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Our 2018 Pride – well done and thank you!

Friday, 21.Dec.2018

Sofia Domingos

Sofia Domingos

Key info

  • Age: 31
  • Nationality: Portuguese
  • Hometown: Portalegre
  • Project participation: RiA 2018 & SARE 2018 | Project Manager

Bio

After spending five wonderful months on Rugby in Africa (RiA) 2017, Sofia is back in Africa! Born and raised in Portugal she started playing rugby in 2008 and, after completing her degree in Sports Science, Sofia moved to Dublin to play a bit more rugby.

Proud Achievement

Winning the AIL (All Ireland League) 2014 with Old Belvedere RFC.

Sofia’s Goal

“Keeping in mind my fantastic participation throughout RiA 2017… I will do as much as I can to provide our Pride members the most rewarding experience on RiA 2018 and SARE 2018, bringing our Pride values to the children.”

Matea Ilieva

Matea Ilieva

Key info

  • Age: 31
  • Nationality: Bulgarian
  • Hometown: Sofia
  • Project participation: RiA 2018 & SARE 2018 | Media Producer

Bio

Born and raised in Bulgaria, Matea came to Paris eleven years ago for her film studies at la Sorbonne and she never left… Matea works as an audio-visual communications officer at BNP Paribas and teaches art to young children as a volunteer, inspiring future filmmakers.

Proud Achievement

Matea’s bold move to leave her post at BNP Paribas to join the Pride for the second-biggest adventure of her life… (leaving her home country of Bulgaria to move to France was the first)!

Matea’s Goal

“People motivate me the most: meeting, sharing and discovering. I hope to put my professional skills to good use throughout this project, showing the charity’s work in the best way possible.”

William Woods

William Woods

Key info

  • Age: 21
  • Nationality: New Zealander
  • Hometown: Christchurch – Ōtautahi
  • Project participation: Rugby in Africa 2018: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa

Bio

Will grew up playing and refereeing rugby in Christchurch before attending Otago University, where he realised that he should try to do a day or two of honest work before graduating with a law degree! Will plays blindside flanker for Zingari-Richmond FC in the Dunedin club rugby competition.

Proud Achievement

Refereeing a junior game between his school and fierce rivals and witnessing firsthand the sincere respect with which the young players, despite being beaten, immediately congratulated the winning team.

Will’s Goal

“Spreading the skills, joy and global camaraderie of rugby, while developing as a person, in the knowledge that by changing the world we change ourselves.”

Finlay Wilson

Finlay Wilson

Key info

  • Age: 18
  • Nationality: Scottish
  • Hometown: Scone
  • Project participation: Rugby in Africa 2018: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa

BMF Bursary Awarded Place

Bio

Finlay is taking a gap year to travel with the Pride before starting at Glasgow University to study Marine Biology. Rugby has been a big part of Finlay’s life, initially playing at his local club and then for his school from U11s to U18s.  He’s played across the scrum before settling on No. 6.

Proud Achievement

Making it to the Scottish Schools Shield final three years running and winning the final in two of those years.

Finlay’s Goal

My goal is to inspire as many young people as possible with the passion that I have for rugby and its values. I am also excited to travel through Africa and have as many new experiences as possible.”

Olivia Cooper

Olivia Cooper

Key info

  • Age: 25
  • Nationality: English
  • Hometown: Leeds
  • Project participation: Rugby in Africa 2018: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa

Bio

Olivia recently moved back to Leeds after two years working in retail management in London. Through her work, Olivia has managed and mentored people of all ages and backgrounds, but she particularly enjoys working with children. Rugby has always been an integral part of Olivia’s life and the sport is close to her heart.

Proud Achievement

Olivia considers embarking on the expedition with Bhubesi Pride Foundation – heading to another continent to teach a sport with which she has little playing experience – to be one of her greatest achievements.

Olivia’s Goal

“My goal is to give myself a challenge while playing my part in the development of communities in Africa.”

Michael Hendricks

Michael Hendricks

Key info

  • Age: 25
  • Nationality: American
  • Hometown: St. Louis, MO
  • Project participation: Rugby in Africa 2018: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa

Bio

Born and raised in Missouri, Michael studied at Colgate University in New York, where he also played on the rugby team. Since graduating, he’s worked as a journalist in Atlanta while continuing to compete with a men’s club team.

Proud Achievement

Captaining his college sevens team for a national championship qualifier.

Michael’s Goal

“All I can hope for is to try and make a positive impact on someone’s life, however small. I think many of us have seen the unique power sport has to do just that, rugby more than most, and I’m looking to put that to use.”

Becca Wye

Becca Wye

Key info

  • Age: 18
  • Nationality: English/Columbian
  • Hometown: Weybridge
  • Project participation: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi

Bio

Becca was born in Colombia where she first began to play rugby before moving back to England at the age of nine – with a brief time living in France on the way. Now she is taking a gap year, travelling to South America and East Africa before going on to study Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science.

Proud Achievement

Coming back from a year out of rugby to beat two national teams at Gent 7s, winning the cup competition.

Becca’s Goal

“I look forward to interacting with new and different cultures, as well as passing on the values rugby has given me to the children we will be coaching.”

Christian Dalsgaard

Christian Dalsgaard

Key info

  • Age: 19
  • Nationality: Danish
  • Hometown: Nyborg
  • Project participation: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania

Bio

Christian graduated from Nyborg Gymnasium last summer and is looking forward to going out in the world to learn about different aspects of life. Christian loves his rugby and has played for Nyborg Gymnasium for three years and has been practising with Odense Rugby Club. His plans for the future are to go to university in either Copenhagen or Aarhus, but he is not yet sure what to study just yet!

Proud Achievement

Probably from his years playing football… He always played defence and getting a perfect tackle in is an amazing feeling. However he believes he will have plenty of proud moments during his forthcoming adventure in Africa.

Christian’s Goal

“My motivation for joining the Pride and travelling to Africa is the hope of helping someone live a better life, whether it be through rugby or just raising awareness to the people around me back home. I want to both teach and be taught, if that makes sense, so I see this experience as just the right thing for me to do.”

Charlotte Harvey

Charlotte Harvey

Key info

  • Age: 20
  • Nationality: English
  • Hometown: Charmouth
  • Project participation: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania

Bio

Originally from Ascot, Charlotte moved to Dorset in 2007 after travelling to America, Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and Japan with her family. Charlotte is a seasoned traveller and has since been back to America as well as visiting Costa Rica last January. Charlotte is a keen rugby enthusiast and has played for five years. She has been selected for the Devon county squad three times.

Proud Achievement

Being selected for Devon county senior women’s squad in her first year of senior level rugby.

Charlotte’s Goal

“I am hoping to inspire the children and hope they will continue to pursue rugby in the future. Through my experience with the Pride, I am hoping to become a Community Development Officer with the RFU.”

Patrick Dunne

Patrick Dunne

Key info

  • Age: 32
  • Nationality: Irish
  • Hometown: Athy
  • Project participation: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia

Bio

Patrick was born and bred in the town of Athy in County Kildare. Having studied at Dublin City University he went on to qualify as a Chartered Accountant. He has previously worked as a Finance Manager in exciting startups such as MicksGarage and CurrencyFair in both Ireland and Australia.

Proud Achievement

Winning the Kildare County Championship with Patrick’s “beloved” Athy. Bridging a 24 year gap, having last lifted the cup in 1987, and to achieve this with all his best friends, was truly special.

Patrick’s Goal

“I hope to assist in developing something that will have a sustained impact on the lives of the children and families I meet for generations to come.”

Ski Bailey

Ski Bailey

Key info

  • Age: 28
  • Nationality: American
  • Hometown: Dover, Ohio
  • Project participation: Kenya, Uganda

BMF Bursary Awarded Place

Bio

Ski started his rugby journey at Ohio University, where he studied Sociology. After spending his whole life in rural Ohio, he made his way to New York City where he started work for Play Rugby USA. He currently coaches with Pelham Rugby.

Proud Achievement

Ski is proud to have been mentored by Salty Thompson & the High School All American staff in Arizona.

Ski’s Goal

“I am excited for the opportunity to learn from my fellow Pride members and positively impact the communities we will be working with.”

Jo Cremin

Jo Cremin

Key info

  • Age: 38
  • Nationality: English
  • Hometown: London
  • Project participation: Kenya

Bio

Jo works in London as a Sales and Account Director for CEB Global and has played rugby, in some form or another, since she was 14. Most recently, she’s been playing touch for London Galaxy and is assistant coach with South-East Taipans.

Having volunteered with Bhubesi Pride Foundation last year in Zambia and Botswana, Jo rejoins the Pride in Kenya to support our work in Nairobi and help prepare the team for 2018’s expedition.

Proud Achievement

Winning and defending the English National Touch Championship title as both a player and assistant coach with her regional squad, South-East Taipans.

Jo’s Goal

“Having been so inspired by the charity’s work in 2017, I cannot wait to contribute to the team’s efforts in Kenya and continue to support BPF in any way I can thereafter.”

Linet Wahome

Linet Wahome

Key info

  • Age: 27
  • Nationality: Kenyan
  • Hometown: Nairobi
  • Project participation: Kenya, Uganda

BMF Bursary Awarded Place

Bio

Linet was born and raised in Nairobi and has always been an active person. After watching a friend playing rugby, Linet began her love of playing which continued after she finished college.

Proud Achievement

Coaching children (under 10s and under 12s girls) at Shamas Rugby Foundation. Linet has also been playing for Mwamba RFC and recruiting for the Kenya 15s women team.

Linet’s Goal

“My personal goal is to become a better coach, mentor and role model for the children I train. Also I wish to improve on the communities’ approach towards women rugby, especially in the informal settlements.”

Hal Sparke

Hal Sparke

Key info

  • Age: 24
  • Nationality: English
  • Hometown: Cambridge
  • Project participation: Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana

Bio

Rugby didn’t enter Hal’s life until he was eleven but sport has always been a huge part of his life, his identity. He followed rugby from school, to representative forms, to seniors. It has taught him to lead, communicate, work in a team and, most importantly, to have respect.

Proud Achievement

Organising his Under-18 school’s 7s team. With very little outside support, Hal and his team went on to win the local club’s tournament against all odds!

Hal’s Goal

“To take myself out of my comfort zone, experience a different set of cultures and hopefully see rugby and myself in a whole new light.”

Lloyd Jones

Lloyd Jones

Key info

  • Age: 23
  • Nationality: English/Australian
  • Hometown: Wellington, Somerset
  • Project participation: Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana

Bio

Lloyd has just completed a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree at Macquarie University in Sydney after moving there three years ago. Lloyd is very keen rugby player who loves to travel and be part of a team.

Lloyd’s brother, Harry, volunteered with the Pride in 2017 in Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia.

Proud Achievement

Lloyd teaches swimming part-time and helping a student who was petrified of the water, swim competent freestyle is one of his proudest moments as a coach.

Lloyd’s Goal

“Having been to South Africa and Namibia before, I was desperate to go back to such an amazing continent. I look forward to coaching rugby and spreading its positive message.”

James Lewis

James Lewis

Key info

  • Age: 19
  • Nationality: English
  • Hometown: Kingsbridge
  • Project participation: Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia

Bio

James has a huge love for all sports but his main focuses are on rugby and boxing. He has already had an extensive career in rugby through school, club and county. James also loves surfing and swims regularly at his local beach.

Proud Achievement

Playing at premiership and professional stadiums and experiencing running out onto the pitch with a big crowd and scoring tries – the best feeling ever!

James’ Goal

“I hope to help the children and young people create and fulfil their dreams and goals. I want to inspire them to be great at rugby – learning from my experience. I also want them to enjoy it and have fun!”

Warren Kearney

Warren Kearney

Key info

  • Age: 33
  • Nationality: New Zealander
  • Hometown: Ranfurly
  • Project participation: Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa

Bio

Warren has been involved in rugby since he was four years old. More recently, Warren has been an RDO for Otago Rugby and has also spent three years coaching and playing in the UK. Since returning he’s taken up the Women’s Development Role for NZ Rugby focusing in the Highlanders Region.

Proud Achievement

Working for NZ Rugby, helping to develop and grow the game has offered Warren so much; knowledge and experience he wants to share with others.

Warren’s Goal

“Travelling to communities with less opportunities than I’ve had, using my experience to share knowledge with both players and coaches, creating a lifelong love for our great game.”

James Haydn Lane

James Haydn Lane

Key info

  • Age: 26
  • Nationality: English
  • Hometown: Harpenden
  • Project participation: Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia

Bio

James – also known as Jay – has always been a keen rugby player and supporter. He completed his History degree at Nottingham Trent University in 2014 which led nicely into his most recent employment at a local Prep school, Beechwood Park.

Proud Achievement

Jay’s charitable work in Uganda during his gap year. Jay worked for a sustainable building charity in Jinja called HYT.

Jay’s Goal

“I am hoping to achieve a wonderful array of experiences and memories that I will cherish forever, seeing beautiful countries and helping local people thrive with rugby.”

Kyle Dunlop

Kyle Dunlop

Key info

  • Age: 19
  • Nationality: Scottish
  • Hometown: Linlithgow
  • Project participation: Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa

Bio

Growing up in Linlithgow, Kyle started playing rugby in primary school after being influenced by his father and brother; he still continues to play for Linlithgow Rugby Club to this day. Having worked as a Modern Apprentice for Scottish Rugby in 2016, Kyle is currently living in Edinburgh, studying Coaching and Developing Sport at Edinburgh College and he hopes to study Sports Science at university.

Proud Achievement

Working with young people in his community and increasing the rugby participation throughout all the schools.

Kyle’s Goal

“I’m desperately keen to get started by coaching in a completely different environment from what I’m used to and begin learning from other Pride members along the way.”

Michael Macnaughton

Michael Macnaughton

Key info

  • Age: 19
  • Nationality: Scottish
  • Hometown: Glasgow
  • Project participation: Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa

Bio

Michael is currently on a gap year before starting at Durham University in October to study Physics. At school, he was a member of the 1st XV and helped coach his younger years. He is joining the Pride after working as a chalet host in France.

Proud Achievement

Helping his school 1st XV reach the Scottish Plate final in his last year of school.

Michael’s Goal

“Working with the Pride, I hope to make a positive impact in the communities we visit, pass on my enthusiasm for rugby to others and discover new cultures and traditions.”

Brendan Scott

Brendan Scott

Key info

  • Age: 22
  • Nationality: Scottish
  • Hometown: Edinburgh
  • Project participation: Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia

Bio

Born in Edinburgh, Brendan has had experience in both playing and coaching rugby for many years. Graduating from University of Glasgow with a bachelor in Accounting and Finance, Brendan is excited to take a break from ‘the numbers’ and experience new cultures.

Proud Achievement

Winning the Scottish Schools U18 Brewin Dolphin Shield with Stewart’s Melville College.

Brendan’s Goal

“Having grown up in a rugby family, I hope to be able to help others experience the values and friendships the sport can bring.”

William Cheesewright

William Cheesewright

Key info

  • Age: 18
  • Nationality: Canadian
  • Hometown: Oakville
  • Project participation: Namibia, South Africa

Bio

Will grew up in Yorkshire but his family moved to Canada when he was still young. After high school, Will has put university on hold to take a year off, during which time he is doing a ski season, travelling Australia with his sister and participating in Africa as a Pride member.

Proud Achievement

Will was recently selected for an U19 team Canada rugby camp. He looks forward to seeing where this will take him in the future.

William’s Goal

“I believe in the values and virtues that accompany rugby and I can’t wait to help grow the game whilst experiencing the culture and scenery of Namibia and South Africa.”

Ryan Davies

Ryan Davies

Key info

  • Age: 19
  • Nationality: Scottish
  • Hometown: Fort William
  • Project participation: Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia

BMF Bursary Awarded Place

Bio

Ryan was born and bred in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, Fort William, and has played and loved rugby for 13 years. After graduating from Lochaber High School in 2016, Ryan got the chance to become a Modern Apprentice with Lochaber Rugby Club and the SRU.

Proud Achievement

Going to Sweden to take part in the Viking Cup over a weekend, after an unbeaten season.

Ryan’s Goal

“I am motivated by my love of rugby and the ability for the sport to unite people and make a difference to the children that I will meet and coach.”

Ben McStay

Ben McStay

Key info

  • Age: 21
  • Nationality: English
  • Hometown: Chippenham / Bath
  • Project participation: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi

BMF Bursary Awarded Place

Bio

Sixteen years ago, Ben began playing rugby for a local club in France. He was scouted and played for the feeder club for Stade Toulousain. He returned to England to begin a 3-year BSc Rugby Coaching and Performance course at the University of South Wales. He is also a Rugby Development Officer for the Cardiff Blues.

Proud Achievement

The continued coaching work he does in the community and being able to positively influence and affect the children that he coaches.

Ben’s Goal

“Rugby has been a very large part of my life and it is now more than ever, as it is my career. I hope that I am able to impact the lives of those I coach in a positive manner, just as rugby has done for me.”

Edward Bradbury

Ed Bradbury

Key info

  • Age: 22
  • Nationality: English / Gibraltarian
  • Hometown: Colchester
  • Project participation: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi

BMF Bursary Awarded Place

Bio

Edward is currently a student at the University of South Wales studying Rugby Coaching and Performance. He also works for Cardiff Blues Community Rugby. Edward is a well-travelled coach having worked in the UK, South Africa and Gibraltar.

Proud Achievement

Helping young children in South Africa conquer their fear of swimming by completing a distance swim.

Edward’s Goal

“I hope my time in Africa can be as beneficial to others’ lives as possible. Sport has given me so much happiness and I hope I can inspire the young people I’ll be coaching.”

Amy Duff

Amy Duff

Key info

  • Age: 22
  • Nationality: English
  • Hometown: Oxford
  • Project participation: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi

Bio

Amy studied Biology at Cambridge, where she began to play rugby, first for Emmanuel College and then the university. Amy is currently living in London and playing for Hammersmith & Fulham. She’s tackling the London Marathon in April, before joining the Pride in June, and then starting a Forensic Science Masters at Strathclyde.

Proud Achievement

Playing for Cambridge University Women in the 2nd Team Varsity Match 2017 against Oxford and beating them 30-0, avenging the 1st Team’s loss at Twickenham.

Amy’s Goal

“I really hope that every community we meet experiences the unity and joy that rugby brings. I am also really looking forward to exploring each of the countries we visit!”

Declan Reynolds

Declan Reynolds

Key info

  • Age: 19
  • Nationality: Scottish
  • Hometown: Glasgow
  • Project participation: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi

Bio

Declan was born in Glasgow and raised in the US, Ireland and the UAE. He went on to leave school and enter into an apprenticeship for Scottish Rugby and then complete a HND in Sports Coaching at Glasgow Kelvin College. He currently plays for Cartha Queen’s Park RFC as a flanker.

Proud Achievement

Captaining the U18 Scottish Army Cadet 7’s team in an international tournament in Wales.

Declan’s Goal

“My goal is to influence people’s lives in a positive way through any means possible and through my participation with BPF I can use my passion – rugby – as my tool of choice.”

Jak Foster

Jak Foster

Key info

  • Age: 20
  • Nationality: English
  • Hometown: Shrewsbury
  • Project participation: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi

Bio

Jak has represented his school and local club teams in rugby from the age of 6 to 18. He’s since been studying English Literature at Bristol University where he loves playing rugby and many other sports. Jak has taken a year out from university to gain experience coaching rugby to children in underprivileged communities.

Proud Achievement

Winning against the Cook Island’s U18 national team on a school tour… and coaching rugby to children in rural Fiji for 2 months.

Jak’s Goal

“I hope to inspire a new generation of children to discover a love for rugby which they may not otherwise have found – and to develop my own experience of the game in a new culture.”

Tom Wood

Tom Wood

Key info

  • Age: 19
  • Nationality: English
  • Hometown: East Stour
  • Project participation: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia

Bio

Tom is a lover of all sports: sailing, cricket, swimming but, most importantly, rugby, with its all-inclusive club ethos. He is also an aspiring coach whose looking forward to gaining incredibly valuable experience with the Pride. Tom is currently on a gap year before studying History at Exeter University.

Proud Achievement

Playing against Canada U19s for the ISRFC England Lambs in Canada.

Tom’s Goal

“The opportunity to give something back to a sport that has given me so much enjoyment, through helping others to learn and love the sport!”

Finlay Richardson

Finlay Richardson

Key info

  • Age: 19
  • Nationality: Scottish
  • Hometown: North Queensferry
  • Project participation: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia

Bio

Finlay has had a rugby ball in his hands since he could walk. He studied at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh until 2016 and is currently on a gap year. Before joining the Pride in South Africa, he is spending a few months in South America teaching English.

Finlay’s brother, Saunders, also volunteered with BPF in South Africa in 2016.

Proud Achievement

Being awarded Player of the Tournament at the Tynedale RFC National Schools Rugby Festival in his first run out with the school’s 1st XV.

Finlay’s Goal

“Exemplary coaches and players have helped me all my life. I hope to prove myself as a great role model for my fellow Pride members and the children we coach.”

Max Verweij

Max Verweij

Key info

  • Age: 19
  • Nationality: The Netherlands
  • Hometown: Gouda
  • Project participation: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia

Bio

Max was born in the cheese city itself, Gouda, and he is studying a bachelor degree in marketing and sales at Rotterdam Business School. Max loves playing rugby with his friends at his local club RFC Gouda where he captains the U-19 team.

Proud Achievement

As a team, RFC Gouda played in the cup for a season, which was a huge achievement for a small local club.

Max’s Goal

“I would like to inspire people with the magic of rugby like others did for me when I was growing up. I am also really exited to see the different cultures and countries.”

George Cave

George Cave

Key info

  • Age: 20
  • Nationality: English
  • Hometown: Bedford
  • Project participation: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia

Bio

George is currently studying Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at the University of Bath. He is currently recovering from knee surgery and is keen to get back to playing rugby as soon as possible… In the meantime, he’s helping to coach the freshers teams at the university.

Proud Achievement

Playing for England Rugby U16 and receiving caps against Wales and Scotland.

George’s Goal

“I am looking forward to getting involved with the Pride, improving my coaching skills. I’m very excited to learn about a different culture and way of life, as I have never been to Africa before.”

Ella Hainsworth-Brear

Ella Hainsworth-Brear

Key info

  • Age: 22
  • Nationality: English
  • Hometown: Leeds
  • Project participation: Zambia, Malawi

Bio

Ella aims to graduate from Newcastle University with a degree in English Linguistics and Philosophy shortly before her trip to Africa. She grew up (freezing) on the touchline watching her brother play rugby. Ella enjoys cooking and baking as well as going to the gym!

Ella’s cousin, Josh, and her dad, Tim, have also volunteered with Bhubesi Pride Foundation.

Proud Achievement

Winning the Henry Moore Art Prize at school. And… breaking her leg in seven places!

Ella’s Goal

“I can’t wait to do something that actively helps other people. I hope to be inspired by the countries I visit and the people I meet.”

Hexter Starch

Hexter Starch

Key info

  • Age: 24
  • Nationality: Malawian
  • Hometown: Luchenza
  • Project participation: Zambia, Malawi

BMF Bursary Awarded Place

Bio

Hexter has just completed a Bachelor of Science in Public Health at the University of Livingstonia. He enjoys playing and coaching rugby in Malawi. He is the fastest national player. Due to his popularity in rugby in Malawi, a lot of people actually call him ‘Rugby’.

Proud Achievement

Hexter was selected to play rugby for Malawi’s national team against Lesotho and Swaziland in Lesotho in October 2017.

Hexter’s Goal

“I have had real success working with children locally and I want to gain more experience outside Malawi. I hope to ignite others’ passion for rugby as I travel with the Pride.”

James Thompson

James Thompson

Key info

  • Age: 22
  • Nationality: English
  • Hometown: York
  • Project participation: Zambia, Malawi

Bio

James is from a farm in East Yorkshire. Agriculture and rugby have always been his passion. James has recently finished his degree at Newcastle University where he studied Agri-Business Management. He has played rugby for his school, club, county and university and his own 7s team: The Northern Exiles.

Proud Achievement

Captaining his school 1st XV. James also played for Yorkshire for five years, including winning the U20s County Championships for two years in a row.

James’ Goal

“Having been fortunate enough to experience fantastic opportunities through rugby, I can’t think of anything better than to return that favour by passing on my knowledge and experiences to those less fortunate.”

Beth Gifford

Beth Gifford

Key info

  • Age: 39
  • Nationality: English
  • Hometown: London
  • Project participation: Malawi

Bio

Beth works for Pride GameChanger partner Czarnikow. She has had an eclectic mix of other jobs in the past; the sports injury massage therapist post may come in the most handy for the Pride in Malawi. Beth has two daughters, five dogs, two motorbikes and an incredibly patient fiancée.

Proud Achievement

Raising two beautiful, strong, independent and hard working daughters. They are a credit to me every day… (well, most days!) I could not be more proud of the people they have become.

Beth’s Goal

“To make the biggest positive impact possible… and listen, learn, play, teach and make sure that everybody has a great time doing it.”

Vanessa Canizalez

Vanessa Canizalez

Key info

  • Age: 34
  • Nationality: Venezuelan
  • Hometown: Miami
  • Project participation: Malawi

Bio

Vanessa joins Beth from Pride GameChanger partner Czarnikow. Vanessa moved to the US in 2010 to be an au pair as she enjoyed working with children. When the program ended Vanessa decided to stay in the US to pursue her career and life goals. She studied communication and marketing in Venezuela and recently completed an online MBA at Complutense University of Madrid. Vanessa’s favourite activities are yoga, running, traveling and going to the beach.

Proud Achievement

After many years of trying, she accomplished her first half marathon in January.

Vanessa’s Goal

“It’s the little things that, when combined, make the biggest impact. My goal is to give to these children the best of myself, to contribute to inspiring them. My takeaway? An amazing experience, great memories and new friends.”

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