Rugby MP Mark Pawsey calls for more football shirts to be sent to Rwanda

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AN appeal for unwanted football shirts is being made by Rugby’s MP.

In 2007 a scheme was launched called Project Umubano in Rwanda designed to help bridge the huge wealth gap between the world’s richest and poorest nations.

A group of Conservatives visited in 2008 including Rugby MP Mark Pawsey.

Mr Pawsey made another visit in 2009 and plans to be involved again this year, leaving for Rwanda on July 14.

When he first visited in 2008, Mr Pawsey worked as a small business advisor and in 2009 he joined a team teaching English to Rwanda’s school teachers, working with a project providing mentoring to child survivors of the 1994 genocide. He was able to put his experiences, firstly as a dad and also as an employer to good use.

After playing football with the local children, and seeing their delight at Western football kit, Mr Pawsey also set up a project to send unwanted football shirts to Rwanda and a consignment has been sent off every year since.

Mr Pawsey is now making a further appeal for shirts before he departs this year, which he will be able to take over with him.

He said: “The aim of Project Umabano is to give a worthwhile first-hand experience of development issues and a chance to learn about the challenges that developing countries like Rwanda face. It is an opportunity to help in a country which is one of the poorest in the world but which is now starting to make impressive progress.

“I learnt a massive amount from previous visits and I enjoyed working with the businesses I spent time with, teaching English to Rwandan teachers so that they may be more effective in the classroom, and helping youngsters with preparing CV’s and job and college applications.

“I decided to send over unwanted soccer shirts as the big English clubs are all well known and previous donations were really appreciated by both youngster and adults. The people of Rugby have so far been very generous with their donations. If anyone has any shirts that someone has grown out of or are no longer worn because the sponsor has changed, I can make sure they will be put to good use.”