Fortem Inspire, a programme organised to empower the girl child held its second edition on Friday at the Molade Okoya Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium Lagos. The project is aimed at encouraging young girls through sports.
Over 100 girls from six schools in Lagos State aged between 8-17 attended the programme put together by SuperSports presenter, Chisom Mbonu-Ezeoke. The girls were grouped to participate in three sports: football, basketball and table tennis and also had career talk in sports broadcasting and sports administration.
The event had in attendance mentors across different fields: Former Super Falcons goalkeeper, Precious Dede; Former Super Eagles midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju; Former D’Tigress star Chioma Udeaja; ex-Nigerian table tennis player Oluwaseun Nariwoh, veteran journalist Bode Oguntuyi, Sand Eagles star Abu Azeez, Chairman Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr Kweku Tandoh among others.
Mbonu-Ezeoke spoke about her inspiration behind the project.
“To be able to give young girls the opportunity they deserve that I didn’t have. I feel if I had when growing up may be my life would have been much better than it is today and just to encourage them that people can do something they don’t think they will. If they practice with determination, they can achieve anything they want in life.”
The challenges have been handled better this year than it was in the inaugural edition.
“This year we have handled it a lot better we got feed back from the kids who said they wanted to spend more time playing the sport. We have only 5 hours in this place so we had to find a way that every single kid participate in sports enough to be excited and want to come back. This year we have also brought in the questionnaires able to do a follow through and find out what the girls liked and didn’t like how we can make it better.
“Also this year, we didn’t have any support my classmate from Federal Government College, Enugu class of 97 made some contribution, we had a few friends make contributions here and there. This is solely 99% Fortemlens production and Fortemlens paid for. It makes it even more special to us because a sponsor just pulled out on Tuesday but we had a commitment been able to follow through on that commitment that’s what I want to teach these girls.”
Mbonu-Ezeoke said there will be a follow-up on the girls who attended previous editions.
“My challenge is to make sure the girls take the sports and education very seriously. Every month, we will pick one of the 6 schools that came here , go over to the school, teach them and do a follow up, have our mentors follow us to those schools and make sure they continue on what we are trying to teach them and not lose it,” she said.
She said the programme won’t be halted until she finds a beneficiary of the project.
“I hope I can sustain this for a very long time, last year was the first we are doing one now and the other will be in December. We will keep pushing to get corporate Nigeria to support us. Even if they don’t we will keep doing it. I’ll never think of stopping only time it will come across me may be in another 15 years when I see a girl who tells me I was here in 2017/2018 and because of you I am doing this today and until I get that I can’t be satisfied.”
Former Falcons goalkeeper, Precious Dede said the project will inspire young girls to become better sport women.
“We were able to teach them skills and talk to them so I believe that will go a long way to make them better in their chosen field. Some of the girls told me they would love to be footballers and I advised them on what to do. Hopefully they continue with this passion I am sure they will do well.”