On Wednesday, December 7, the new Ambassador of France to Cameroon, H.E. Mr. Thierry Marchand accompanied by Mr. Yann Lorvo, Director of the SCAC (Cooperation and Cultural Action Service), together with Mrs. Virginie Dago, Director of AFD – Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency) in Cameroon, and also Germain Peyraud and Cyndie Marques of PLAY International and James Mbongo of the Diambars Institute came to visit the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) centre of Zoetelé. Also making the trip were the Deputy of the Sub-Prefect and Mr. Paul Aristide Bomba, Mayor of Zoétélé.
It was a great honour for the children of the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) to welcome all our guests. They greeted them with much enthusiasm prior to showing them around the centre, introducing them to the activities they enjoy on site and then demonstrating their rugby skills.
Our Zoétélé centre welcomes 45 children, which provides them with school support, medical care and control, and of course rugby training. Laurette, a young coach trained by Abaa the manager of the centre, led the rugby training session on December 7. One after the other the different groups put their best rugby-foot forward: the 3-9 year olds from the centre who played a relay game, the 10-13 year olds who played touch rugby, then the 10 girls aged 13-16 who made a few passes and played a five-a-side game, and finally the oldest boys who played a game of rugby 7.
The visit was orchestrated by Abaa Louis Paul, manager of the Zoétélé centre, with the help of Sylvie Ledard, our Project Manager who travelled from France, with our volunteer Christophe, for this occasion. Sylvie and Christophe are currently accompanying the PLAY International and Diambars Instituteteams in their tour of SBA centres. The AFD – French Development Agency has initiated an “Academies” program to be piloted by PLAY International and the Diambars Institute. Among the beneficiaries of this program is the Serge Betsen Academy; so this tour, scheduled for the next few days, aims to carry out an assessment of our centres. Through this program, the SBA is supported over the next three years, to the tune of 165 million West African CFA Franc- XOF (just over $267,000).
Our association had already benefited from the support of the AFD through a donation of 26 million XOF ($42,114) within the framework of the “Sport and Development” program of La Guilde. This then made it possible, between 2020 and 2022, to see 50 young children play rugby in the Zoétélé and Jardin Eden centres in Yaoundé and provide them with school support and medical monitoring.
We would like to warmly thank everyone present on December 7, first and foremost our distinguished guests.
We would also like to thank all those who provided support, as well as the media who came specially to cover the event! A big thank you to Yannick Zanga from Cameroon Tribune for his article reviewing this beautiful day; read here.
Below are some photos and videos from the rugby training:
The centre’s three teachers and our nurse were also present for this very special visit. Laurette, tutor for the centre’s exam classes and rugby coach, as well as Charlène, who is also a teacher at the centre, produced a thank-you video:
Translation: Katy Birgé-Wilson