The Atlas Foundation | Projects
The Atlas Foundation is a charity founded by Jason Leonard and other rugby and corporate heavyweights to raise people out of disadvantage around the world.
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ATLAS Projects

Kings Rugby Development Academy, Nairobi, Kenya

At the invitation of the McGreevy family, ATLAS Foundation Chairman, Jason Leonard and CEO, Sally Pettipher, attended the launch of the Kings Rugby Development Academy in April 2017.

This project works exclusively with children from the Kibera Slum, the largest slum in Africa, giving them hope for a future beyond their current existence.

We were delighted to be able to make contact with the British High Commission and the Kenya Rugby Union to help raise the profile of this wonderful project that kits out, trains and feeds over 200 boys and girls every week.

The success of the KRDA is targeted to grow with 10 centres planned in the next 3 years.

For more info visit the KRDA website

See the photo-log of our visit HERE

Building a school in Africa

Champions: Philippe Sella and Jason Leonard

The ATLAS Foundation is working with Les Enfants de L’Ovale to provide the same kind of opportunities to kids in Africa that Jason Leonard and Philippe Sella found through rugby.

We are looking to raise the last €50k needed to build a school, sports pitch and changing rooms in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.  €100k has been raised already by Philippe Sella’s charity Les Enfants de L’Ovale and the land has been donated by the Abidjan government.

200 children currently get rugby coaching and educational support in Abidjan, Ivory Coast through the EDO programme. Yet they play on a muddy strip of land, and they have no electric lighting or dedicated school. They come from a slum in Abidjan called “Biafra” because they were refugees from the Biafran conflict and famine.

These children love their rugby and are dedicated academically, but their ability to succeed is being held back.

We want to give these children a proper place to learn and to play.

  • Two classrooms for their education
  • A kitchen to feed them
  • Changing rooms for both boys and girls
  • Hot running water so they can stay clean
  • Electricity so they can do homework after school
  • A pitch available for everyone, putting the school at the heart of the community

Nyumbani, Kenya

Champion: Maggie Alphonsi

Nyumbani Village offers education, support and shelter to 1000 children orphaned or otherwise affected by HIV and aids.

Nyumbani Village has recently established a boy’s rugby team but does not have any provision to support girls who want to play. Whilst the boys are coached a vast number of girls look on in interest, keen to get involved but not sure how. Thanks to Maggie Alphonsi and the ATLAS Foundation, funding is now found for a small project to develop over three years. This could be bigger with more funding, but ATLAS has ensured that it can start and is supported by qualified coaches.

We were delighted to visit this project in April 2017 along with other projects in Kenya. See the gallery HERE


Morocco (home of the ATLAS Mountains)

Champion: Philippe Sella

ATLAS is collaborating with Les Enfants de L’Ovale to train 100 teachers over three years to coach rugby, teach academic and creative subjects, and to instruct on good nutrition and disease prevention. These teachers will be trained at the EDO ATLAS centre in Agadir in Morocco and from there will go back to schools across Africa, to help improve the lives and prospects of thousands of children.

EDO was established by Philippe Sella and for more than ten years has built education centres across France and Africa. It is hoped that through rugby, children will engage with each other across language and cultural boundaries to build trust, respect and understanding. Jason Leonard and Philippe Sella are great examples of this, and will champion this project in the UK, France and Africa.

projec zulu


Champion: Thinus Delaport

ATLAS is collaborating with Project Zulu to provide a rugby pitch, changing rooms and toilets for Sithobelumthetho Primary School in the Madadeni Township in KwaZulu-Natal. This will also provide a pitch for the local village club allowing them to host home games for the first time. To date the school and the village have had to use a piece of waste ground where animals graze and leave their waste.



Champion: Maggie Alphonsi

ATLAS is helping to fund a sports pitch at a new community centre in Lilongwe, Malawi. Bhupesi Pride is already funding a locally-run sports programme and this new centre gives a permanent home for sports and social activities for the whole community.

  Sliders UK logo large


Champion: Pepsii Dagar (India team Captain)

ATLAS, in partnership with Sliders-UK, pay for a full time coach to be based at the Delhi Hurricanes. He works with 800 children in 16 government and charity schools, and directly in the slums of Delhi. For many children this is the only chance that they have to play. The children from the slums are not even allowed into the public park where the weekend sessions are run, except as kids in the Hurricanes programme.

Media and gallery

🔉Listen here to the Sabena Moylan interview about this project

🎦 Watch the kids and coaches in action from July 2016 here

📲 See the picture gallery here

💰 You can donate to this project here


All India travel bursary

Thanks to the generosity of a Scotsman, members of the Delhi Hurricanes who could not afford to travel to the All India national championship, were able to go. Both teams, men’s and women’s made it to the final. They were runners’ up, making then #2 in the country. A brilliant result that would not have been possible without the whole team, and without the travel bursary.


Champion: Catherine Spencer

ATLAS is supporting the Tag Rugby Trust to help women and girls in some of the poorest parts of Zimbabwe. By introducing Tag Rugby girls are inspired to play sport and to establish strong supportive team bonds. The confidence this gives them allows them to take on board the additional teaching of the programme, specifically in sexual health and careers guidance, and to share this teaching back in their communities. This in turn reduces teenage pregnancy, HIV and school drop outs. It increases the number of girls with better jobs and healthier futures.


Champion: Matt Hampson

ATLAS is supporting the Matt Hampson Foundation to help establish a Get Busy Living centre. This will let people with critical injuries rehabilitate through physiotherapy and social interaction, as well as providing a gym and rehab centre with specialist equipment. This provides people with the chance to use equipment that is too expensive to have at home, and to test equipment which they are thinking of buying to see how useful it may be to them.


Champion: Nick Popplewell

ATLAS supported Wooden Spoon to give special needs children the chance to train and play at the annual UK Tag Rugby championships held in Limerick, Ireland. The Garryowen Club has its own special needs team, the “Garryowen Lions” who hosted this important national event. While para sport is now widely recognised and supported, people with special needs have fewer opportunities for team sport. For a full report and gallery link here


Champion: Thinus Delport

ATLAS will work with the School of Hard Knocks charity to establish itself in South Africa, developing a broadcast documentary and a range of charitable projects to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The support of the ATLAS Foundation will allow the fundamental early work of establishing the charity and its first staff in South Africa.

Future projects

The ATLAS team are currently discussing the provision of the first dedicated rugby pitch, clubhouse and stand in Delhi. Rugby is played on grounds owned by the cricket clubs and the children in our projects are sometimes turned away when the pitch is needed. While we are great supporters of cricket, we feel that rugby needs a home of its own.

We are also liaising with a number of projects proposed by our Champions including in the favelas of Uruguay, and isolated communities in Africa, Asia and the Pacific Rim.

Please note that ATLAS does not consider unsolicited applications. ATLAS projects are all developed in consultation with known partners. 

Project Map