U.S. Embassy goes Double Dutch with Guinea and TOMS

U.S. Embassy Conakry proudly reaffirms its support for the International Medalist Association’s (IMA) Third Annual “National Double Dutch Camp” and welcomes new partner, TOMS and its donation of more than 18,000 pairs of new shoes for Guinean children.

American Olympic 1968 Gold Medalist Ron Freeman founded the International Medalist Association’s (IMA) Double Dutch after-school program with 24 girls in 2011, as part of its Girl Power leadership initiative. The program this year boasts 18,000 registered participants in 200 schools around Guinea. The Girl Power initiative teaches dedication, discipline, personal responsibility, leadership skills, and more to girls from 6 -17 years old.

This year, IMA hosted three Double Dutch camps; a TOMS Invitational on February 28 in Anville (also sponsored by the Blue Zone), the Guinea Alumina Invitational on March 7 in Matoto, and the United States Invitational on March 14 in Sangaredi. This year 1,500 participants received a new pair of shoes through the TOMS Giving model.

This year, IMA hosted three Double Dutch camps; a TOMS Invitational on February 28 in Anville (also sponsored by the Blue Zone), the Guinea Alumina Invitational on March 7 in Matoto, and the United States Invitational on March 14 in Sangaredi. This year 1,500 participants received a new pair of shoes through the TOMS Giving model.

The IMA-TOMS collaboration, with the further assistance of Mudabala Development Company, will continue after Double Dutch Camp concludes as IMA provides shoes to children in various locations throughout Guinea during the next six months. IMA plans to provide shoes at various academies, ten orphanages, a school for handicapped children in Conakry, and at least one all-girls school. This effort is part of a pilot program where children who earn good grades may have the opportunity to earn additional pairs of shoes each year.

TOMS, a U.S. business founded in 2006 by entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie, has a philanthropic business model: For every pair of shoes a customer purchases, TOMS gives new shoes to a child in need. One for One®. To date, TOMS has given more than 35 million pairs of shoes.

Barnes Findley Foundation sponsors scholarships

For the second year, THE BARNES FINDLEY FOUNDATION (BFF) of Washington D.C has partnered with the International Medalist Association – Guinea (IMA) by sponsoring scholarships for girls attending primary and secondary schools in Guinea. One of the Foundation’s primary objectives is to provide educational opportunities to African girls. A girl’s education is a necessary precondition for her development and goes hand in hand with developing the skills necessary to translate education into positive life opportunities.

“We are happy to give girls the opportunity to obtain an education”, says Ambassador Shirley Barnes, president and founder of the BARNES FINDLEY FOUNDATION (BFF). Ambassador Barnes is a former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Madagascar and founded the organization in 2004. The BFF scholarships aims to empower young girls with the necessary funding to help complete their education.

Over the past two years, the BARNES FINDLEY FOUNDATION has sponsored fourteen scholarships for girls in Primary and Secondary schools in Guinea. These scholarships are a critical component to the programs initiated by IMA whose objective is to nurture girls' health, fitness, self-esteem, and leadership skills through sports activities sponsored by IMA in primary and secondary schools.

Written by: HOLLY Graft

Secondary School students in Sangaredi Village, Guinea saying the Double Dutch " Girl Power" Motto in English.

Mariam Freeman, took a team from the International Medalist Association, to begin setting up the Double Dutch and Mixed Sports Football program in Sangaredi Village, Guinea and talked to a classroom of Girls who will be receiving a pair of Tom Shoe's and participating the the National Double Dutch Program. More than one thousand girls and boys are registered for the program. The Guinea Alumina Corporation, one of the program sponsors is located in Sangaredi.

While all of the students speak French, they said the "Girl Power" Motto in English.

Kamsar Directors of schools

Kamsar Directors of schools

Double Dutch is being introduced to the village of Kamsar and the Directors of Schools have met with the planning team of the International Medalist Association. One Thousand pairs of sports shoe's from the Tom Shoe's Company of the United States will be given to girls in the After School Double Dutch Program.

11 year old Abigail Cohen
Performing for more than 1000 students

Abigail Cohen, an 11 year old girl from Maryland / USA , visited Guinea and brought schools supplies. She also performed as a singer in a concert for 200 students at the United States Embassy, another 1000 students at the St. Mary’s School, and finally more than 100 students on the Island of Rome (village).

Leadership and education talk to girls
By Beatrice Rice M.A.

Beatrice Rice, the President of Rice Youth Development Corporation/USA, has donated time and resources for the development of select programs in Guinea. In particular, she has been involved in teaching the initial group of double dutch coaches and guiding tournaments and camps for double dutch competitions. In addition, she has become a mentor to young girls and also worked to provide many educational scholarships through the programs at IMA. She has done a great deal to help IMA bring leadership and education opportunities to young girls associated with IMA programs.

Lecturing to girls and boys in Guinea has made her known throughout many areas of the country. She is a true Humanitarian who desires to dedicate her life to youth- through teaching and love.

Mama Camara lost her arm
and still jumps Double Dutch

Mama is a 10 year old girl who started jumping rope four year’s ago at the age of six. She won medals in both single rope and double dutch competitions three years in a row. A year ago, she tragically lost her arm in an accident and was sadden because she thought that she could never jump rope again. After attending training sessions with her friends a few times, her friends reached out to her and involved her with jumping rope again, only this time it was just in double dutch. Double dutch is a type of jump rope she can do as part of a team.

"I love to jump, it makes me feel good and it is something that I can do good" - translated words of Mama.

"Mama, is happy most when she is jumping and she is as competitive as ever when jumping double dutch" Coach- Abdoulaye Camara