Sport

Sport's healing power in Rwanda

Updated 1331 GMT (2131 HKT) March 8, 2017
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Rugby is on the rise in Rwanda, having played a key role in the population's healing process after the 1994 genocide. Amanda Harman
Bar the occasional game between ex-pats, the sport was virtually non-existent in the East African country before 2001. Amanda Harman
It was introduced by volunteer worker Emma Rees, who was traveling with a rugby ball. Amanda Harman
She targeted young players in a school where she was working, and the game has been growing in Rwanda ever since. Amanda Harman
It led to the launch of Friends of Rwandan Rugby, a charity aimed at increasing awareness and playing numbers. Amanda Harman
Rugby is now played in 74 primary schools and 56 secondary schools in Rwanda. Amanda Harman
Kamanda Tharcisse (smiling on the left) was one of the first players introduced to the game by Rees. Amanda Harman
Tharcisse, a genocide survivor, played for the national side -- the Silverbacks -- went into coaching, and is now general secretary of Rwanda Rugby. Amanda Harman
Volunteers from the Voluntary Service Overseas charity have made regular trips to the country with donated rugby kit. Amanda Harman
They hope that the growing numbers of players at school level will have a knock-on effect in the senior ranks. Amanda Harman
There are 600 players at senior level, while Rwanda is 96th in the World Rugby rankings. Amanda Harman
There are hopes the younger generation can have aspirations of playing in the Sevens World Series or the World Cup in the future. Amanda Harman