Miles and Associates International (MAI) started out with the goal of helping one South African use his God given athletic ability to get a free education. To this day MAI has provided in excess of 13 million rand (2 million US dollars) in basketball/academic scholarships through our Scholar Athlete Program. The program has helped 14 South Africans and dozens of other African students obtain a free high school and university education from some of the top US academic institutions.MAI was founded out of an appreciation for the type opportunities that sport can create for young people.

The Scholar Athlete Program emerged because there are always so many talented young people who possess the drive and will to succeed but simply do not have access to opportunities. MAI has up to 50,000 young people competing in their basketball leagues at a time so there are always several students that have the ability to excel at the highest level athletically and academically. University basketball scholarship programs are not institutionalized in this part of the world and MAI has never been able to sit by and watch a young person miss opportunities simply because of a lack of access to information and contacts.

We recognized long ago that this was a great way to contribute to educating some of Africa’s future leaders.The students in our programs typically do not have the means to obtain quality higher education yet there is such a hunger and appreciation for education throughout the communities where our programs are present. When students understand that they can create a path to a free quality education by participating in structured sport and life skills programs, it pulls them off the streets and opens their minds and hearts up to being taught.The reality is that less than one percent of the youth in our programs will get a chance to go overseas and play basketball but the aspiration it creates helps us retain young people in our programs.Thus far, 7 of the South African students that have been sent overseas have returned and are all making significant contributions to building their nation. The other 7 South Africans are still enrolled at various high schools and universities across the United States.

Being the first Black South African to go to America on a basketball scholarship was intimidating because I knew that my success or failure would affect whether other South Africans got the same type of opportunities in the future.

– Thabo Letsebe

“Scholar Athletes Featured in June Issue of O’Mag”

Read it here