The club is delighted to be leading a legacy trip to Rwanda in February 2020 in partnership with a number of neighbouring grassroots clubs.
In 2016, coaches from Hearts’ Community Department participated in their first trip to Rwanda alongside Tranent Colts and East Lothian Council. This was used as an opportunity for the delegation to learn about the country and to work with groups across a variety of projects with a view to forming lasting relationships with key individuals in local communities.
The February 2020 trip will see Hearts lead a group comprising of coaches and staff from Bonnyrigg Rose, Murieston Utd, Penicuik Athletic, Spartans and Tranent Colts.
Coaches from Hearts and Tranent Colts, who visited the country in 2016, will also travel to Rwanda to deliver specific projects that were previously identified as areas where support could be provided. This will include coach education courses for 30 grassroots coaches from all over the country as well as activities with a school for youngsters with disabilities in the country’s capital, Kigali.
In addition, coaches will link up with the Together in Sport charity which supports the Faith and Hope Academy in Bugasera, providing education and support for 500 pupils.
The main objectives of the trip are as follows:
- To educate those visiting Rwanda for the first time on the history, culture and the challenges faced by the people in a country that has worked so hard to overcome hardship. This will involve a number of visits to villages and towns, as well as participating in workshops and various grassroots projects.
- The group will endeavour to generate an understanding of the power of community and the elements of the Rwandan culture that may influence their own club’s philosophy in Scotland.
The trip is being led by Mark Fleming from Sports Chaplaincy who is a regular visitor to Rwanda and has extensive experience travelling the country. The City of Edinburgh Council are also lending their support to the trip.
Speaking on behalf of the 18-strong travelling party, Hearts’ Head of Community, Alan ‘Chalky’ White, said:
“Our previous trip to Rwanda was by far and away the best initiative that we as a community department have ever been involved in. It was a humbling, inspiring, educational and life-changing experience.
“As soon as we returned home, we wanted to share and promote the experience with other community clubs who we know go above and beyond to be as inclusive and as accessible as possible for people in their own local areas.
“Bonnyrigg, Murieston, Penicuik, Spartans and Tranent are all Scottish FA Legacy level clubs in their own right and have consistently demonstrated they are more than just football – they all endeavour to ‘do the right thing’. That’s why we are honoured to partner with them to deliver really tangible and positive work in Rwanda in the hope that new partnerships and friendships will be created.”
All the participating clubs are running their own fundraising activities to make the trip possible.
Hearts would like to thank and acknowledge Hearts fans’ forum Jambos Kickback and the Heart of Midlothian Shareholders Association for their generous donations and assistance towards the project.