Retired Nigeria World Cup Assistant Referee, Mimisen Calvin-Onwuka via her Goal Bound Sports Initiative celebrated the graduation of their first cohort of the Girls That Ref Entrepreneurship Skills Acquisition Programme in Makurdi, 22nd March 2023.
Mrs Calvin-Onwuka is the Founder and Executive Director of Goal Bound Sports Initiative which she uses for her passion of supporting young ladies who have shown interest in sports. The Girls That Ref programme is there primarily to support and mentor young ladies by providing them funding, technical and material support as they continue their refereeing careers.
The event in Makurdi was to celebrate the first set of graduates. They were awarded certificates and then to their surprise were empowered with equipment to carry out the skills they had learnt over the last 12 months.
Tse Hembafan Stephanie, Oje Uduma and Sange Mamnyer Tersoo went into dress making/fashion designing skills acquisition and were then gifted industrial sewing machines at the graduation. Ayem Joy Mngusonun went into graphic design learning and was gifted a laptop pc while Gesanyam Doowuese Catherine got an oven – complete with deep fryer, baking and pastry pans to go with her baking knowledge. Adeyongo Anastasia got a POS Machine and 80000 cash to start her business.
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“I know how difficult it is to combine refereeing with family life especially because money is not regular, a major factor in young girls and ladies falling out of love and away from the career”, Mrs Calvin-Onwuka says. “This is why I was particular in getting the interested ladies into the skills acquisition programme so that they will have something else that can bring them income.”
The graduates were shocked but ecstatic at the gifts they got on the day. Mrs Ayem says of her laptop PC “I am more than happy to get this laptop. Apart from helping me learn more about my graphic design, I can try my hands on some software for AVAR even.”
“There would have been no point in getting them trained without giving them tools to go work with”, the Founder of Goal Bound Sports Initiative Calvin-Onwuka said.
An Alumnus of the famous US State Department’s, Global Sports Mentoring Programme (GSMP) and espnW, Mrs Calvin-Onwuka is grateful for their support and that of other partners of Goal Bound Sports Initiative, Coaches Across Continent (CAC)
The Benue office director of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Mr Abba Father was present at the graduation. He made the graduates (and others in the audience) aware of funds available for SMEs in the state. Dr Peter Anule, Mr Gbilekaan (Benue State Referees Council Chairman), Grace Iyorhe (former Benue State FA Chairperson) and Mr Emmamuel Tyohuna of Radio Benue were all present.