USA: Nothing can stop Kiki!

After Australia, Kiki has been selected to go to Japan. She was in Tokyo for the rugby season. She is the first American woman rugby player accepted to play in a professional team in Japan.

Before joining Tokyo, she won Vegas and Barbados with her former rugby team SCION in Washington DC.

That is what SBA USA was able to make with a donation of $500! Kiki could go to Vegas with a new pair of yellow shoes offered by a donor! There she played very well and signed a contract with Australia and now because she was excellent in Australia… she is now in Tokyo.

Joann Liu, founder of SCION is really proud of her and she should be!

Kiki is now in Washigton DC to play a game with her team before leaving again for Australia!

We are so glad and proud too! SBA team wishes you a good luck  Kiki!

Here is the profile of Kiki.

Event: A Rich Cultural Exchange with Tempo Latino!

The Tempo Latino festival ran from July 26 to July 29. It is the premiere Festival of Latin and Afro-Cuban Music. In 2018 it celebrated its 25th anniversary in Vic-Fezensac. The program included concerts that set arenas ablaze with incredible rhythms pulsing right through the festivities interspersed with sporting events. Lionel was once again part of the team of volunteers (he is everywhere this Kenos!) and Serge was present in his role as Godfather of La Conga.

For the sporting component, the beaches of La Conga were transformed into rugby venues open to all comers. Serge made a small presentation to introduce the noble game of rugby. Also present were members of HAMAC (Happy Areopagus mobilized for any Challenge) who richly animated the beach rugby games wearing some of the items that Lionel had created from recycled rugby balls. It was a fabulous exchange using both round and oval balls.

The Serge Betsen Academy was reveling in the solidarity. There was a beautiful exhibition celebrating paintings and photos at “Center Les 7 Pêchés Capiteux” (July 25). Highly original and creative goods were on display craafted from recycled rugby balls including bags, wallets and school kits. The proceeds from which were greatly received by the association. Thank you Lionel!

An additional sale of hand crafted goods was organized on a beach in La Conga. Serge was naturally on hand to welcome holidaymakers, introduce the association and demonstrate a few ball skills while conveying some wise advice to the youngsters.

                                             

Serge was invited by President Eric Duffau on stage to introduce and present the association to the music fans gathered for the opening of the Festival. To listen to the speech, click here  (in French)

 

And to top it off, a cheque for €2,500 euros was given to the association from La Conga Tempo Latino.

   

Many thanks to Tempo Latino and La Conga for the amazing support! SBA is so proud to have collaborated with you, and we were so honoured to be there for your 25th birthday. It was a great exchange of cultural values, bringing together diverse organisations with so much in common.

Thanks also to all who purchased the hand-crafted goods knowing that their contributions would aid the association. Once again we are indebted to Lionel for his passion and dynamism, and to Jenna for her participation and all the sponsors of the association who made this trip. A special shout out also to Francis, friend of Lionel, who is an enormous help on some of our trips to Cameroon.

Cameroon : some news of the SBA COOP

We presented them to you at the end of 2016, here they are again, our mothers from the SBA Co-op who gathered for a reunion during Odile’s last trip.

Today, 1 year after it was created, there have been 2 bean harvests and 1 corn harvest. Our agricultural cooperation, which brings together 11 mothers whose children are enrolled at the L’Eau Claire centre in Banganté, has given some very promising results for a first year.  Although there was not enough fertilizer for some and termite damage to others, 73% of our goals were realized.

With this experience from the first year, we will continue in 2018 with 12 mothers. Each mother will benefit from 20,000 FCFA for seeds, fertilisers, and adequate tools for cultivation. There is no doubt that our objectives will be achieved once again.

This is an excellent project, which will continue to give great results!

During Odile’s visit in June, the SBA Coop met to set the 2018/2019 targets. Cameroon is currently experiencing a severe drought which is damaging crops despite all the efforts made by the mothers who are working so hard. We anticipate being left with very challenging times after the heavy floods which are forecast. We will keep you informed, and we keep our fingers crossed that the damage will be limited. Please note that currently, thanks to the SBA COOP, two square meals are served to 100 children every week.

Event: 9th Challenge at the Unifying and eco-friendly vineyard!

The ‘9th Epernay Vineyard Challenge’, brought together 1,850 rugby players aged between 7 and 12 years old. SBA provided a stand with recycled rugby balls manned by volunteers Chest and Kenos (the TQT finally reunited!).
It was a great success, especially with the ‘Week-End’ bags and the getting together of Belgian, Dutch and French neighbours! There were 39 clubs participating in this sports day from Belgium, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands.

The proceeds from the sale of confectionary items exceeded €3000. Lionel and Christophe were able to interact with Jeff Tordo from organisation “Pachamama of Madagascar” present that day along with many international guests including: Jean-Pierre Garuet-Lempirou, Jacques Boussuge, Francis N’tamack, Cédric Debrosse, Jean-Maurice Oulouma and hundreds of children.

A tombola was organised with great prizes contributed from the profits of the Pachamama and SBA associations. A donation of more than 330 euros will be poured into our association as a result of funds raised. Rugby material (shirts, studs…) were also collected for this event creating a thrilling showcase for the two associations.

A big thank you to Guillaume Martin, Director of Pedagogy (MSc and MBA) at L’INSEEC and to Laurent, the organiser of the Vignoble Challenge. Thanks also to the  École Polytechnique and all the young people attending and offering their support. Congratulations to Racing Colombes, winners of the Tournament!

A beautiful day in the Champagne region!

    

 

Some photos that will help you get a sense of the atmosphere and a copy of an article from L’Union(in French)

(Translation from French version : Raphael Nash)

Success story: Philippe, towards more progress

Philippe is about to finish his training in pearl objects.

Today he’s proud of showing us his work and it’s the necklace of Odile that inspires him for his future

creations.

  

Philippe also follows, with a craftsman, a bamboo training for the last three months. He still isn’t independent according to his teacher but he should perfect his level in the coming months. He’s really happy to learn.

    

Thanks to the different fundraising actions realised for his project, as you already know a workshop has been built for him in the center of the field of “L’Eau Claire”. This workshop has a room behind, that he showed us with pride with his communicative smile.

The SBA offered him a bed and a solar lamp that he will be able to use in his workshop and in his bedroom as soon as the day is setting, around 6pm…

Success story: Ledoux, a rugbyman of Bangangté

While Serge visited Cameroon in 2011, Ledoux was already part of Bangangté’s rugby team. He remembers with a smile that he was still playing barefoot at this time. Seven years later, he now works at Yaoundé and in charge of store shelves in the Casino supermarket of the capital. We are proud of him.

Without forgetting the SBA and his friends from Bangangté, he takes the opportunity of coming back to see his mother to go to the Sunday morning’s rugby training.

We love it!

Succes story: Romeo works hard at Congelcam and is grateful to the SBA for our help!

During her stay in Cameroon, Odile our CEO is visiting some former SBA members to find out how they are doing. She met up Romeo who has a great story to share with us. 

Romeo used to play in the rugby team of SBA Bagangté. For 1 year and 8 months, he has been working at Congelcam, the leader in Cameroon in import, distribution and sale of seafood. Unfortunately, he has no longer the time to join our rugby sessions, because he often works on Sundays but he knows it’s a great opportunity for him to be part of this company. Married and father of a one-year-old child, Romeo did not go to school for a long time, but he worked hard and climbed the carrier ladder step by step. He is housed in Bagangté by his company.

Odile, our CEO went to pay him an unexpected visit in his company and she was happily surprised to see that Romeo was wearing our SBA T-Shirt. He is indeed grateful to our association for what we have done for him and he does not forget us which warms the heart!

Congratulations Romeo on working so hard and best wishes for the future! 

Success story: Baudelaire, from unemployed to electrician!

Baudelaire has managed to get a job as an electrician thanks to the help of our charity and his hard work. He is a great example to follow for our students who want to succeed in their professional life!

Baudelaire on the left of the picture is currently working as an electrician for Aéro Mat in Bafoussam and is in charge of managing the stocks. He found this job thanks to the partnership with “Electriciens sans frontières” (literally Electricians without borders) and Serge Betsen Academy.

Baudelaire has been a child of SBA since 2013. He was part of a rugby team in Bafoussam which was playing against the rugby team of SBA Bangangté. This day, he found that the SBA Bangangté was appealing and a year after his study (BTS) in Douala, he joined SBA. At this time, he was unemployed despite his BTS in Informatics. He was trained during two months of by Electriciens sans frontières and it was a great success as he finished in 3rd place at the exam and found a job in May 2017 in the Aéro Mat company in Bafoussam.

Thanks to our partnership, Baudelaire has a real job that he likes. When he received his first salary, he came to the rugby training of the SBA Bangangté team on Sunday and brought bread for everyone including the trainers. He is always ready to help! 

Well done Baudelaire for your job success!

Volunteering: Jean Verdon, our new volunteer journalist ready to help our charity!

Jean Verdon joined us in early Spring as a volunteer journalist. You have probably already spotted his well-written posts on our blog and discovered his passion for rugby. He is introducing himself:    

I am a sport journalism student at the London College of Communication. I reached a social and economical Baccalaureate in Paris. Afterwards, I studied abroad in Dublin. I improved my language skills by attending English courses, as well as several journalism lectures.

I’ve always been a huge fan of sport. I played rugby from 2012 to 2016 and I had the chance to understand and analyse the values of rugby: team spirit, engagement and solidarity.

Early 2017, while working as a waiter in London, I met Serge Betsen. We had a few words about the Serge Betsen Academy and that a collaboration could be possible. He gave me his business card. After exchanging several mails with Jenna, I’m delighted to announce that I will volunteer for the SBA. Field reporting, interviews, translations, video editing and event coverage, I’ll try my best to help this wonderful association.”

Interview : Dimitri Yachvili shares his thoughts about SBA

With 61 caps and more than 370 points with les Bleus, a lot of people describe him as one of the best scrum-half of all time. Dimitri Yachvili started with the PUC, then flew to England, in Gloucester and finally joined France and Biarritz Olympique in 2002. He won two Grand Slams in 2004 and 2010 with the international French team and played a World Cup final in 2011 against Ritchie McCaw’s All Blacks. The “Yach” is known for being a bit quiet, but when we mentioned Serge Betsen, he came alive and confided in us.

 

  • Hello Dimitri. In which circumstances have you met Serge?

It was in Biarritz in 2002, when I joined Biarritz Olympique. It’s always impressive to meet a legend. I was young, I was barely 22 years old and he’d just been voted best player of the French championship.

  • Who was he for real outside a rugby field?

This is going to be complicated to dissociate him from rugby because as a human being he was someone extremely kind who has a big heart, can be fun and helpful. He’s always been close to young people. When I arrived I was 21 years old and Serge was 5 or 6 years older than me and he was already in the middle of his career. He has always been close to young people in terms of transfer of knowledge. He has always done his best to enable young people to feel well and to progress. He welcomed me well and a few months later we were roommates, and it lasted years. All of this inevitably creates links.

  • He created in 2004 the SBA. Does this remind you something? What does this evoke?

Of course! It’s his way to return to his roots. It’s his way to give back to his native people everything he did during his career in France. He’s always had a humanitarian side. Helping others and the weakest has always been a priority. It’s not a big surprise if he created this association in 2004.

  • When you hear that young Cameroonians struggle and use rugby to mature and escape from their daily life, what do you want to tell them, as a former rugby man and as a human being?

Really often rugby allows to get through complicated and hard situations. It’s also a way to become a more social person in life. The group cohesion that is created during trainings and games allows this. And I don’t talk about the confidence in themselves that these kids manage to get, and all of this with joy and pleasure! Because sport and rugby before everything must stay a pleasure.

  • If you had to give a piece of advice to these young Cameroonians, what would it be?

Take pleasure to find themselves. I don’t particularly have lessons to give to these young people but the pleasure to find on an outside the pitch.

  • The final word?

Long life to the Serge Betsen Academy and bravo again for everything you realize for these young people and sport in general.

Collected by Jean Verdon