Ramsay, Dibgolongo, girls basketball program give back to African communities


Girls united-- Girls from a village in Africa wear basketball jerseys donated by local Connecticut high schools. Farmington and Glastonbury are two of the many schools that donated old jerseys and basketball shoes for the girls in Africa.

Hanny Wolkoff, Sports Editor

  Africa Outreach USA is a program that helps kids in Africa use basketball to deal with crisis in their lives. Founded by Jack Ramsay in 2012, the foundation is now run by his son Chris Ramsay and his family.

  Ramsay is an active participant in the basketball program here at the high school as well as other programs in Farmington, including the travel basketball and recreational leagues. He also has set up preseason clinics and helps coach the high school girls basketball summer league team. Farmington basketball, along with programs from other towns, has not hesitated in aiding the children of Africa.

  “People in Farmington have been very generous. FHS Girls Basketball, Farmington Girls Travel, Farmington Recreation Department have donated equipment and money to the project. [Edwin O.] Smith Girls Basketball has donated uniforms, so have South Windsor Travel, Glastonbury Travel, Connecticut ATTACK AAU program. The community can continue to support the project through donations at the FHS girls games this winter,” Ramsay said.

  The community has donated dozens of pairs of new and gently used basketball shoes, and the town has also given used basketball uniforms.

  One current project that is underway is tied directly to a member of the high school community, Jean Dibgolongo.

  Dibgolongo is from a small village in Burkina Faso. His daughter, sophomore Daphne Dibgolongo, plays basketball for the high school team. He also has two other children in the Farmington school district.

  Working with Ramsay, the pair have been able to extend the project to his home country. Preparations are already underway, including the process of building the actual basketball court.

  “We shared the idea with a few rural schools in Burkina Faso, and the parents and teachers of each village were excited and committed to participate in the implementation of Dr. Jack Ramsay Pave-aDirt court initiative. They already devoted their time to help assemble the ground resources and to execute some workforce on ground such as making the bricks,” Dibgolongo said.

  Farmington basketball players have noticed the work done by Ramsay and Dibgolongo, including sophomore Carolyn Ives who believes that the work Ramsay and Dibgolongo are doing is admirable, and hopes that her donations and contributions to the cause will help to make a difference.

  With strong ties to the community, the town has come together to support the Africa Outreach project to Burkina Faso that means so much to the Dibgolongo family.

  “This is a great opportunity to introduce the basketball as a sport to empower the communities. Most children in Burkina do not have the prospect to play basketball because of the lack of infrastructures. Building a dirt basketball court for a village will be a dream come true for certain kids and a chance to develop a new passion for others,” Dibgolongo said.

  Feel free to contact Chris Ramsay at [email protected] gmail.com or Jean Dibgolongo at [email protected] with any further questions. Donations can be dropped off at any home girls basketball game.