27 May 2014: Rugby players may have a tough image but even they need some support when it comes to travelling across the wilds of Africa.
Inmarsat’s IsatPhone Pro helped members of Bhubesi Pride, a rugby and community development charity, feel safe as they drove 700 miles from Malawi to Zambia.
The charity was set up to inspire underprivileged children and their teachers through the sport.
This is the third year the team has used the satellite phone to help communicate and plan one of their six-month expeditions, the latest of which kicked off in Ethiopia in February.
The six-day drive saw the group taking a detour to one of the world’s great wildlife sanctuaries – South Luangwa National Park in Zambia – and play a game of touch rugby on the banks of the Luangwa River.
Richard Bennett, Bhubesi Pride Founder and Director, said IsatPhone Pro gave them peace of mind – whether it was a problem with the cars, an accident or medical emergency – because they could always contact the next town for help.
“I’m responsible for the wellbeing of up to 10 people and, without this back up, I would never venture out into the wild with the group,” he said.
Robin Schell-Hammer, Expedition and Logistics Manager, said: “Even when travelling in rural areas with very rudimentary infrastructure, we’re always connected with our IsatPhone Pro.
“I’ve used the phone to contact the next Land Rover dealer to get advice or coordinate our next service many times, which I couldn’t have done with a normal phone.
“Inmarsat and its technology has largely contributed to making our journey smoother and more enjoyable for everybody involved.”
Before the team set off, they visited a special needs class in Malawi, introducing more than 20 children with physical and mental disabilities to rugby.
The children learned basic rugby skills and then did rugby drills with their able-bodied classmates.
Gertrude Ngwira, a teacher at the school, said: “Not only does the exercise help them train their bodies and improve their balance, but the way the coaches interact with them makes them feel integrated. These children experience a lot of prejudice and stigma, but the coaching made them feel they’re important and that they’re human.”
Bhubesi Pride aims to unite boys and girls by addressing health education and life skills as well as empower local teaching staff by providing equipment, resources, training and knowledge.
It also aims to inspire sustainable development by encouraging young leaders and building relevant relationships throughout Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.