top of page



Hamchetou Maiga-Ba

 Chair / Founder

In Africa, in general and Mali in particular, many kids don't have access to school.  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 goal is to use Sports as a catalyst to improve that rate. As talented as some athletes are, many stop going to school because in Mali there is not much correlation between education and sports. 


Sport is certainly a gigantic vehicle that changes life, builds communities, makes dreams come true, gives hope, inspires others and ultimately giving back. Having the opportunity to get an education will make our young generation better rounded.


One of our goals is to better the lives of our boys and girls by arming them with life skills that will stay and guide them as they take on their life journeys, and building leaders of our society.


Since college at Old Dominion University, we used to do camps with Special Olympics Athletes. I became active again with SO in 2013, and the Founding Chair of Special Olympics Mali in 2014. In Mali, we have many people with intellectual disabilities who are unfortunately not given much consideration. Being in the US and seeing how through Sport the lives of many with intellectual disabilities have changed, I thought that why not be part of that change in Mali as well.


I can’t even begin to thank Eunice Kennedy Shriver for starting Special Olympics, giving a voice, and most importantly paving the way to acceptance as those with intellectual disabilities are none but our brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, fathers, mothers… They are us and deserve to be treated as such with respect and love. I challenge you to get to know them and you will be greatly surprised as they will teach you a thing or two about life.


Through the Foundation we would like to have an impact on boys and girls using basketball to help them focus on their education as well as improve inclusion of those with intellectual disabilities. So if you would like to make an impact in their lives as well, please join us! Thank you



I started playing basketball at the age of 9 years old. My mom played basketball and my dad soccer. I was fortunate to have them as they have always put a great deal of focus on not only sports but most importantly education. I played for 10 years in Mali and 8 months in Senegal. From there I was offered a scholarship to attend Old Dominion University.  After my 4 years, I then was drafted by the Sacramento Monarchs in the WNBA. I played professionally for 16 seasons while combining seasons both in the US and Europe during 9 years.

I wanted to make a difference and give back. My experience as a student athlete was successful because my parents instilled in me a strong work ethic at a young age, which allowed me to excel in sport and in school. Many kids do not have that luxury.

“Our Mission is to provide Educational Opportunities to young girls and boys for them to excel in life through Basketball and their studies while promoting inclusion"

bottom of page