Fiji Rugby Development Unit has been running their “Hood of Origin” programme in the past 5 weeks throughout various Central and Eastern communities in Fiji.
The programme is an initiative by the FRU Development Department integrating sports and healthy living while advocating on sustainable development goals to the kids.
Aimed at promoting social and cultural growth for young people, one of the main gist of the programme is also to equip young people with specific core and soft skills that may raise their level of confidence and empowerment.
Fiji Rugby Women’s Development Manager Adi Vela Naucukidi emphasized on how rugby is a perfect tool to educate kids on various life skills which will place them in a better place to understand and deal with the issues they go through every day.
Naucukidi said “The programme develops the rugby skills of the player and promotes health and well-being, confidence, safe spaces and pathways to training, life-skills and gainful employment for young people around the area.”
She explained “COVID-19 has forced the Fiji Rugby Development Unit to shift our focus on the children living in vulnerable communities across the country, looking at ways to get these children involved in some fun filled activities while also teaching and growing their knowledge on the core values of life.”
Naucukidi added “We had to re- strategize our plan this year due to the fact that there’ll be no sporting competition in schools and we saw the need to continue with rugby for our kids as we can’t stop them from being active, so we turned our focus onto communities.”
“We’ve engaged the police into our program, we’ve done a hood program course with them, so they also come and speak to the kids about cyber bullying, bullying, crime and drugs. We also have the Ministry of Health staff who come and educate the children on the importance of being healthy” she said.
This project also aimed at promoting social and cultural growth for young people and ensuring that all children participating in the programme have a positive experience.
The Fiji Rugby Development Unit is also trying to integrate young age group into their communities’ club rugby and get the young kids involved in club competition.
Naucukidi highlighted “Our main target are kids from under 8 right up to under 17, and we’re trying to get local clubs within these communities to get these youngsters into their age grade group and get them involved in their club competition.”
She said “We ran our program in Raiwaqa 2 weeks ago and now the Raiwaqa Rugby Union are actually getting their youngsters involved in their daily rugby trainings.”
Naucukidi also thanked CJ Patel for providing Weet-Bix in their programme to cater for the children’s breakfast and lunch.
“Through CJ Patel we managed to provide breakfast and lunch for these kids and also thank our 7s players for being part of the clinic. We have noted in our initial programs that due to the challenges of COVID 19, that each child is going through their own different challenges as such we are thankful to CJ Patel for supplying milk and Weetabix allowing us to provide breakfast and lunch to the children ”
After running the Hood programme activities and events throughout various neighbourhoods, the Hood of Origin will climax with a rugby festival after 12 weeks of Training and Education in December.
“We are excited about the program and have programs planned for the upcoming school holidays and hope that rugby will have a positive impact on the lives of the children we will come in contact with.”