La Min Htet who live in North Dagon near DKT and have been attending the school since 2015. They recently took part in the Little Dragons Reproductive Health course and have been playing tag rugby for nearly a year. Before learning the beautiful game their hobbies were football, chin lone (cane ball) and singing but now they count rugby among them.
The DKT kids had managed to run their own session before Christmas amongst themselves so it was now time for them to run a session with the Nan Oo kids.
Their feedback was interesting and reflected the same issues faced by non-native coaches. They really enjoyed working with the kids but had to repeatedly explain drills, as all the younger ones wanted to do was their own thing.
What makes it doubly difficult is that many of the Nan Oo kids are orphans from Shan State whose first language isn’t Burmese. So even with the use of a megaphone, they still might not get it. Many of the drills have to be demonstrated as opposed to explained which is probably a better way to get the message across anyway.
This is a huge step forward for the Little Dragons Rugby in terms of sustainability. We can now have the DKT kids run guided and independent sessions and start spreading the game across Yangon.
Please give what you can via the links below. If not, please share this with your networks.
A small donation of £10 per month can help to feed a small family of two.
£25 will help to feed a family of four for two weeks.
£50 will feed a family for a month and get them desperately needed water purification tablets.
You can also donate for free by joining the Give as You Live Campaign.