In communities across London, rugby is being used by the local Muslim community to introduce a new generation to the sport - all thanks to the perseverance and ambition of leading figures in those communities.
In March 2013, the local Rugby Development Officer made contact with the Darussalam Mosque and Cultural Centre in Hounslow. This was a result of insight gained that young Somali Muslims were finding challenges in accessing the local rugby club due to a lack of parental consent to participate.
From that initial meeting with Sahel Ali, the chair of trustees for the Mosque, a partnership was struck up to share and promote the game of rugby amongst the Somali community in Hounslow.
Fast forward to 2016 and Mr Ali has recruited and developed the Somali Rugby Development Team, a group of volunteers from across 10 boroughs of London with the remit of promoting Rugby Union (particularly the seven-a-side format) to the Somali adult community within each of those boroughs.
To date over 100 Somali players have experienced the game of rugby and the common values that the game shares with the Islamic faith. It’s a project that is transforming lives.