Kampuchea Balopp became an official partner of the International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP) which offers a great opportunity for the organisation and our partners to work with the fantastic facilities of the new ISPP campus which is state of the art as well as their great range of activities and staff.
As part of the program Kampuchea Balopp and ISPP have embarked on weekly training session which incorporates students from ISPP and initially kids for three months with one of our NGO partners Our Home. It offers a great opportunity for the kids to engage and interact when they come from such different circumstances and backgrounds. In addition senior students from ISPP will learn to be trainee coaches under the guidance from the Kampuchea Balopp trained coaches; the two senior students from ISPP are Connor Vaughn and Sally Kim.
The program was instigated by ISPP teacher Peter McCombe who is a long standing supporter (and referee) of rugby in Cambodia.
Why did you want Kampuchea Balopp involved with ISPP as a Global Citizenship Partner?
Peter: I already have strong ties with the Phnom Penh rugby community. I wanted to include rugby in my workplace, to unite my job and my interests. Rugby is about community, working together and that is the objective of the Global Citizenship afternoon. The MRISA (Mekong River International School Association) sports programme ISPP is a member of, is between other like international schools played in big International schools in Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. I wanted to introduce an activity/sport that is local and has ISPP playing/interacting with local kids in a local setting.
What benefits do you see with the kids playing rugby?
Peter: Rugby is an activity that promotes collaboration and cooperation. It is fast, requires good coordination and is fun. Many of our students don’t really do any active activities. Also I thought if the ISPP students played alongside the NGO kids that they would form a bond that may develop and lead to ISPP kids working with the Our Home kids in other activities – swimming, art and craft, music maths mentoring, teaching English etc.
Do you hope this will be a long term collaboration and how will ISPP assist?
Peter: I do hope Kampuchea Balopp and ISPP form a long term collaboration that will lead to Kampuchea Balopp working in other programmes such as the after school programme, Diploma CAS Programme and a leading member of the NGO Fair and introduce to the school some of the NGO’s they work with such as ASPECA, Krousar Thmey etc. I hope that the ISPP partnership develops such that our students start assisting Kampuchea Balopp on weekends and during the school holidays.
We asked what the senior students and trainee coaches Connor and Sally also thought about the partnership:
What do you hope to learn from being involved with the Kampuchea Balopp coaches?
Sally: Working with the Kampuchea Balopp coaches, I hope to learn about leadership. Leadership is a great aspect of a person and it would be great to learn from them. Another thing is encouragement and communication skills. It is important to have a connection with every player and to encourage them in order for them to strive for the best.
Connor: From working with the coaches and the kids, I hope to gain a better appreciation for rugby as well as being able to learn more about the sport. I’ve only played rugby for a couple months (since February), but I already love it! Which is why I wanted to learn more on how to play and coach.
How do you think ISPP and the students will be able to help Kampuchea Balopp and the NGO’s they work with?
Sally: There are a lot of activities going on with a lot of different NGOs. ISPP students are privileged to have access to good education, but unfortunately NGO kids have more limited education. Of course there are fundraisers and events to donate money to the NGOS, but I think it is more meaningful to donate individuals’ talents to the NGO children. ISPP students have wide range of skills and education to offer such as playing instruments, teaching english and math, athletic skills, or artistic abilities. Learning these skills will help the NGO and the kids in the long term and it would be very beneficial to the local community.
Connor: I think that by having ISPP students involved with Kampuchea Balopp and other NGO’s, were giving them an opportunity to understand how fortunate they are as well as giving them a chance to give back to their community. Working with Kampuchea Balopp, they have got to learn rugby as well as inspiring them to do more as we’ve already seen with our new clothes drive and raising funds for them.
What do you like about rugby?
Sally: I love how active rugby is. It is a very physical and rough sport, but the tiredness is actually quite refreshing and nice when I finish playing rugby. Despite how phusical rugby can be, the players also respect each other and play with good sportsmanship. I think rugby is a great sport for teamwork, communication,and respect.
Connor: I’d have to say the teamwork and the friendships you make on the field. Another thing I enjoy, is that it is a contact sport, there aren’t that many, if any besides rugby here in Cambodia. Playing gives me a chance to enjoy myself! Again thank you for the opportunity to work with you!
The children from Our Home are already having doors opened for them in terms of access to better education and facilities and the ISPP kids have been leading a clothes drive so that the children will all have suitable clothing for sports. Its the early stages of this partnership but future looks bright.