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
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
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.
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.
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 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!
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
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.
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
On 11 March 2021, Serge Betsen and Rugby Legends hosted our first virtual quiz night thanks to the efforts of the TFA Ldt team who created the quiz. This evening of fun at the Six-Nations Crunch game Virtual Quiz Night was the occasion to raise funds for our charity!
You were 91 teams of players to stand up for our charity which means so much to us! Some questions of the quiz were of course related to rugby, but various topics linked to the French and British cultures have been chosen by Serge Betsen who was commenting.
Thank you to all the quiz teams, our Rugby Legends, and our donors for the support at the Six-Nations Crunch game Virtual Quiz night, it was a really fantastic evening. Congratulations to our winners, TEAM GOAT. You’re the first winners of this prestigious event, but we’re sure others will be back to challenge you next year!
The total raised from the evening is £4,094.22 so far – this will make a huge difference to the lives of the children we support in Cameroon and Mali, every £10 raised will pay for the meals for a child for a year. Thanks again to all the participants and donors! Serge is so grateful for your support on that night.
A special thank you to Arun Sharma and Paul McHugh of TFA Limited for creating this quiz and for supporting our charity, and to Dataiku for their beautiful donation.
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