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 dry season brings with it a layer of dust that covers most of the city. It’s also the first time in months that any of the playing surfaces are dry enough to run around on without sliding around like on an ice rink.
We drew quizzical glances as the novices looked at us with wary anticipation – we’d come before back in the last dry season but the playing area was covered in rubble so we did drills and team building games in the cramped courtyard in front the school building. This time we ran the session in the playing field that still has some rather inconveniently placed trees and opportunities to stub your toe so hard it knocks the nail clean off.
Laughter came in trickles as we began the warm up – lunges, opening and closing the gate, high knees and heel flicks. Then it was tag-belts, robes, shaved heads and clouds of dust as we did the “up and under” game, 2 on 1s, 3 on 2s and into a version of netball/rugby/basketball that will be moulded more into to the shape of the oval balled game over time.
None of this would have been possible without Ko Aung Ko Oo. Open minded, receptive and keen, Ko Aung Ko Oo is the Education Policy Manager at the Monastic Education Development Group (MEDG). This community organisation supports the improvement of Monastic Education across Myanmar. Registered with Ministry of Religious affairs, these schools act as low cost or no cost private schools covering the national curriculum often to the most disadvantaged children. To date MEDG has been working in seven states and has delivered support to over 445 schools. MEDG plans to roll out support to over 900 schools by 2017.
After the session there were big smiles and cheers. This is the third group the Little Dragons work with and Ko Aung Ko Oo has agreed to select 30 novices we can train regularly and develop into the first monastic Rugby team in Myanmar.
If you haven’t donated already, help feed families in Yangon with our new Go Fund Me Page:
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.