THE legacy of Bill McLaren will stretch the length and breadth of Africa.
The Bhubesi Pride charity is set to embark on its first expedition, working with 15 schools in 10 African countries to use rugby as a tool for education and development.
And the Bill McLaren Foundation will be with them every step of the way, support-ing the expedition with “Bill’s Buses” – all terrain vehicles which will be used to transport coaches and equipment around the continent.
Brian Renwick, grants director at the Bill McLaren Foundation, said: “The Bhubesi Pride application really excited us – the aims of both charities are so similar; using rugby as the vehicle for improving life skills fits exactly with what we are all about.
“Bill was not only a great rugby coach and commentator to the rugby world, but for many with whom he came into contact he taught fairness, discipline and respect for others.
“As a charity, we are also thrilled to show that we support rugby all over the world and we are really looking forward to hearing how the teams progress in the coming months.”
The initiative involves a highly-qualified team of coaching staff driving through Africa during six-month missions, delivering mass participation rugby and education programmes in schools and communities.
The programme also aims to empower young teachers and also build and grow personal relationships between children and staff between British and African schools.
Richard Bennett, founder and project co-ordinator of Bhubesi Pride, explained: “Rugby and its values – as highlighted so well through the Bill McLaren Foundation – is a brilliant way to drive social change and to change lives for the better through sports development.
“Through Bhubesi Pride’s project work, we can use the sport in a meaningful way, where children in Africa can enjoy playing the game, but also learn about other important issues such as health and respect of themselves and others around them.”
The initiative works in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
The foundation’s Linda Lawson added: “I am pleased that we’re bringing rugby, and dad’s name, to places that have never heard of him before.”