Representatives from Georgia, Uruguay and the South Africa President’s XV visited the Avchala Juvenile Penitentiary on Thursday to meet and interact with inmates as part of a re-socialisation programme organised by the Georgian Ministry of Sport.
Players took part in a game of touch rugby with the inmates and answered questions about what life is like as a professional rugby player. The inmates showed off their arts and craft projects and gave the players a tour of the facility.
The re-socialisation programme was implemented at the start of 2013, as a means of reintegrating youngsters who have turned to a life of crime back into mainstream society through the use of sport and non formal education. These activities include rugby, football, wood carving, computer science and music. The project will run throughout this year.
Many of the juveniles are regular rugby players and compete against Georgian club age grade teams on a monthly basis. Giorgi Kacharava, a Georgian A international, is their lead coach and he is often assisted by his younger brother – the Georgian international David Kacharava.
The event was a huge highlight for the incarcerated youngsters who relished the chance to host professional sportsmen.
Eddie Myners, a coach for the South Africa President’s XV side, works in a similar facility back in South Africa. He said: “You cannot underestimate how much of a powerful tool sport is, especially rugby. It gives these young individuals a focus for their attention and days like today are massive in keeping the players engaged in rugby."