Tina Charles’ Slam Dunk: Building a School in Mali

Basketball player Tina Charles is many things: a member of the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team, center for Connecticut Sun, 2010 WNBA Rookie of the Year. Now, thanks to her $32,0000 donation to construct a school in Mali with buildOn, she can add Sports Ambassador for OmniPeace, a humanitarian fashion brand that partners with us.

“At some point, I always wanted to give back,” Charles said in a press release. She became interested in partnering with OmniPeace while she was a sophomore at UConn. “Once I was financially stable when I got to the pros, I decided I wanted to link up with OmniPeace and Mary Fanaro, who is the founder of OmniPeace.To build a school in Africa costs thirty-two thousand dollars. I have it, and I was able to supply it to the kids in Africa, and just try to do my part to help end poverty and help them have a brighter future.”

Just yesterday, Charles shared this Instagram photo of students in Mali on her Twitter account with the caption, “the most amazing feeling I feel _ words can’t describe the feeling for real; my greatest creation was you.”

Charles’ school will accommodate up to 150 children in Ganale, a village in the Sikasso region of Mali. The land-locked country in Western Africa recently faced a military coup that attracted international attention, but buildOn’s staff reported there wasn’t violence or unrest in the Sikasso region, and the team only stopped construction on Charles’ school for two days. So far, buildOn has constructed 178 schools in Mali.

“We are honored to have Tina as a partner and are very inspired by her generosity and commitment to education,” said Jim Ziolkowski, Founder and CEO of buildOn. “Before Tina funded the school in the village of Ganale, students were learning in two temporary mud huts, with very little light and no ventilation. The new school is built to last 100 years which means it will provide education for generations of children, parents and grandparents.”

Watch Charles talk about her commitment to education on Connecticut Sun Media Day (at the 30 second mark) here.