31/05/2024
Foundation
to read

Staying true to her roots, Guinean-American Batouly Camara is empowering girls education through WAKE

CONAKRY (Guinea) – Building a bridge through basketball between USA and Guinea, former Afro-American hooper Batouly Camara is fighting for gender parity.

Camara’s organization WAKE, which stands for “Women and Kids Empowerment," aims to leverage Basketball For Good, by providing educational opportunities to deserving young girls in Conakry and New York City.

Camara’s own journey, as a child of immigrant Guinean parents in NYC, makes her uniquely suited to champion this project.

Star out of High School

Coming out of high school, ESPN had ranked Camara as the 9th best prospect in the country. As a highly touted NCAA D1 prospect, having played under legendary Hall of Fame Coach Geno Auriemma, Camara went on to compete professionally in Spain. Twice invited to the USA U18 Basketball Camps, Camara represented Guinea internationally.

“Basketball opened many doors for me, from Blair Academy to the University of Connecticut, and shaped my personal and professional life,” Camara tells FIBA Foundation.

In 2017, a visit to Guinea sensitized Camara to the lack of resources for girls, inspiring her to launch WAKE.

Girls’ Education

“Since 2017, WAKE has worked with over 1,000 kids, coaches, and women across 4 continents and 8 countries, conducting 15 camps,” Camara shares.

The organization has built two basketball courts, conducted five tournaments in Guinea and NYC, successfully implemented a girls’ after-school basketball program, and donated 500+ balls, books and sneakers.

It was at one of these tournaments - WAKE’s first ever annual ‘Women’s Basketball Tournament’ in Conakry from April 19 to 21, 2024 - that FIBA Foundation’s support came to the fore.

FIBA Foundation’s Support

As a successful applicant under FIBA Foundation’s Propose A Project program, 100 Molten balls were delivered free of cost to the 96 participating girls.

Outlining the impact of FIBA Foundation’s equipment assistance, Camara notes:

“The basketballs provided by the FIBA Foundation are utilized in several impactful ways…This support promotes physical activity, teamwork, leadership, and personal growth, significantly enhancing our ability to provide sustainable development opportunities for young girls.”

To other organizations also wishing to apply to FIBA Foundation’s Propose A Project program, Camara has these words of advice: “Outline your project clearly and articulate your goals, expected impact, and execution plan. Ensure feasibility and a solid implementation plan to align with your vision."

Overcoming Challenges

Its successful strides notwithstanding, challenges remain for WAKE, in terms of ensuring equal access to quality facilities and overcoming cultural barriers restricting women’s participation in sports.

“We are in the first phase of raising $300,000…While not fully there yet, we are making steady progress and remain committed to our long-term vision of scaling educational programs and housing 50-100 girls in dormitory-style residence halls,” Camara concludes with optimism.

***

The FIBA Foundation is the social and legacy arm of FIBA that addresses the role of sports and particularly basketball in society, preserving and promoting basketball’s values and its cultural heritage.

The FIBA Foundation believes that basketball has the power to empower, educate and inspire youth and facilitates this by implementing Basketball For Good projects around the world.

FIBA