admin

Home/admin

About admin

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far admin has created 6 blog entries.

Pros For Africa Charity Gala 2015

“This is my life,” Serge Ibaka repeated into a microphone. Over and over again this phrase left the Thunder forward’s lips as he leaned over a podium in front of 500 generous Oklahomans on Saturday.

At the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City, Ibaka, in a full tuxedo, stood 7,663 miles away from both his hometown of Brazzaville, Congo, and the people whom he hoped to aid on that night. For the third consecutive year, Ibaka hosted the Pros for Africa Gala, which raises money for his Serge Ibaka Foundation’s efforts in the Congo and for Sister Rosemary’s Girls, an organization that aids young women in Africa.

In the first year of the event, about 150 people were in attendance. The next year that number rose and this year, it jumped once again to 500 members of the local community. The gala is already building a reputation and has become a yearly tradition for Oklahomans, Ibaka and Thunder players and staff, who showed up to support their teammate. Amazed by the love and support, personally and financially, shown by those in the area, Ibaka was emotional and passionate in his address to the crowd.

“I never thought that one day I would have an event like this in Oklahoma,” Ibaka said. “The people in Oklahoma are so nice to trust me, believe in me and to come here and help these kids. I thank God and these people here for everything they’re doing. It’s life-changing. I just feel like I’m the messenger.”

Through both a silent and live auction, the Pros for Africa event raised over $300,000 and for good reason. Videos showing the conditions in Brazzaville and Ibaka’s efforts to help the deafness epidemic in the Congo were extremely moving and showed just how crucial Ibaka’s generosity is to the area. The proceeds of the gala will be implemented in a variety of ways, but to Ibaka, the ability to help children and adults hear for the very first time in their lives is perhaps the most poignant.

“That day I almost cried,” Ibaka said, reminiscing about his trip to the Congo this past summer, when he helped children install their new hearing aids alongside the Starkey Foundation. “It was miraculous.”

With that experience in mind, Ibaka’s meaning with that phrase, “this is my life”, comes into clearer focus. His job right now is to play as hard as he can for the Thunder every night, but giving back to the children in his hometown of Brazzaville is his true purpose in life. In Ibaka’s mind, making the lives of underprivileged Congolese kids better is the reason he was placed on this earth. After his playing career in the NBA is done, it will be his philanthropic efforts that live on and serve as his passion for the rest of his days.

“One day I’m going to be 40 and stop playing basketball,” Ibaka said. “But I want to keep doing this until my last day.”

Written by Nick Gallo I Thunder basketball writer

Surge: teen group at OU Children’s Hospital

After a long day of practice, Ibaka took a needy family on one of the Thunder’s annual Homeland Shopping Sprees in Edmond, then went back downtown to the OU Children’s Hospital. Over the years in Oklahoma City, Ibaka has spent time there with children who are dealing with potentially terminal illnesses through events with the Thunder.

He has also, however, dropped in to check on the kids on his own without alerting anyone outside of his inner circle, the Thunder and the hospital about his visit. Those moments with the children spurred on a desire to create a more concrete, regular program to help out.

“It’s a special place. The first time I was there, it was so fun with those kids,” Ibaka explained. “I said that we need to figure out how to do something with them.”

As a result of some brainstorming with those around him, Ibaka decided to start an initiative through the new Serge Ibaka Foundation. The program, which Ibaka helped kick-off on Monday is called Surge: Teen Group and it will take teens with chronic and life-threatening illnesses on outings to give them opportunities to connect with peers.

4

From activities to learning opportunities to other relationship-building events, Ibaka’s aim is to help the teens emotionally and physically as they manage their illnesses moving forward.

On Monday, Ibaka stopped into The Zone, a therapeutic play area inside the Children’s Hospital, jump-starting the program that will also give teens opportunities to attend Thunder games. His passion for giving is one that knows no borders, rather, it simply applies to where his heart feels he can make the best impact.

The long-time Thunder forward has spent every minute of his NBA career in Oklahoma City, so he believes that giving back to the people who have supported him from Day One is a beautiful opportunity to show thanks and lend a helping hand.

“What they are doing is bigger than basketball and I’m trying to do everything I can to show them my support,” Ibaka said. “All I want to do is see those kids smile. I want to give back to Oklahoma because this is my sixth year here and this is my home too.”

“Before I came the person I am right now, I was a kid too,” Ibaka continued. “I know how hard the conditions are living with is for them and their families. My dream is to keep doing the best I can to help kids, give back and make them smile.”

 

Written by Nick Gallo I Thunder basketball writer

The boys and girls of the future

After starting the program three years before, Serge Ibaka visited the two institutions in Brazzaville, Congo, that the Serge Ibaka Foundation supports through Unicef as part of the program “UNICEF Gets Boys and Girls in the Game”, in the summer of 2014. The ASI girls center and the Space Jarrot boys day center prepared special activities for Serge’s visit and welcomed him with joy and pride. For Serge, seeing in person de evolution of the two centers and the progress of the boys and girls is: “a major motivation to keep giving back, helping and caring for these boys and girls. They are the future and deserve our help”.

 

7

 

 

The majority of the girls and boys in the program are orphans, and Serge is a mirror for them and an inspiration to work hard for their purposes. Besides education, the girls and boys participate in different activities and learn skills and jobs to be able to be independent in the future.

 

8

Bringing the gift of hearing to the world

In the summer of 2014, Serge Ibaka started a relationship with the Starkey Foundation, that brings hearing aids all over the world. Ibaka participated in two missions, one in Brazzaville and one in Kinshasa.

Going back to give back

KFOR News Channel 4 travelled from Oklahoma City to Brazzaville to witness Serge Ibaka’s philanthropy work in his home country and to contribute spreading the word about Serge’s inspirational efforts.

UNICEF Gets Boys and Girls in the Game

Serge Ibaka’s chances of becoming an NBA player were slim. Born in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, in September 18th, 1989, Ibaka had to face multiple obstacles in his childhood. Growing up in a war-torn, socially unstable country was a challenge for him from a very young age. Serge’s mom died when he was 7 years old, while his father had health and bureaucratic problems that had him absent of his son’s life for long periods. But adversity didn’t stop him from having dreams, and his was to be a basketball player. When, in 2009, he signed his first contract in the NBA with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Serge Ibaka knew his work wasn’t done yet. In the court, he wanted to improve every year to become the best player he could be. Off the court, he realized he was in a unique position to help others. He had the mission to give back to his country and his people. In the year 2009, he started a relationship with UNICEF, outlining a master plan of the projects to work on in the future. When brainstorming with UNICEF about a charity program to develop in Congo, Serge quickly decided he wanted to help the kids that had no family -street kids- so they could improve their living conditions and education and because, like he did before, they should be allowed to dream, too.

UNICEF has been working in Congo since 1964 and has maintained nationwide programs continuously since then, with operational bases in the capital city, Brazzaville, and in the coastal city of Pointe-Noire, the economic hub of the southern half of the country. Fully one third of the country’s population was displaced during civil wars that ended with a peace agreement in 2003, but continuing violence and instability have hampered resettlement. Today, 65 percent of Congo’s 3.5 million people live in cities, and half the population is under age 18. Only 2 percent of arable land is under cultivation, and 70 percent of food is imported, contributing to high food prices and widespread malnourishment.

Congo has made important economic strides recently. However, wide disparities in income perpetuate poverty and lack of access to social services. More than half the population lives below the poverty line. One in eight children dies before age five, largely from preventable causes, and the country has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the region. Secondary school attendance measures only about 40 percent of age commensurate youth. Issues around Child Protection are among the toughest challenges UNICEF faces in Congo. Since the wartorn1990s, substantial numbers of children -many orphaned or otherwise separated from family- have been relegated to life on the city streets. Today they live in very precarious conditions, marginalized and widely exposed to violence and abuse. Girls must often turn to sex work just to afford food.

UNICEF is working on many fronts to ensure that Congo’s vulnerable children can look forward to a better future. In close cooperation with the Congolese Government, UNICEF’s “Life Savers” initiative works nationally to promote 12 simple, easy to practice household behaviors. Among them are exclusive breastfeeding for six months, sleeping under an insecticide- treated anti-malarial mosquito bed net, hand washing with soap, and the use of oral rehydration therapy for diarrhea. In 2010, the Congolese Senate adopted a groundbreaking new law conceived to protect and promote the rights of marginalized children, especially those from indigenous populations. The new law for the first time gives all Congolese children a legal basis for access to healthcare, education, and protection. This advancement comes in the wake of intensified efforts over several years by UNICEF and its partners to document and draw attention to situations of child vulnerability and neglect of fundamental rights.

Estimates of the numbers of children living on Congo’s streets are difficult to get. Around 1,000 street children are being cared for at existing centers, but there remain large numbers of children uncounted and uncared for, mainly in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire. These youth are among the nation’s most vulnerable populations, and addressing their needs is a major priority for UNICEF. To reach these young people, UNICEF supports, in cooperation with local partners, dedicated youth centers that are equipped to meet the special needs of street children: Espace Jarrot offers boys both a comprehensive multi service  residential facility and a nonresidential center, while Actions de Solidarité Internationale (ASI) maintains an all-girls nonresidential center. All centers feature safe, child-friendly environments where children can have meals; access to showers and laundry facilities; medical care as needed; education, including literacy support; recreation; vocational training; and social support, including family reintegration and mediation services for homeless youth.

Specifically, each center will support Congolese children in the following ways:

Espace Jarrot

  • Residential Center: Boys in the residential center all go to school, and they will likely reside at the center until they finish school if efforts to reunite them with their families do not succeed. The facility’s capacity is 30 boys
  • Nonresidential Center: The nonresidential boys’ center welcomes boys three days a week. In an average week, the center serves about 40 (unduplicated) boys, some of whom travel a great distance to reach the center. The center’s vocational training programs lead to careers as electricians or auto mechanics, for example

Actions de Solidarité Internationale (ASI)

  • Nonresidential Girls Center: ASI, the nonresidential girls center, has capacity for 60 girls. They attend the center every day for a program that has a very strong emphasis on vocational training -for example, in needlecrafts or baking- through which young women can build a viable independent livelihood. Their work in the center generates income for the girls in the program

Brazzaville

  • Support intensive vocational training for 70 girls and boys and provide them with professional reinsertion kits that will allow them to run their own businesses after the training

Espace Jarrot

  • Residential Center: Boys in the residential center all go to school, and they will likely reside at the center until they finish school if efforts to reunite them with their families do not succeed. The facility’s capacity is 30 boys
  • Nonresidential Center: The nonresidential boys’ center welcomes boys three days a week. In an average week, the center serves about 40 (unduplicated) boys, some of whom travel a great distance to reach the center. The center’s vocational training programs lead to careers as electricians or auto mechanics, for example

Actions de Solidarité Internationale (ASI)

  • Nonresidential Girls Center: ASI, the nonresidential girls center, has capacity for 60 girls. They attend the center every day for a program that has a very strong emphasis on vocational training -for example, in needlecrafts or baking- through which young women can build a viable independent livelihood. Their work in the center generates income for the girls in the program

Brazzaville

  • Support intensive vocational training for 70 girls and boys and provide them with professional reinsertion kits that will allow them to run their own businesses after the training

Project Goals

  • Strengthen the capacity of existing centers (ASI and Espace Jarrot) in order to support street boys and girls and in the socio-professional reinsertion process
  • Refurbish the interiors of two existing boys’ centers at Espace Jarrot (one residential and the other nonresidential)
  • Refurbish the new site for ASI in the quarter “Plateau des 15 ans“, a location which is more central and accessible to both street girls from Northern and Southern parts of Brazzaville, the new site has been leased for a minimum of five years
  • Support  intensive vocational training for 70 girls and boys and provide them with professional reinsertion kits that will allow them to run their own businesses after the training

The Impact of Your Support

As a leading humanitarian actor, UNICEF offers unique strengths in knowledge, skills, experience, and access. UNICEF offers its collaborators and donors affiliation with one of the most trusted brands in the world. UNICEF is positioned to leverage fully any financial support in strong partnerships with governments, civil society, and the private sector, as well as with the nations, communities, and rising generations of young adults worldwide that UNICEF serves.

The UNICEF Gets Boys and Girls in the Game project will ensure that urban street children in Congo -and eventually across the Central African region- will have what they need to survive and thrive. All investments in this timely and efficiency-enhancing project will help give children the protection they need to grow up able and eager to build a better world.

Go to Top

Notice: ob_end_flush(): failed to send buffer of zlib output compression (0) in /home/ibakafoundation/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4673