Group pic of the basketball players Photo credit Jimmy Sebulime

150 pair of basketball shoes raised for vulnerable children in Uganda

By Tom Malaba, Editorial Associate

Twenty-six-year-old Deo Kakande is a talented basketball player who featured for the Ottawa Cranes last Saturday to raise basketball shoes for the Agnes Zabali Boys’ and Girls’ Club in Kamengo, Uganda. Kakande who now lives in Ottawa, is one of the beneficiaries of basketball shoes since 2013 under a scheme that benefits under-privileged children in Kamengo in Uganda.

“I am two years old in Canada, I play basketball to raise shoes for my colleagues who are back home,” says Kakande. Kakande’s discipline and hard-work earned him a pair of basketball shoes since 2013.

Deo Kakande, a star player with the Ottawa Cranes

Last Saturday,  Kakande took part in a charity basketball game that pitted the Ottawa Cranes Basketball Club against the Ottawa Express Basketball Club in a basketball shoe-fundraising campaign for the Agnes Zabali Boys and Girls Club. Ottawa Express is a basketball club for OC Transpo bus drivers. From Kamengo to Ottawa, Kakande has his eyes set on furthering his education one day.

Another team group photo
Photo credit: Jimmy Sebulime

This is the seventeenth year, when the Agnes Zabali Boys and Girls Club has been involved in charity basketball matches to raise shoes for children back in Kamengo.

“Every player who participated in the charity game has to donate at least one pair of basketball shoes before they are allowed play,” says Jimmy Sebulime, the club’s founder, who named it in honour of his late mother who passed away several years ago in a tragic automobile accident.

Agnes Club founder Jimmy Sebulime, left with supporter Keith Laughton
Photo credit: Tom Malaba

Last Saturday, over 150 pairs of basketball shoes were collected. “We give these shoes to club members who exhibit a high degree of compassion, honesty and team work,” said Mr. Sebulime. Basketball has brought members of the club opportunities for the youth and has enhanced discipline, effective time management, reduced violence among members of the club.

Some of the gently-used shoes collected at the fund-raiser Photo credit: Jimmy Sebulime

After receiving the shoes, the students can play basketball. Some of players get a chance to be identified by schools that offer them scholarships to play for them.

At least 53 members of the Agnes Zabali Club have graduated as teachers, nurses, doctors and are working in different fields. Twelve members of the club are on academic and sports scholarships and the game has helped restore hope to the members who were in despair.

The Agnes Zabali Boys and Girls Club partnered with the Capital Courts Training Centre to pull off this charity tournament.

“Whenever I meet someone doing things for other people I am inspired and Jimmy Sebulime is one of them. Whatever he wants to be involved in, I am in because he does not do it for himself by for others,” remarked Merrick Palmer, leader of the Capital Courts Training Centre in Ottawa.

Tom Malaba

Tom Malaba is a veteran journalist with over 25 years of media experience in his native Uganda. He recently relocated to Canada and now calls Ottawa home