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Inspired in Kimbondo

The Kimbondo Pediatrics, Orphanage and Hospital in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, has a special place in the Foundation’s heart. The connection that was made in the summer of 2014 with Father Hugo, his staff of nurses and collaborators and, specially the almost a thousand boys and girls that live there, made a lasting impression. This is why for the fourth year the Foundation collaborated with Kimbondo.

Once again, the boys and girls greeted the expedition led by Serge Ibaka with enthusiasm and joy. The kids received gifts and sang, danced and played with the expedition. Father Hugo proved to be once again a great inspiration in helping others, showing humility and dedication to a cause that none one should forget. In communication with Father during the year, the Foundation made sure to provide the supplies that were needed. It won’t be the last time.

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Serge Ibaka elected to the NBPA Foundation Board

The NBPA Foundation, the charitable arm of the National Basketball Players’ Association (NBPA), welcomed Serge Ibaka to its Board of Directors this month. According to the NBPA Foundation, the appointment highlights Ibaka’s personal journey as one that has inspired many players and others while it also speaks directly to the philanthropic role of sports in society.

Sherrie Deans, Executive Director of the NBPA Foundation said, “Serge’s insights and his accomplishments in international charity and philanthropy complement the wide-ranging work being done by our board president, Chris Paul and vice president, LeBron James. With Chris, LeBron and Serge on our board, we have an even stronger team to help us support and develop the charitable work of our players in the US and around the world.

NBPABoard                                Ibaka with (L to R) Michele Roberts, Sherrie Deans and Chrysa Chin

Since being drafted in 2008, Ibaka has earned a place among the most recognized players in the NBA. He grew up playing on the courts of Avenir du Rail and Charles de Gaulle park in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo. He left at the age of 17 to pursue a professional career, starting in France, then going on to Spain where he was noticed by NBA scouts after standout performances in international showcases. As seen in the acclaimed documentary film series “Son of The Congo,” he is conscious about making his off-court journey a priority when it comes to helping others achieve their highest personal goals Ibaka has made yearly trips home on a mission with the Serge Ibaka Foundation to improve the lives of youth in his hometown and to learn how those improvements can be sustained

Serge Ibaka feels that “it is an honor and a privilege to be part of the board of the NBPA’s Foundation. I take it as an opportunity to learn and help and add as much as I can to the already incredible work done by the Foundation”. Ibaka and the Serge Ibaka Foundation will work to help the NBPA Foundation, now entering its 20th year, expand his mission and reach internationally, specially in Africa.

Ibaka joins current board members Michele Roberts – NBPA Executive Director, Chrysa Chin, Executive Vice President, Strategy & Development, NBPA, and fellow players and longtime philanthropists Chris Paul and Lebron James. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.nbpafoundation.com.

Thanksgiving giveaway

New team, new city, new community. But the goal of giving back stays the same. Right before Thanksgiving, we partnered up with the Orlando Magic and Amway to give away 450 turkeys and Thanksgiving meals to Orlando families. Serge Ibaka delivered the turkeys personally and took time to meet with some of the families. “Thanksgiving is about giving back and I felt like we had to do something in my new community. Sometimes a gesture like this can bring a family together or help a family enjoy a holiday so it’s always worth it to give a hand”, said Serge.

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Partnership with Bàsquet Manresa

The Serge Ibaka Foundation and the Bàsquet Manresa basketball club, through it’s own Foundation, signed an agreement for a partnership that will bring young basketball players to the catalan organization. Through the Serge Ibaka Dreams Academy, the sports arm of the Foundation, the players will have the opportunity to develop on and off the court in Manresa. The destination is not a coincidence: Serge Ibaka himself played for Bàsquet Manresa during the 2008-2009 season, before going to the NBA. Serge doesn’t hesitate when saying that “Manresa is like home for me. It’s an organization that takes care of its players and that knows how to develop them. It’s the best place for young african players to grow as players and personally and prepare for their future“.

Serge came back to Manresa to officialize the partnership, and had the chance to meet again with the local fans and the many club employees that he first met years ago. By his side, Bàsquet Manresa player Romaric Belemene who, like Serge is from Brazzaville, Congo. Belemene is one of the first players that participated in the Serge Ibaka Camps in his native Congo, and now fins himself playing in the first club as his mentor, and from now on he will be the one doing the mentoring with the new congolese players arriving to Manresa.

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Oklahoma City Gala 2016

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum hosted the fourth anual Serge Ibaka Foundation Charity Gala benefiting the Foundation and Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe’s Sewing for Hope Foundation. The Gala gathered 700 hundred people from Oklahoma and other parts of the country and the World, including Sister Rosemary that came all the way from Uganda.

“The first year we had less than 200 people and now 700! To see how we have grown and the support that the Oklahoma community has given us is incredible“, said Serge. “I am blessed to have the opportunity to partner with great people to help many children in Congo and Africa“.

The Foundation executive director, Pere Gallego,  expressed his gratitude for all the support. “All our partners, sponsors and donors are genuinely interested in helping Serge’s and Sister’s Foundations and we feel blessed for that. The Oklahoma community is always behind us and we will work to grow even more in the future”.

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IMG_8980                                 Photos by JP Wilson and Zachary Beeker.

 

 

 

Supporting the OKC Community

Serge Ibaka surprised four Oklahoma City single mothers and their children with a shopping spree at a local Walmart. Serge understands what it’s like growing up in a single parent home and has a big attachment to a community that has embraced him since the year 2009. Serge also blessed the moms with gift cards and acknowledged how difficult it is to raise kids alone.

Serge encouraged the kids to do their best in school and in all activities and to always obey their moms. He also told them to dream big and follow their passions, in accordance with the Foundation’s motto: “Anything is possible”.

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7                                 Photos by JP Wilson and OKC Thunder

 

 

The “Son of the Congo” goes back home

In the 2015 documentary “Son of the Congo”, filmed during the summer of 2014, Serge Ibaka encounters a young congolese basketball player named Ricardo. Serge becomes Ricardo’s role model and inspiration, and gives him a powerful piece of advice: “don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t make your dreams come true. Anything is possible”. Ricardo took this message to heart, and one year later, in the summer of 2015, the two reunited and shared specials moments in Brazzaville, their shared hometown.

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In his most recent trip back home, Oklahoma’s KFOR with Lance West travelled to Brazzaville with Serge and documented his reunion with Ricardo, amongst other charitable activities by the Foundation.

Serge gave Ricardo a pair of adidas basketball shoes – which he longs for in the documentary -, basketball shorts and a Serge Ibaka Foundation t-shirt. But, more importantly, he encouraged him and his family and offered support and advice, hopefully leaving a mark for life on this young kid, another son of the Congo.

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Watch the “Son of the Congo” documentary trailer:

Notebook giveaway in Kinshasa

The Serge Ibaka Foundation wanted to contribute to the students start of the 2015-2016 school year in Kinshasa, DRC, and organized a giveaway during two days. The boys and girls from different grades and ages of 10 different schools in the area received 20.000 notebooks. The donation was welcomed with enthusiasm by the students. Erick Kibonge, one of the Foundation’s managers in Kinshasa, noted that “this boys and girls are excited to see that someone cares about their education and show their happiness and gratefulness when they receive help. Activities such as this one help inspire them and realize that education is very important for their future“.    

The list of schools visited was: École Primaire Amour et Liberté in Masina, École Primaire Saint Marc in Kisangani, École Primaire Sainte Thérèse in Ndjili, École Secondaire Saint Martin, École Primaire Don Bosco in Petro-Congo, Institut Molende in Matete, École Primaire Kauka in Kauka, Complexe Scolaire Bimanzak in Bumbu, Saint Antoine in Selembao and Complexe Scolaire Mbamba.

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Going back to Kimbondo: a true connection for life

Located in the district of Kimbondo on Mont-Ngafula in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kimbondo Pediatrics, Orphanage and Hospital is home to more than 800 orphans who have received a second chance. Created in 1989, the Pediatric exists to take sick children, abandoned, orphaned, deprived of livelihood, in order to give them medical care and education.

When in the summer of 2014 Serge Ibaka was visiting Kinshasa and was told about the existence of the Kimbondo center, he had no doubt he had to take action. He visited the center with his friends from NBA Africa and the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Together they met founder Father Hugo, toured the facilities, spent time with the boys and girls and delivered a truck full of food supplies. A strong emotional connection had been made, and it was obvious that help was still needed and that they would come back, year after year.

The story of Kimbondo Pediatrics, Orphanage and Hospital began when a pediatrician from Chile, Father Hugo Diaz Rios of the Community of Claretian Missionaries, and a retired university professor, Dr. Laura Perna, decided to create a simple structure to accommodate sick children. Starting from scratch and with nothing but their immense generosity and a dream of providing free health and other care to some of the DRC’s most vulnerable children, Dr.’s Rios and Perna saw patients in a small room with minimal examination equipment and medical supplies. Nearly 25 years later, through much perseverance and struggle, Kimbondo Pediatrics, Orphanage and Hospital is now one of Kinshasa’s major child care center.

Today, the hospital alone houses separate general care, cardiology, tuberculosis, emergency and blood transfusion units. It also has a radiology department and laboratory. The orphanage is home to more than 800 children, most all of whom were abandoned. More than 250 suffer from a host of ailments, including malnutrition, severe physical disabilities, HIV-AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. While most residents of the orphanage range from several day old babies to 18-year olds, the doors are always open and Kimbondo often cares for sick adults.

Despite Dr. Hugo’s dedication and hard work and that of his staff and volunteers and their medical interventions, the mortality rate at Kimbondo is still too high. In addition, the physical capacity of Kimbondo and its limited financial and human resources make it difficult to not only care for the current number of orphans, but to also help address growing needs.

This is why, one year later, in the summer of 2015, Serge Ibaka came back, this time with the already established Serge Ibaka Foundation and, again, with the Starkey Hearing Foundation and, for the first time, with the Water is Life organization. The kids and Father Hugo received the big group with excitement and singing songs, and the group spent quality time with the kids. Bill Austin and Tani Austin joined Serge in the welcome ceremony and father Hugo received from Serge and inspirational poster as a gift for the center.

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The Starkey Hearing Foundation set up camp in the outside area, and did a long hearing aids session with all the kids from the center, providing a support much needed. The Water is Life organization provided water straws, making available a healthier first necessity for the children. The Serge Ibaka Foundation brought toys, clothing and Foundation T-shirts for all the kids and, before leaving, delivered once again a big truck filled with food supplies. It was another emotional and caring visit and yet, just another part of the big puzzle of help that these kids need. The support and effort of the Serge Ibaka Foundation will continue during the year and -there is no doubt- in next summer visit.

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