Support Student Athlete Oumar from Niger Visit the U.S.
Team Member: Matt Kirwin
Sanjay Upadhyay wrote -
Oumarou Boubacar Abdou is an 18 year-old student athlete based in Niamey, Niger (see #22 in maroon in photo). He is looking to attend Southampton High School (SHS) on Long Island, NY as a visiting student for the academic year of 2015-16. He is a 6’8” basketball player with raw but very athletic skills. Oumar is a disciplined and hard-working student with strong morals.
Matt Kirwin, a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Niger 1996-1999) met Oumar in the summer of 2014 while working for the US Department of State’s Niamey embassy. For several years, Matt had been bringing used SHS athletic uniforms to Niger to help support local basketball and soccer clubs. Niger is the world’s poorest country according to the United Nations and has practically no scholastic sports program. When Matt was in Niger last year, the local coach invited Matt to practice with the team. Over the next month, Matt noticed that Oumar, in particular, expressed a strong work ethic, good basketball skills and high character. He is in school at the Catholic Mission High School in Niamey. He earns good grades and currently, even though his English skills are limited, he speaks three languages fluently: French, Hausa and Zarma; this demonstrate a natural aptitude for languages. A year at SHS would give Oumar exposure to another culture, improve his English language skills and increase his prospects for a brighter future. SHS and the broader Southampton community would also profit from this cultural exchange by learning more about West Africa and its vibrant culture.
Ideally, Oumar would arrive in the United States in August before the start of the academic year. Matt has been working to enroll him in English classes in Niger to give him a head start for his schooling here. There is a large nework of support through Matt, his family and friends in Southampton, as well as many other returned Peace Corps Volunteers from Niger who live all over the U.S. Matt is currently searching for a host family based in Southampton, NY. The funds raised for this cause will be used to help Oumar and his host family, as he needs full support – from basic school supplies and travel expenses to clothing (winter is cold!), food, medical insurance, and leisurely activities. If, for unforeseen reasons, Oumar is unable to visit the U.S., these funds will be used to support educational efforts in Niger.