LRA coaches deliver Xmas hampers to school

At the Lesotho Rugby Academy dinner in May, Litsitso told us the story of a little girl Coach Roy had met one day whilst delivering the Lesotho Rugby Academy. At lunchtime, when the other kids were tucking into their free school lunches, this girl was carefully packing up her lunch and putting it in her bag.

When Coach Roy asked why this girl wasn’t eating, he found out she was taking the food home to share with her Mum, because there wasn’t any food at home. It was a poignant reminder of the challenges some people face in Lesotho.

I remember Litsitso talking about the Lesotho rugby family. He said “when we play together, we become family. When I eat, my family eat.” At the time I thought this a lovely metaphor for the programme. We care about our teammates and our future players and that’s one of the reasons we invest in their futures. Why we have always seen our programme as more than just teaching kids how to pass and catch.

Of course, we also have to recognise what we can and can’t achieve through our programme. We can teach kids important life lessons to try and keep them safe and healthy. We can teach them about healthy diets. But we can’t actually put food on our kids’ tables. We’re an education programme, not a humanitarian one.

So even I was completely taken aback to receive the following messages this morning via WhatsApp on my way to the Dolen Cymru annual celebration in Cardiff from Coach Roy:

“This was our session at Mapetla School. We didn’t touch a ball yesterday because God had other plans for us. Through Ntate Litsitso, Thaba Busiu Risk Solutions made an event at the school to donate [Christmas] food hampers to kids in the Academy after hearing about the little girl who was taking her lunch from school back home to ear with her mother. I was very touched, but I think Litsitso was more than me coz he cried at the ceremony.”

For Litsitso, this wasn’t a metaphor. He meant it quite literally, and he is a man of his word. He and Coach Roy are absolutely dedicated to the kids they work with, and they are the perfect embodiment of the #rugbyfamily. They are great ambassadors for our programme and for the game itself, and I could not be prouder of them.

Dan AylwardComment