South Sudan is the youngest nation on the planet, and is widely known for its war-torn past and lack of development.
However, it's also one of the youngest nations in the world, with roughly half of the population being under 18 years old. The nation, its residents, and refugees across the planet are now emerging from dark times into a new, hopeful frontier.
And after the South Sudan National Basketball Team not only showed out in the FIBA World Cup, but qualified for the 2024 Olympics, the nation had something to rally around and proof that basketball can change the landscape of the country and its people.
Due to the war, many South Sudanese families fled the country to places like Australia, America, and Western Europe, where South Sudanese hoopers are beginning to sprout into some of the most promising young athletes on the planet, including a host of NBA and high-level international players.
So, it's easy to see why basketball is rapidly growing in South Sudan, and becoming a much more widely played sport, even with a significant lack of physical and organizational resources.
The next step, even if on a small scale at first, is to help all we can to level the resource playing field. To supplement the work and passion being put forth by our partners on the ground with anything we can. You never know where one pair of shoes, one conversation, or one basketball can take a young athlete.
Africa in general, and beautiful countries like South Sudan, are not only the future of basketball, but of the world, and this is the least we can do.
It's super simple, and we're very flexible! Here are a few of your options:
Solid Skills Sports Academy began as a small Academy in 2017, and has now grown to work with almost 500 athletes all around East Africa. Since starting, they've provided a springboard for hundreds of young athletes to develop and even earn scholarships internationally. As Akec mentions in the video below, it's not just about the on-court skills, but developing robust psychological tools to carry them far past the sport. The staff at Solid Skills will receive and distribute the resources at a camp during holiday time in December! Check out their Instagram here.
Manyiel is a South Sudanese professional hooper located in Melbourne, Australia. Manny is highly passionate about growing South Sudanese hoops, both in the country itself and in highly-concentrated South Sudanese communities in Australia. He recently began working under the Athlete Empowerment Initiative to plan, organize, and execute on projects aimed at building hoops in all of Africa.