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    RUGBY CARES: Sharing smiles through Rugby in Butig, Lanao del Sur

    by Coach Noel Villa

    Embarking on a transformative journey, I have made it my advocacy to share the joy of rugby and its five core values especially with children.

    Understanding the profound impact that sports can have on fostering confidence and empowerment, I saw Rugby as a means to break down barriers and instill a sense of resilience in marginalized communities.

    With a steadfast commitment to uplifting the spirits of the youth, I set out to introduce the sport to the young girls of Butig, Lanao del Sur, with the hope of empowering them to discover their potential and overcome societal limitations.

    Butig Sunflowers Rugby Club is born.

    I drew inspiration from my experiences after the Marawi siege in 2017, when I shared the sport of Rugby with displaced children of Barangay Bito Buadi Itowa evacuation center in Marawi City.

    Witnessing the transformative power of sports that brought smiles to the faces of those kids who were affected by the armed conflict, I was driven to replicate this impact in Butig. Just as I had done in Marawi, I approached this mission in Butig with determination using the power of sports to transcend across cultures, traditions, and religion.

    Not only did I teach the girls of Butig a new sport but also impart invaluable life lessons encapsulated in the sport’s core values of integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline, and respect.

    As the young girls learned about Rugby and its values, albeit a foreign sport in their little world, they genuinely enjoyed the short learning and playing session. Each pass of the ball while running around  laughing exuded true happiness among the girls which brought my vision of empowering the youth and fostering unity become a reality.

    Though I have only spent a short time sharing Rugby with the kids of Butig, I am proud to declare, “Mission Accomplished”.

    I hope that I have left an indelible mark in their young lives that will inspire them to try new things, embrace new learnings, and empower themselves to be happy as they reach for their dreams.


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