26 Jul 2019

A group of disadvantaged local youngsters were recently given the opportunity to take part in a five-day rugby tour to Vietnam as part of their participation in the Operation Breakthrough and Child Fund Pass It Back programmes.

The 30 youths from Hong Kong-based Operation Breakthrough, which is supported by the Hong Kong Rugby Union’s Community Foundation, came up against Child Fund Pass It Back’s Wildcats team in two 15s games in Hanoi and Kim Boi in regional Vietnam.

Operation Breakthrough and Child Fund Pass It Back are supported by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and funds raised at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens over the past two years have gone to Laureus to help fund both programmes.

The tour provided the young people involved with a chance to build positive relationships and take part in unique experiences in a new and exciting environment.

The tour’s first hit-out was played in a local commune near Kim Boi and proved to be a competitive and entertaining match in a special setting, with Breakthrough running out the winners 30 – 12.

The second game, in Hanoi, was played in extremely hot and humid conditions and the Wildcats, strengthened by a few new team members, got off to a strong start and early lead but the Breakthrough team fought back and the match ended in a draw.

The trip provided an opportunity for the team to soak up some Vietnamese culture, with the chance to try local cuisine, visit museums and see the picturesque countryside in between matches. 

There was also time for some team building with the young players pitching in to help clear the grass and plants from a field of orange trees. In hot conditions, the activity finished with a few good blisters and about a third of the field cleared.

Operation Breakthrough is a Hong Kong registered charity that uses sport, including rugby, as a medium to help and positively reinforce young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Participants are referred to the program through social workers, who also attend the sports sessions. There is currently 12 sports and around 500 boys and girls involved, with rugby being the single largest section with 100 youngsters aged 11-18.

Pass it Back currently runs in Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam, using rugby to help children in four main areas – Gender; Planning for the Future; Being Healthy; and Safety and Violence Protection. These are vitally important issues to help children in the more rural and traditional areas of these countries to stay safe.