Through the development of new networks and sponsors, Macquarie Bank has teamed up with the Po Leung Kuk and the FCC to create a sports programme under the guidance of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union. This programmeprovides new opportunities for children and young people from disadvantaged areas in Hong Kong to get involved in Rugby, and focuses on areas where poverty and deprivation are common. The aim is to engage young people in sports as an alternative to crime and anti-social behavior. PLK schools in TuenMun and the orphanage at the Po Leung Kuk Headquarters were selected as the first two areas to commence this programme.
Tuen Mun is a deprived area in the North Eastern area of the New Territories in Hong Kong. It has a population of almost 500,000 people, with just over 25% of them being aged less than 24 years of age. 24% of the adult population has received only kindergarten or primary education, with a only 19% having completed lower secondary education. 30% of the households have an income of HK$10,000 or less each month.
Tuen Mun has 7% of the total population of Hong Kong, but 11.5% of the newly registered child abuse cases and 8% of the total population of drug abusers in Hong Kong. 15% – 16% of juvenile and young offenders are from this area. Unemployment in the area runs at 8%.
The premise of the programme is simple: sports are fun. Engaging in team sports teaches children and young people about games, friendship, hard work, perseverance and teamwork – and working toward a goal that is larger than one’s self. It gives them a sense of camaraderie and pride and teaches them how to work with other people. It builds self-discipline, and shows not only the fun of winning but also how to cope with the disappointment of losing -- all very valuable life skills.Other educational benefits also can derive from sports programmes using English to improve the language skills of the participants. It also, of course, provides health and wellbeing education and encourages children and young people to avoid drugs, to stay away from crime, etc. Sports can be used as a medium for passing on many important life lessons.
The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union has led the waywith a range of innovative community projects focusing on these key areas. Their experienced coaches are leading the PLK programme.
“The Union’s vision is of rugby as a game for all,” explains Head of Community & Development Brandon Huang, “and to us this means giving as wide a range of youngsters as possible the opportunity to participate in sport. We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Po Leung Kuk, one of Hong Kong’s most respected educational organisations, and we look forward to using the medium of sport to the positive benefit of their students.”
The Children’s Rugby Initiative will:
Provide weekly sports tuition to 300 children and young people from one of the poorest areas of Hong Kong.
Facilitate the development of Personal and Social Development for these children and young people attending their sessions.
Involve volunteers in the different activities providing positive role models and opportunities for children and young people to learn new skills.
Enable children and young people to develop sports teaching qualifications themselves that they can then use in the development of sports in the local community for the next generation.
In July 2012 the Children’s Rugby Initiative started operations in Po Leung Kuk headquarters in Causeway Bay with 26 Primary 1 and 2 students, teaching them about team work, communication and building their skills and confidence. Also 31 K2 - to P2 students in the Lei MukShue Estate in Kwai Chung have been participating in these sessions and the parents are happy with the opportunities that have been offered to their children. The Initiative will start work in 3 PLK primary schools in TuenMun in September 2012 and we eagerly await the launch on 13th October 2012.
We envision this as the first of many sports programmes, and eagerly look forward to this programme growing throughout the PLK system.