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Boris Diaw (FRA)
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Boris Diaw and SEED Project to launch Girls Academy in Senegal

DAKAR - Boris Diaw’s Foundation Babac’ards has teamed up with Dakar-based SEED Project to launch Senegal’s only girl’s high-school elite academy and basketball project.

Diaw, whose mother Elisabeth Riffiod remains in the books as one of top performers in France’s basketball history, embraced the three-year partnership after learning that the literacy rate for women in Senegal is 39%, and only 19% of women are enrolled in secondary school.

Now, things are to change. 

SEED Academy Girls, which aims to have all students graduated from high school and enrol in college, will enrol up to 20 girls per year based on their academic, basketball and leadership potential.

The San Antonio Spurs forward, whose Senegalese father was a high jump champion, explained  the objective of SEED Academy Girls. 

"This partnership allows me to combine my passion for Senegal and basketball to directly impact youth," he said. 

"I am excited to utilise the power of sport to help change lives, especially for girls who traditionally lack educational and athletic opportunities."

Romola Ratnam, Co-Executive Director of the SEED Project, added: "We are thrilled that an NBA player with such strong ties to Senegal and women’s basketball is giving back to help build the next generation of leaders.” 

"Exposure to inspirational individuals like Boris teaches our students the importance of using success to have a positive social impact - a key tenet of our program."

Babac’ards, a non-profit organisation that sets up development projects for youth, mainly in Senegal, was created by the French international back in 2005, and is now directed by Riffiod.

SEED Project was founded in 2002 by Amadou Fall, an executive who runs NBA’s operations in Africa, and it is a non-profit organisation that uses basketball to educate and develop the next generation of Senegalese leaders. 

Five SEED Academy Alumni have played in the NBA and NBA Development League, including Senegal and Minnesota Timberwolves centre, Gorgui Dieng.

In a statement issued last week, Diaw emphasised that for the next three weeks, he will match any donation up to $15,000 to SEED Project's female education programs. 

"I hope you'll consider making a contribution, even $5 makes a difference. And as a team, I hope we can dedicate $30,000 towards girls’ educational initiatives in Senegal!"

Donations can be made via the website .