Cameroon: Thanks to the ATF Group our centres are now equipped with new computers.

New computers, donated by the ATF Group, have arrived in Cameroon. Odile, our CEO, organised for them to travel with her from France at the beginning of July and ensures that they are properly installed during her tour of the centres.

Thanks to this great donation from the ATF Group, we were able to replace the old computers with new ones in the computer rooms of the Bafia and Eau Claire centres in Bangangté. Since 2017, we have been fortunate to count on the support of the ATF Group, a specialist in the lifecycle management of professional IT and mobile telephony equipment. In addition to financial donations, especially through repayment operations following the purchase of computer equipment, the ATF Group has made regular computer donations to equip the classrooms of the association’s various centres and allow children to learn all about computing.

In the Bafia centre, the two old computers below have been replaced by laptops. Max, IT manager at Bafia took care of their installation and very quickly the young people wanted to try these wonderful tools under Odile’s watchful eye.

 Installation Ordinateurs Groupe ATF a Bafia

Installation Ordinateurs Groupe ATF a Bafia  Ordinateurs Groupe ATF

The same operation occurred in the computer room of the Eau Claire centre: the new computers have also been installed and are making people happy.

Ordinateur Groupe ATF   Donation of a laptop by ATF

Donation of a laptop by ATF  Ordinateur Eau Claire Bangangté 

A huge thank you to the entire ATF Group team for their loyal support to the young people of the Serge Betsen Academy! Our computing lessons are always very popular in our centres as you can see below.

 

Translation: Katy Birge-Wilson

Fundraising: The International School of Toulouse supports the Serge Betsen Academy

The entire Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) would like to thank the management of the International School of Toulouse, its students from classes ranging from Early Years (maternelle) to G5 (CM2) and their families for their support.

Their end of school year cross-country racing which took place on Monday 21 June was an opportunity to collect rugby balls and raise £172 (201€) for the SBA. The balls will be recycled into bags and pouches of all kinds by our partner, Recycling Rugby. As for the sum of £172, it will fund after-rugby-training snacks for all our centres in Cameroon and Mali for the two summer months.

The management’s choice went to the SBA for two major reasons. As part of a sports week, the school wanted to support an association which had links to sports, and as you know, we love rugby. Moreover, as the school is engaged in an eco-citizen project, the management wanted to make the children aware of the many ways of recycling – in this case the recycling of sports equipment, through Recycling Rugby. We are delighted to have been the happy beneficiary of this united and green approach that we can but only applaud.

Thank you everyone!

And for those of you who wish to order a pencil case, a bag, a wallet, a purse, a toilet bag… made from recycled balls: just go to the Recycling Rugby Facebook page or the Recycling Rugby Instagram account pending the launch of the website which will arrive shortly.

Translation : Katy Birge-Wilson

Mali: Odile Prévot talks about SBA Mali on ORTM, Mali’s national television channel

Odile Prévot, CEO of the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) was the guest of Amadou Kodio in “Samedi Loisirs”, a must-see program from the ORTM, the Office of Radio and Television of Mali. She was live at 2 p.m. (GMT) on Saturday 19 June 2021 and presented the great progress of SBA Mali. Thank you to Amadou Kodio and to the entire ORTM team for welcoming Odile Prévot!

 

The following day, on Sunday 20 June, in the presence of Serge Betsen and Odile Prévot, we inaugurated our after-school tutoring room dedicated to 25 girls aged from 8 to 13 and announced the opening of a medical dispensary within our centre. The Minister of Youth and Sports, in charge of Civic Education and Citizen Construction, Mr. Mossa Ag Attaher had honoured us with his presence in order to express his support for our activities. Following these magnificent steps forward by the SBA Mali, a report about this day was broadcast on Monday 21 June in “Score”, the evening sports program and rebroadcast the following morning at 10.00, on the 22, in the same program on ORTM1.

 

Translation : Katy Birge-Wilson

 

Mali: Thanks to Dr Safiatou Samassa, SBA Mali opens its medical dispensary

Dr Safiatou Samassa is a renowned young obstetrician gynaecologist at the University Hospital Centre of Bamako.

It was Odile Prévot and Serge Betsen who immediately warmed to her unusual personality when they met each other in Bamako in June. Very sensitive to the situation of our children and to our mission, she agreed to volunteer to take care of our medical dispensary. From 6 August, she will be present, every Saturday, at the centre to offer medical check-ups and care to the children of SBA Mali and also their parents.

Her presence will also allow for talks with the girls on the taboos surrounding the condition of women in the country and the management of menstrual hygiene, with a view to the upcoming launch of the SBAPads project for the production and distribution of washable sanitary pads.

Thank you Doctor for your involvement!

 

Translation : Katy Birge-Wilson

 

Odile Prévot and the Doctor

Mali: TV5 Monde broadcasts on the launch of the education and health components of the SBA Mali

Thank you to TV5MONDE for this report on SBA Mali and to Kaorou Magassa, journalist, for making the trip to meet Serge Betsen in Bamako.

Watching this report, Serge exclaimed:

“How wonderful it is for me to see the youth of the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) full of energy!

Seeing our actions on site and the opportunities that we offer allows us once again to deploy our vision, which is based on 3 pillars: sport, education and health. This triptych is the DNA of the SBA, this great initiative of which I am super proud thanks to all those who on a daily basis make this vision a reality in the daily lives of the children whom we help every day, 365 days a year and this for the last 17 years.

You can watch the part of TV5 Monde’s news about my association here: https://youtu.be/bPzYghl9fq0

 

Translation : Katy Birge-Wilson

 

Event: We’ve received a donation of £3990.90 further to the SA2021 Preview Lunch!

During the SA2021 Preview Lunch aboard the Belmond British Pullman luxury train on 23rd June, RugbyUnites.com ran an online auction to raise vital funds for the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) and the South African Legends Food Program.
On 23rd June, guests of Victor Ubogu, former Bath and England rugby union player and Managing Director of VU Ltd gathered aboard this unique train to talk about the British and Irish Lions’ stories and also raise funds for good causes.
We want to thank everyone who bided in aid of our charity and the South African Rugby Legends food program to vulnerable communities in South Africa, or who have made a donation.
Between bids and donations, the beautiful sum of £3990.90 (4655,48 ) was allocated to the SBA and £2890.45 (3371,78 ) to the SA Rugby Legends, which is brilliant! We feel very grateful to all our donors and friends who are supporting our children in Cameroon and Mali. The 2020 year has been very difficult for our children and their families, and we have sadly not raised the money we were hoping to raise because of the crisis, so this sum will help us a lot.

Well done Victor Ubogu for putting all this together! It was a pleasure to collaborate with you and your team. And once again, many thanks for supporting our charity!

Proofreading : Katy Birge-Wilson

 

SA Preview Lunch aboard the train

Mali: Jean-Guy Monneret, the man with a big heart, and thanks to whom our daughters can study in a beautiful classroom!

We would like to warmly thank Jean-Guy Monneret and the entire ATC Mali team for the magnificent classroom which is now located on the grounds of AS REAL in Bamako.

Jean-Guy Monneret is the Managing Director and the Founder of the ATC Mali group specialising in large-scale metal construction (mining, boiler making / oil depots, irrigation, containers, transport / handling).  Based in Bamako for over 20 years and passionate about rugby, he is involved in several associations and rugby clubs locally.  He immediately agreed to become a partner of the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) in Mali and took on responsibility for the manufacture of the container which is dedicated to become the school support room for our 25 young girls from Bamako.  He also decorated the interior of the room and donated the furniture.

Here are some photos of the work carried out.  The container was installed on the grounds of the stadium a few days before its inauguration, after a clearing and cleaning up of the ground with the help of Serge Betsen and the rugby coaches.  It was not an easy task!

After-School tutoring room in construction Inside - After-School tutoring room in construction

Desk and bench for the girls Construction of the after-school tutoring room

Construction of the after-school tutoring room Inside of the after-school tutoring room

Serge close to the container Container

Inside of the after-school room Inside of the after-school room

 The girls discovering their after-school tutoring room

 

Jean-Guy is a former rugby player who followed the career of Serge Betsen closely.  He was keen to become a partner of SBA Mali from the moment the SBA office presented its project to him during their study trip in January 2020.  Serge Betsen visited him during his stay in Bamako in June 2021 to thank him and give him a small gift.

Serge Betsen, Jean-Guy Monneret and his son Wet

A big thank you to Jean-Guy of ATC Mali, to Mr. Massez, the head metal carpenter, to Yaya and the whole team for their involvement and their work.  Without you, the education component of SBA Mali could not have been implemented!

 

Translation : Katy Birge-Wilson

Mali: A beautiful inauguration ceremony for the after-school tutoring room of the SBA Mali centre

On Sunday 20 June at 11 a.m., the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) officially opened, with a lot of emotion, the after-school tutoring room for the 25 young girls selected among the players of the Saturday and Sunday training sessions. On this occasion, the association’s board specially made the trip to Mali and it was Serge Betsen, Odile Prévot, the children and the supervisors who received our guests. Among the official authorities, Mr. Mossa Ag Attaher, Minister of Youth and Sports, in charge of Civic Education and Citizen Construction did us the honour of presiding over the ceremony, thus affirming his support for our actions.

School room SBA Mali

The ceremony started at 11 a.m. at the AS REAL stadium in Bamako and it was Mory Touré, journalist and loyal supporter of SBA Mali who hosted the event as MC. The program of the day’s celebrations was organised as follows:

11 a.m.: arrival of children and guests

11.15-11.45 a.m.: children’s rugby matches

12 noon: speech by Serge Betsen

12.15 p.m.: speech by Odile Prevot

12.35 p.m.: speech by the Minister of Youth and Sports, in charge of Civic Education and Citizen Construction, Mr. Mossa Ag Attaher

12.45 p.m.: 3 exhibition matches of rugby sevens

12.45 p.m.: visit of the container by the 25 young girls and the guests

1 p.m.: buffet generously hosted by the restaurant LE LOFT in Bamako, then reunion with the players of the Hippos XV of Bamako.

The SBA Mali children, Mr Mossa Ag Attaher, Serge Betsen and Odile Prévot

 

During this event, Boubou Sangho, a young Malian entrepreneur, founder of Boubou Lait was introduced to our children. Impressed by his success, the board of the association had indeed offered him to become the mentor of the young people of SBA Mali, a mission which he kindly accepted.

The after-school tutoring classroom is now installed on the AS REAL stadium in Bamako with the authorisation of Mr. Sow, its president and Mr. Laurent, whom we’d like to thank warmly. And it is thanks to the hard work of our partner, the ATC Mali group founded and led by Jean-Guy Monneret that the container and its interior were manufactured, decorated and supplied. A few days before the inauguration, and once Serge Betsen and the rugby coaches had cleared and cleaned-up the pitch, it was installed at the location indicated by Mr. Sow and Mr. Laurent. Desks, benches, shelves and blackboard were also kindly donated by Jean-Guy Monneret. The result is magnificent and we are very grateful to Jean-Guy for his donation and to his team. Thanks to them, our young girls will study in good conditions!

The girls discovering their after-school tutoring room

The after-school tutoring classes will start on Tuesday 6 July and so, 25 girls aged from 8 to 13, in great difficulty, will benefit from them. These will take place every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Madame Coulibaly Afoussatou, an experienced teacher and a volunteer, will assist the girls in order to provide them with the necessary keys to the continuation and success of their education. By supporting these girls, we indeed want to fight against school drop-out, forced marriage and teenage pregnancies which are rampant in Mali. The principle of equality between girls and boys is indeed at the heart of our principles. And our goal is to empower these girls.

During its stay in Mali, the association’s board made the children play rugby but above all spent precious time with them in order to talk at length, especially with the girls and their mothers, in a small group. The members of the board also met Dr Safiatou Samassa, a renowned young obstetrician gynaecologist at the University Hospital Centre of Bamako. Very sensitive to the situation of our children and to our mission, she agreed to volunteer to take care of our medical dispensary. From 6 August she will be present, every Saturday, at the centre to offer medical check-ups and care to the children of SBA Mali and also their parents. The health component of the SBA Mali is therefore in good hands!

Odile Prévot, the Doctor and Serge Betsen

The board also had the opportunity to meet government representatives and local stakeholders to present the association’s progress and projects for the coming year. We would like to thank Mr. Mossa Ag Attaher, Minister of Youth and Sports, in charge of Civic Education and Citizen Construction and Mr. Arouna Modibo Touré, former Minister of Youth and Sports. We also want to thank H.E Nimaga Mahamadou, Ambassador of Mali to the United States who helped us from Washington DC to prepare for this trip and to put us in contact with people who could support us.

A big thank you also to our partners, the ATC Mali group for the magnificent container, Mr. Sow from AS REAL in Bamako and Mr. Laurent for lending us the land, but also to Mory Touré, Boubou Sangho, Martine du Loft restaurant for the delicious buffet, to the journalists who came to meet us, to Nicolas Réméné for his photos and to all those present at the inauguration.

Last but not least, a huge thank you to our local volunteers, Diarra Mandjou and Diallo Yaya who set everything up and takes care of our children on a daily basis.

The beautiful photos in this article were taken by our official photographer, Nicolas Réméné, on this very special day and we thank him for it.

 

Translation : Katy Birge-Wilson

Inside of the after-school room

Serge Betsen, Odile Prévot, Mory Touré devant le container

Rugby

Serge, Mr. Mossa Ag Attaher, Odile Prevot

2 girls at the rugby training

The Minister and a kid receiving trainees

Serge and the girls playing rugby

Serge and the children

Cérémonie d’inauguration au Stade de l’AS REAL de Bamako dans le quartier de Para-Djicoroni , le 20 juin 2021 de la salle de soutien scolaire qui accueillera 25 jeunes filles de la Serge Betsen Academy en présence du Ministre de la Jeunesse et des Sports, chargé de l’Instruction Civique et de la Construction Citoyenne, M. Mossa Ag ATTAHER, de Monsieur Abidine Maïga, vice-président de la Fédération Malienne de Rugby et de l’ancien international français Serge Betsen.

 

Mali: The SBA Mali is expanding and deploying its education and health components!

Since October 2020, the Serge Betsen Academy (SBA) has opened a branch in Mali and rugby training takes place every weekend at the AS REAL stadium in Bamako. Following the model of the SBA in Cameroon, which has proven itself for the last 17 years, the SBA Mali uses rugby as a vector of social integration and adds the two missing strings to its bow: the education component and the health component. While the inauguration of the school support classroom dedicated to young girls will take place on Sunday 20 June in the presence of Serge Betsen and Odile Prévot, classes will actually begin early July. The centre’s medical dispensary will also be open this August thanks to the presence of a renowned young volunteer doctor. The implementation of this winning model based on the three components is therefore imminent in Mali!

Among the 90 rugby players, 25 young girls from very disadvantaged backgrounds aged from 8 to 13 were selected to benefit from tutoring courses.  A classroom was needed on the premises of the stadium and a solution was under study.  And it was Jean-Guy Monneret, Managing Director and Founder of the ATC Mali group, who agreed to manufacture at his own expense a container dedicated to accommodate a classroom.  We sincerely thank him and his entire team. A few days ago, the rugby players of SBA Mali and Serge Betsen cleared out and cleaned up the grounds in order to install the container in the location indicated by Mr. Sow. Desks, benches, shelves and a blackboard were kindly donated by Jean-Guy Monneret.

Intérieur terminé du container Intérieur terminé du container

Serge à côté du container

By supporting these young girls, the SBA wishes to fight against dropping out of school, forced marriage and teenage pregnancies which are rampant in Mali. The principle of equality between girls and boys is indeed at the heart of the principles of the SBA, and education is the best key to fostering the empowerment of girls.

On Sunday 20 June at 11 am, the Serge Betsen Academy will be delighted to inaugurate the tutoring room.  For this occasion, the association’s board specially made the trip to Mali.  Serge Betsen, Odile Prévot, the children, the rugby coaches, Mandjou et Yaya, will greet the guests, among whom will be official authorities.  Mory Touré, loyal to the SBA Mali from its very beginnings will be there as MC and Boubou Sangho, Founder and CEO of Boubou Lait will take the floor to announce his wish to follow the young people closely, as a mentor. A visit to the container and rugby matches are of course scheduled for the day. It will be announced that the girls will start their classes on 5 July and will then be expected every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. A new life begins for them!

As for the health component of the SBA Mali, it is developing faster than was expected, thanks to a meeting with Dr Safiatou Samassa, an obstetrician gynaecologist at the University Hospital of Bamako. She has volunteered to take care of the SBA Mali medical clinic.  She will be present from 6 August at the centre every Saturday to provide medical check-ups and care to the children of SBA Mali and also their parents. Her presence will also allow for talks with the girls on the taboos surrounding the status of women in the country and the management of menstrual hygiene, with a view to the upcoming launch of the SBA Pads project for the production and distribution of washable sanitary napkins.

The SBA is now deploying its winning triptych, education – health – rugby in Mali, thanks to the support of official authorities, generous partners and donors who all believe in this project.  Reaching out to childhood is the goal of the association and success seems to be at the end of the road!

As part of its stay in Mali, the association’s board took the time to discuss in depth with the children and their mothers, took stock of progress, launched new projects and had the honour of meeting political figures, local authorities and various journalists whom we wish to thank. Nicolas Réméné, our documentary photographer, was present during the 16 June rugby training session to capture these unique moments.

We are pleased to post a few of his gorgeous shots below.

Translation : Katy Birgé-Wilson

Photo SBA Bamako - crédit : Nicolas Réméné

Photo SBA Bamako - crédit : Nicolas Réméné

Photo SBA Bamako - crédit : Nicolas Réméné

Photo SBA Bamako - crédit : Nicolas Réméné

Photo SBA Bamako - crédit : Nicolas Réméné

Photo SBA Bamako - crédit : Nicolas Réméné

Photo SBA Bamako - crédit : Nicolas Réméné

Photo SBA Bamako - crédit : Nicolas Réméné

Photo SBA Bamako - crédit : Nicolas Réméné

Photo SBA Bamako - crédit : Nicolas Réméné

Photo SBA Bamako - crédit : Nicolas Réméné

Photo SBA Bamako - crédit : Nicolas Réméné

Photo SBA Bamako - crédit : Nicolas Réméné

Photo SBA Bamako - crédit : Nicolas Réméné

Photo SBA Bamako - crédit : Nicolas Réméné

Partnership: Recycling Rugby, the recycling operation that transforms old rugby balls into bags and pouches of all kinds is growing!

Recycling Rugby is now a fully-fledged association which is no longer directly attached to the Sports Association of the Denis Diderot College of Massy.

However, the close links with the Diderot College continue to the extent that management and students are still directly involved in the operation. We warmly thank them for their support, without which Recycling Rugby could have not taken off!

100% of the profits from the operation will always be donated to the Serge Betsen Academy (except for exceptional operations which would be announced on their network).

We would like to thank all of you for your charity purchases, the benefits of which have generated a donation of £55,000 (64,000€) in 5 years for the SBA!

To order, just private message Recycling Rugby on their Facebook page. Father’s Day can be a great occasion to make someone happy while doing a good deed.

 

We take this opportunity to thank Lionel and Margaux from the Recycling Rugby team for their great work and also all the volunteers involved in the operation.

 

Translation: Katy Birge-Wilson