By: JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Stakeholders of the One Win Basketball Camp all took turns to hail the United States of America Abuja Embassy for its role in ensuring that hundreds of girls are mentored and groomed through basketball to become successful adults in the future.
Speaker after speaker expressed this at the ongoing camp at the Federal Cooperative College, Kaduna, basketball courts.
Founder/CEO of One Win Basketball Foundation, organisers of the camp, Coach Christiana Nnorom Mark alias Carter said that over 200 girls are participating at the camp.
She explained that after two months camp held earlier in the year, they decided to make the follow up a three months programmes.
” I realized the girls needed more time so we made it three months this time. Besides the basketball and mentoring training the girls get, they are also taught life skills. On Friday’s we visit them and their parents at home to follow up on them,” she said.
She added that “We want to know more about the girls, what do they want to achieve, some have been taken for scholarships by the foundation because through such fora we got to know their parents could no longer sponsor their education.”
Speaking further, she said that they are putting everything in place to make the girls stand out among their peers.
“Most of the girls, we try to instill discipline in them. Their parents are happy and glad that we are doing this for the girl-child. After lunch, they would move to the classroom for academics,” she said.
On if the present camp is an improvement on the previous, she said that in every aspect, they have improved.
“First camp we had just 86 girls, but two weeks ago, we had over 200 girls. What I want is to get the girls to be greater women in future, so that they don’t need to depend on anyone in the future,” she added.
“One Win is thankful to the US Embassy Abuja for helping the girls’ dreams come true. We would be happy for more corporate organisations to come in and emulate same so that they can increase number of beneficiaries subsequently.
Also speaking, Coordinator of the One Win Camp, Coach James Fungen, who is the head coach of Kaduna Polytechnic expressed delight that the camp gets bigger by the day.
“We give praise to God because we are growing. Each week, the number of girls that join us keeps increasing.
“The first week we had 200 girls and it’s been increasing since then. Every week we get new people like today we got 10 new people. It shows the awareness is higher. It shows the female gender that they are not push overs,” he said.
On the technical aspect of the knowledge imparted in them, he said that a lot of progress has been made.
“The kids that could not push the ball the first time they were here, but today as you can see they are playing. We have been giving them the basics.
“Even the smallest kid now if you ask them questions on basketball they can answer they are really growing some feel they are good to play for their school teams now. We are assessing and keeping records at the end we would know who is most improved,” he submitted.
Speaking further, he explained that they want to bring in other helping hands because they follow up to their schools to find out how they are improving on the game, while tab is also kept on those that play on neighbourhood courts.
“We say big thank you to those supporting the programme like the US Embassy. They are touching lives. We want to tell them not to get tired of it and even improve on their support. Someday the kids would come back and want to associate with them,” he said.
When fielding questions, Mary Akoh, 11 years JSS 2 student said that she was at the camp to learn basketball.
“I have been coming here for some months. It’s a game that creates fun,” she added.
Also speaking, Jennifer Ephraim who is 16 years, SS 2 student, said that she hopes to use what she has learnt in taking care of her family when she becomes a professional player.
“I have been coming to the camp since April this year. I am giving it all I have because maybe through basketball I can feed my family. Whenever I hold the ball, it gives me joy. I want to be a professional player in future. I thank One Win, if not for them, I wouldn’t be here. I also want to thank the American Ambassador in Abuja, ” she added.
In her words, Queen Barnabas, 16 years old who finished secondary school last year said that One Win Camp has changed her life.
“I learnt a lot from One Win last year. I am thanking our coach Carter and the US Embassy. I want to be a great basketball player in future. I started playing basketball with One Win but I am improving. Though they are strict, but it is meant at spurring us to putting in our best,” she concluded.
After the courts session, they entered the classroom where they were given lectures by two experts.
‘Women in entrepreneurship lecture’ was articulately delivered by Mr. Joel Jonah, while Miss Peace Osinachi Madu taught them on ‘Stages of Hormonal Changes in girl-child’.
The camp was conducted in three categories namely, mini, cadet and junior.
The next One Win Camp will be held in December, where organisers said that they are expecting larger number of both male and female participants from all over Nigerian.
The ongoing all females camp which began in July, is expected to end on September 15.