Kalabash Academy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that builds communities and encourages growth through education, sports, and wellness in West Africa. Founder, Foday Kabba, grew up in Sierra Leone, Africa, before fleeing to the U.S. during the Sierra Leone Civil War. After setting in Portland, Oregon, Foday’s love of football (soccer) and his skill on the field carried him into the Portland community, ultimately landing him a scholarship for a college education. Foday recognizes the power of sport to unite people from all over the world and the opportunities football created in his own life; in 2018, Foday founded Kalabash Academy to give the opportunity of education and sport to other youth from Western Africa.
Kalabash Academy currently operates in the Gambia with football/soccer programs for 60 student-athletes for the 2020/2021, as well as providing a full education in accordance with the U.S. Common Core State Standards curriculum principles. These kids do not have access to quality education nor sport opportunities. Therefore, the dream of even attending university feels out of reach without the role of Kalabash Academy. Our teachers and coaches raise our student-athletes to the levels of education and soccer skill they need to get scholarships to universities in Africa, Europe and the United States. This opens a pathway to a better future--a future these youth bring back to their home communities, creating a positive cycle. Currently, the cost to run a full school and football (soccer) program is about $117,000 a year.
During the 2020-21 academic year, Kalabash Academy rents field space from the FIFA Goal Project in the Gambia, limiting the time student-athletes have for organized team training, and for additional skill practice. In 2021, Kalabash Academy hopes to install our own Musco Lighting double mini-pitch, complete with LED energy efficient lighting, built-in goals, seating accommodations and more. This space will give Kalabash Academy a field of their own, to use at any hour of the day, as well as the ability to rent out field space to local teams and clubs as a sustainable revenue generator. This project will cost $179,000 for the mini-pitch, installation and the surfacing costs. To see what a mini-pitch looks like, check out this video.