Hamchetou Maiga-Ba - Chair / Founder:
Hamchetou Maiga-Ba is the President and Founder of the Hamchetou Maiga-Ba Foundation. As a former Olympian, Champion and Captain to many sports teams, she is known for being a great leader, student and teammate. Hamchetou who has been privileged to study and play professionally in the US and internationally, finds education to be of the utmost importance.
As a Student Athlete, she completed an undergraduate degree in Information Technology. While playing professionally abroad and competing at the highest level, Hamchetou finished her MBA in Global Management.
Now a wife and mom of two children she utilizes her experience to better the lives of the youth in her country of birth. “With a population of over 18 millions, of which 47.3% are under 15 years old, the literacy rate in Mali is drastically low. Our foundation utilizes sports as a catalyst to improve that rate.” Established in 2018 the foundation was created based on the need to introduce sports and educational opportunities to young girls and boys for them to excel in life through basketball and their studies in Mali.
Through the Hamchetou Maiga-Ba Foundation and in her position as the founding chair of Special Olympics in Mali, she hopes to cultivate inclusion of those with intellectual disabilities into the world of sports. Her message is one of unity and inclusion for all.
Myriah Annankra - VP of Programs - USA
Myriah Annankra is a graduate of Old Dominion University.
In her basketball career she played in the Elite Eight in college before playing professionally in Iceland and Sweden. She has been a coach since 2007 at Michael Jordan Flight School, instructing young players under the eye of the master himself.
She currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but grew up in a variety of places, including Guatemala, Idaho and Espanola, a small town in northern New Mexico.
Myriah is happily married and her proudest accomplishment has been becoming the mother of two boys, Landon and Andrew and a daughter Jordan.
Felecia Allen - VP Human Resources
Felecia Allen is a school counselor for Fairfax County Public Schools.
As a former graduate of Old Dominion University, she served as team manager for the women’s basketball league at the university. Her years at Old Dominion University led to a decade-long friendship and sisterhood with Hamchetou, Lu, and Myriah.
She believes that the Hamchetou Maiga-Ba Foundation will help the children of Mali achieve their educational, personal, and athletic goals while preparing them to become global citizens of the world.
Felecia is a strong advocate for education and basketball. She believes that both offer an opportunity for success and when combined the potential can be limitless.
Aissata B Maiga - VP International Affairs & Programs
Aissata Boubacar Maiga, daughter of Boubacar Sekou Maiga and Aminata Fofana, both former athletes of soccer and basketball, she grew up in a family that gives so much importance to sports and education. That foundation nurtured her throughout her academic and sports career.
At the age of 13 she was a student at the Lycee Sportif Ben Omar Sy for 5 years in Mali. She made her way to the Mali women’s basketball senior National Team at the age of 17. Her academic school includes an Associate in Liberal Arts from Gulf Coast State College and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services minor in Leadership Development from Troy University.
Aissat believes in empowering the youth. She is dedicated to being part of humanitarian aids. It is her mission to use her skills to service those in need.
Lucienne (Berthieu) Poiraud- VP of Marketing
Lucienne has a laundry list of titles under her belt, Champion of France with Valenciennes (2005), Spanish Champion with Valencia (2004), Winner of the Ronchetti Cup with Aix-en-Provence and MVP of the French Championship (2003).
Most notably Lucienne in a rare opportunity played for two US teams in WNBA, the Cleveland Rockers and the Houston Comets (2002 to 2004). During her sports career she was selected on the French National Team multiple times and she has played at the highest level both in Europe and U.S.!
At 27 years old, after her title winning French Championship, Lulu as she is affectionately called, decided to stop playing competitively. Today she is married and lives with her husband and their three children in the city of Limoges.
She is proud to be a member of HMB Foundation serving those with intellectual disabilities via Special Olympics as well as the underprivileged and highly deserving young people of Mali.
Karlene Maharaj - Chief Operations Officer and Board Liaison
Karlene has worked in the development arena for almost 10 years. Her passion for fundraising began when she worked for an organization that served veterans and their families, a mission very close to her own story. Throughout her career, she has worked vigorously to connect donors to the stories of “why one gives” and to the messaging of an organization’s mission.
As both a wife and mother, Karlene pursued her academic goals online, attending the School of Professional Studies, CUNY in New York for her B.A. in Business Administration. Her personal and professional affiliations include sitting on the board of her children’s private school PTA since 2008, first as the PTA president and then as the Parent Teacher Liaison. She met Hamchetou at a PTA event and having similar passions to serve the underprivileged she joined the organization in 2019.
Karlene has also been a participating member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP).