Manila, Philippines – The Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU) and ChildFund Rugby reaffirmed their shared commitment to develop young leaders and create positive social impact in communities through rugby by officially launching the Club Champions project this week.

“For us, rugby is important in building solidarity across the country and in empowering young people, especially women and girls. We welcome this partnership with ChildFund Rugby especially during these times when the country is starting to open up after lockdowns, with children and young people adjusting to the social and economic impacts of the pandemic,” said Acee San Juan, PRFU’s General Manager for Development, Competitions and Training & Education.

As full members of both World Rugby and Asia Rugby, PRFU has been achieving excellence at the elite level of the sport and gaining public support toward the game. Over the years, fans and supporters have seen the rise of their National Rugby Team, the Philippines Volcanoes. Some of their most recent successes include the clinching of both the Gold medal finish for the Men’s and the Silver medal finish for the Women’s in the 2019 South East Asian Games.

The PRFU has also been known for breaking barriers in the often male-dominated sport, with the likes of PRFU President Ada Milby who became World Rugby Council’s first female member in 2017, and San Juan who recently stepped up as GM of PRFU – not a common feat among rugby unions across the globe. PRFU has also recently went beyond rugby touch lines by mobilising an all-women rugby crew to respond to those affected by Typhoon Rai at the end of 2021.

“Rugby is more than just a game. I have seen what the game has done for young people. Rugby provides a platform where girls and young women have opportunities to achieve their dreams, challenge barriers, and step up to be leaders both on and off the field,” said San Juan.  

PRFU began its partnership with ChildFund Rugby in 2016 to implement the Pass It Back program, and has since supported thousands of young people – more than half female – to learn and develop essential life skills through rugby. 

The new project will focus on delivering the Reconnect curriculum, an initiative developed to support children and young people to access sport and learning activities in safe and structured settings, with a focus on setting goals, reuniting with young people and teammates and getting back to the pitch following the disruptions caused to communities from COVID-19. ChildFund Rugby and the PRFU will work closely with Clubs and Club Champions to implement the curriculum, develop young leaders for the Club rugby community and support Clubs in further developing safe and inclusive practices for everyone. 

“The world continues to see change that is impacting the wellbeing of children and youth in so many ways. Enabling young people to respond to these challenges will be key in supporting healthy and safe communities for everyone.  This next stage of the ChildFund Rugby and PRFU partnership, with the support of the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and DHL Express, will equip more children and young people with key life skills to respond to changes positively and to become leaders.” said Chris Mastaglio, ChildFund Rugby Director. “We are excited for this next phase of partnership with PRFU to once again contribute to both sport and development goals in Philippines.”