Monday, 07 October 2013 00:00

Girl Power in Rwanda

First time volunteer Marissa Rundle, blogs from Rwanda about the relationship between women, sport and HIV/Aids.

At first it was difficult to see the link between coaching cricket and HIV/Aids education. How wrong was I. A few days ago we visited Fawe Girls Secondary College (Kigali). After a massive downfall of rain we braved the large puddles and roaming cows to play some cricket. It was their first introduction to the game and within a few hours of coaching we could see great potential for the Rwandan women's squad. They loved it.

At Fawe Girls Secondary I had the pleasure of meeting 16 year old Teta. At the CWB training weekend they talk about "your story", Teta is mine. After I interviewed Teta for the purpose of CWB monitoring I turned off the camera and asked her if she had any questions. She had many…

We talked about losing your virginity, abstainence, sex, marriage and the differences between our cultures. It was a very honest and open discussion. I then went on to learn that Teta's parents are survivors of the genocide. She has very little surviving extended family and attends school with girls whose parents are still serving sentences for committing acts of genocide. Teta is determined to live in a peaceful country and has been brought up to to see the "good" in everybody. Her ability to forgive, to love and believe in a peaceful future for Rwanda is astounding. She was inspirational and will change my life in the most positive way.

Over the last week of coaching at different schools, I have had many countless conversations with young women who are desperate for information on love and sex. Most of the girls cannot seek advice from parents or teachers, and turn to their friends for support. It is unlikely that this advice is completely accurate. I have also learnt that nothing is as easy as ABC when it comes to safe sex. The girls in Rwanda, like all of us, fall in love. I met Betina when coaching in Kagarama. Betina is in love and wants to marry a boy who is HIV positive, she had many questions and I certainly didn't have all the answers.

In the past week I have experienced the power of the CWB approach. Through sport we develop trust and create an environment where young women can feel free to ask the uncomfortable questions. I admire all these girls who face many challenges in the next few years and wish them a safe and healthy future.


You can read the Team Rwanda blog here and follow Marissa on @cwbauction



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