Kike Rafiu is having a worldwide impact through her platform on the stage of sports. Rafiu is the director of operations at Binghamton University for the women's basketball team.
Rafiu grew up in North Nigeria and fell in love with basketball at an early age.
"I called it the pretty ball, I didn't know what it was,” said Rafiu. "Even with her strong desire to play basketball, there was societal and cultural pressures that pushed back. Having zero support from parents, you know, somebody you expect to encourage you the most are the ones who are discouraging you."
But she didn't give up. Rafiu moved to America to attend prep school and was recruited by major Division I schools in the United States.
In college, Rafiu found that she didn't need all of the shoes and apparel that she was receiving for being an athlete. While reflecting on her childhood and knowing how challenging it was to obtain shoes and other resources, Rafiu started a non-profit organization called "Girls Rise Up."
"There are some girls out there going through the same thing I went through, not being able to afford buying shoes, or wear the correct jerseys, and socks, all of that stuff."
This past year, Kike's organization saw its greatest turnout. More than 150 girls arrived to hear her speak, receive skill training and free basketball resources like shoes and apparel.
"They really want to play. It's not the rhetoric you hear in the society where they say girls don't want to play sports. No, that's not true. This is the opposite, they just need encouragement, and they just need help. Whether that's resources or encouraging them that hey, you can actually do this."
Rafiu said she hopes the organization will spread all across Nigeria, letting girls know they can chase their dreams no matter what they decide to do.