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Cricket in Rwanda

Cricket arrived in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide as Rwandan exiles returned home from nearby English-speaking cricket-playing countries like Kenya and Uganda. There is no history of cricket in Rwanda before 1994, and as a result very few facilities.  

Cricket is now one of the fastest-growing sports in Rwanda, equally as popular amongst girls as boys as it has never been seen as a male sport. The lack of pre-1994 history makes cricket the perfect vehicle for reconciliation in Rwanda. 

History of CBH

Cricket Builds Hope started life as Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation (RCSF) which was founded in 2011 to build the country's first grass wicket cricket ground.

RCSF was the brainchild of Christopher Shale, a British businessman who regularly volunteered in Rwanda and had the idea to build a proper home for cricket in the country. He died in 2011 aged 56 before he had the chance to realise his vision. His family and friends set up the charity in his memory. 

 

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GAHANGA CRICKET STADIUM

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'The Lord’s of East Africa'

Gahanga Cricket Stadium (GCS) opened in October 2017 and has been dubbed the 'Lord's of East Africa'. The not-for-profit ground consists of an ICC international standard wicket with pavilion and bar, as well as community facilities. It has won and been nominated for several prestigious architecture and engineering awards. 

The three vaults, designed to mimic the trajectory of a bouncing ball as well as Rwanda's rolling hills, were constructed out of 66,000 tiles made primarily from local earth excavated on site. The tiles were each handmade, predominantly using local labour sourced through Rwandan Government-led social protection programme, the Vision Umurenge Project, aimed at the two poorest categories of the population. 

CBH plays a role in the ongoing maintenance, operation and sustainability of the GCS, with our project director acting as chair of a joint UK/Rwandan NGO that overseas the running of the ground. The GCS continues to act as a base for CBH activities in Kigali. It has also hosted free HIV testing by the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, cricket open days to attract new players and spectators, and even a wedding. 

 

Our Patrons

 
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JONATHAN AGNEW MBE

BBC Cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew, better known as ‘Aggers’, is the voice of cricket on the radio having joined the BBC Test Match Special team in 1991. Formerly a first class cricketer for Leicestershire, and capped for England Test and One Day teams, Aggers was a founding patron of the charity when it was launched in 2011.

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brian lara

West Indian cricketer Brian Lara is one of the greatest batsmen of all time. He still holds numerous records, including highest individual score in a Test match (400 not out) and highest individual score in a first class match (501 not out). He visited Rwanda in 2009 and was a founding patron of the charity when it set up in 2011.

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HEATHER KNIGHT OBE

World Cup winning England captain Heather Knight is an all-rounder who made her international debut in 2010. She became captain in 2016 and lifted the Women’s World Cup at Lord’s a year later. Heather has visited Rwanda a number of times to coach cricket and became a patron of the charity in 2014.

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EBONY RAINFORD-BRENT

Director of Surrey Women’s Cricket Ebony Rainford-Brent is an expert summariser on BBC Test Match Special. After captaining Surrey women and playing for England, she retired in 2011 and worked for cricket charity Lord’s Taverners. Ebony became a patron of Cricket Builds Hope in 2018.

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sam billings

Wicketkeeper batsman Sam Billings is the captain of Kent County Cricket Club and an England One Day and Twenty20 international. He became a patron of Cricket Builds Hope in 2017 after playing in the inaugural Cricket Builds Hope tournament at the Gahanga Cricket Stadium in Kigali.

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MAKHAYA NTINI

Retired South African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini is one of the country’s best loved sportsmen. He was the first black cricketer to play for South Africa, and reached a hundred Tests. He travelled to Rwanda in 2015 for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Gahanga Cricket Stadium and became a patron of the charity shortly afterwards.

Our Team

 
  Ann Gonzalez

geordie morrison

CBH Project director

Geordie is the Project Director of Cricket Builds Hope. As well as managing all aspects of the charity, he is also the chair of a joint UK and Rwandan NGO responsible for the Gahanga Cricket Stadium. Educated at Bristol and Oxford, Geordie worked in investment management before taking up the role with CBH in 2017.

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mary maina

programme manager

Mary is the Programme Manager of Cricket Builds Hope and is also the captain of the Rwanda women’s cricket team. After graduating from the National University of Rwanda, Mary worked in cricket administration for the Rwanda Cricket Association. She now heads up Cricket Builds Hope’s cricket for change programme delivery.

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BLAKE LARSON

Assistant Treasurer

Blake is a senior associate at PWC UK and assists CBH on the work of the Finance and Governance committee. 

Our Trustees

  Ann Gonzalez

richard nicoll, chairman

Richard became the chair of trustees in 2014. He is a retired lawyer who is heavily involved with promoting cricket participation and development in London through North Middlesex Cricket Club's Senior and Junior sections and through his role on the Committee of the Middlesex County Cricket League. 

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alby shale  

Alby co-founded the charity in 2011 in memory of his father Christopher, who first came up with the idea of supporting cricket in Rwanda. Alby was project director from 2015-17, during the construction phase of the Gahanga Cricket Stadium. Once the stadium was complete, Alby stepped down as project director to become a trustee.

 

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RUARI SINCLAIR, TREASUREr

Ruari became Treasurer and Trustee in 2016, and currently sits on the Governance and Fundraising Committee. He is currently as Associate at BDA Partners in London. Prior to this he qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PWC in London, and has completed a 2 year secondment in Hong Kong in their M&A Advisory Team. Ruari travelled out to Rwanda in 2017 for the opening of the Gahanga Cricket Stadium. 

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Alan Sendorek 

Alan works for QPR FC on their new stadium project, having previously worked as a Special Adviser to the Prime Minister David Cameron in 10 Downing Street. He is chair of the communications sub-committee.

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Howard Cornwell 

Howard has worked for Coutts Bank for over ten years and is currently an Investment Product Owner. Howard led a Coutts team to the inaugural CBH Tournament in 2017 and joined the charity as a trustee shortly after. 

 

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Amy Holmes

Amy heads up operations and client services for a London-based advisory firm advising technology entrepreneurs and investors. She previously worked for ten years for Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne on a number of strategic international projects. Amy is the chair of the fundraising subcommittee.

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Graeme Loten 

Graeme is a retired diplomat, who served as British Ambassador to Rwanda and Burundi from 1998-2001. He is the chair of the CBH governance subcommittee. 

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Sophie Langman 

Sophie is the Head of Corporate Partnerships at Cancer Research UK. She has also worked with football charities in Sierra Leone and Ghana. Sophie is a keen cyclist and a member of the London Dynamos cycling club.  

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Michael Coulson 

Michael is retired after a long career in the City. He enjoys watching cricket and travelled out to Rwanda in 2017 for the opening of the Gahanga Cricket Stadium. 

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Kevin Sinfield

Kevin is a brand and marketing specialist. He previously headed up brand marketing at Taylors of Harrogate, the iconic makers of Yorkshire Tea. 

 

Privacy Notice

At Cricket Builds Hope (CBH) we take data protection very seriously and CBH trustees want to give an assurance to our supporters that we respect their rights to privacy and take the greatest care in the use of their data.

At CBH we have one designated person who is responsible for holding personal data and this data is all password-protected. In fact we only collect data, which in practice is restricted to name and contact addresses, for the purposes of communicating with our supporters by e-mail with our newsletters or other information about our activities. We never give this data to other organisations.

Our supporters can contact us on geordie@cricketbuildshope.org if they wish their contact details to be removed from our database (although this would then make it difficult for us to continue to communicate with them) or if they have any questions regarding the protection or use of their data.

 
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Contact Us

Please do get in touch with us if you're interested to hear more about our work. Just fill out the form here and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
 

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