Oxbow is committed to empowering learners in under-resourced areas in the Western Cape to develop physical and mental wellbeing.
Following the Springboks’ magnificent triumph at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, many youngsters from under-resourced areas now have a role model in captain Siya Kolisi and wish to pursue a similar dream. However, access to any form of sport in schools in disadvantaged areas has, for a long time, been nearly non-existent.
This is where TAG Rugby and its Adopt-a-School programme comes in, with TAG having been involved for many years already in helping to facilitate access to physical activities at those under-resourced schools where there are no formal extracurricular sports activities.
Stuart McConnell, director at TAG Rugby, explains that due to the positive impact TAG can have on the development of youngsters, the Adopt-a-School programme aims to get the private sector involved in supporting a TAG rugby programme.
“Usually, corporate supporters start small, helping one school to begin with, which is why Oxbow really stands out of the crowd. Oxbow is a company fiercely committed to helping children in these under-resourced areas and has really put its money where its mouth is, by supporting a total of five schools in one go,” he says.
The schools – Capricorn Primary, Levana Primary and Zarelda Park Primary in Muizenberg and Lavender Hill, and Ysterplaat Primary and Tafelsig Primary in the appropriately named suburb of Rugby – have really taken to the concept of TAG since this mentorship began, he continues.
“The beauty of TAG is that because it is non-contact, it is open to both boys and girls. Therefore, the teachers love it because the entire class gets involved and is physically active. Furthermore, it offers a physical change from the usual mental efforts of school, breaks down traditional gender barriers, and teaches them respect and how to work as a team.”
“We are grateful that Oxbow has fully committed to our programme and to helping learners in these areas. TAG offers so much to these children, from improved hand-eye coordination, to burning off excess energy, which in turn leads to better concentration and improved school marks. The programme also delivers key messages relating to healthy lifestyles, the importance of going to school, as well as an anti-drug and anti-crime stance,” he says.
McConnell adds that the Oxbow team wears their hearts on their sleeves, pointing out that apart from a monetary contribution, staff get involved both with the coaching side and the end of year TAG festival. They also go the extra mile, assisting with other challenges the school may face. For example, they may learn a classroom needs refurbishing, and so donate paint and time to sort this problem out.
Brett Furlong, MD at Oxbow, explains that Oxbow believes it is very important for local businesses to contribute to their communities through programmes like this.
“While it is important to support programmes like TAG Rugby from the perspective of the physical benefits it offers participating children, we adopt a longer-term view than this. If our assistance provides a more rounded development for these children, while at the same time helping to improve their ability to learn, we play a direct role in offering them access to the benefits that come with a good education. In this way, we help to positively influence the next generation of productive South Africans, affording them opportunities they may otherwise never have had,” he says.
McConnell agrees that this is a critical investment in South African rugby and in the future of our country.
“On behalf of the TAG association, the teachers, and learners at these five schools, I would like to thank Oxbow for their continued involvement and to encourage their contemporaries in the industry to follow suite. It makes a significant difference to these young lives who may even see us through to many future World Cup finals,” he concludes.