Philanthropic Endeavour: Leadership Award

‘Football is more than just a game, it’s a way we can all express ourselves’

When I was little, I didn’t have much imagination of what the footballing world could teach me.

Football is more than just a game, it’s a way we can all express ourselves. Being involved in my foundation has created a sense of responsibility, care and a different kind of love.

For the first time in my life I was awarded the Leadership award at the Best of Africa (B o A) football awards in London. This was a Dream come true and hoping the first of many.

Am thankful to the Lord for being awarded the philanthropic endeavour leadership award (30/Apr/18)

Boa awards 2018 amongst some other great African players .

I dedicate it to my family ,friends , the whole Sseninde Foundation team and everyone else who endlessly supports us. To all the young girls and boys, never give up on your dreams .

Special thanks to Common Goal and Concave Football for the endless support I have had for the past One year.

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‘For the young girls and boys in my country, you are the reason I do what I do’

My life so far,

Wow I look back and this year is filled with mixed emotions.

Nothing has come easy and I have had to work incredibly hard, but the biggest challenge has been the sacrifices I have had to make. But with it all, I am thankful to the Lord for the love and guidance He has shown me ever since. Good things have always been too good to be true but now I say it’s the mindset. Everything that happens to us is in the mind. I thank the Good Lord for the opportunities that I have got so far and the time.

I recently got interviewed by Street football world in their Football4Good magazine where I featured on the cover to, you can read my interview on bit.ly/2rrg6ak

One of my American friends calls me a camera whore, well maybe sometimes it’s not to bad to share your story to help inspire so many other people’s lives.

I am an open book, and this is because I love to see so many of my friends, young kids and young generation all over the world succeed beyond what I will ever do.

For the young girls and boys in my country, you are the reason I do what I do, because you push me to do more so that when you look at my journey you will believe in your dreams.

ONE MORE HOUR

‘That last hour towards a moment could be the difference between our success and failure’

Time is one of the most precious gifts we have. How we use it, it’s always up to us but time waits for no man. I have also lived by the saying time is money since my primary school days. We always know when we have a lot of time on us, but the dilemma comes when we realise we are running out of time. Sometimes having an hour or a few more minutes towards an event in a lifetime to prepare for an occasion can be a scary moment. I have witnessed a couple of moments were classmates have panicked in the last few hours to an exam and some even ended up having panic attacks, thank God I haven’t had one ever, or to be modest let’s say yet( am smiling to myself) only because me and my younger sister often resisted smiling or laughing at anyone who got bad luck with fear it would come upon us to as a curse for laughing. I feel ashamed to say I don’t care now coz I think we all somehow have the power to control what happens in our lives.

Imagine that last hour towards your wedding, towards seeing your long-distance lover, towards giving birth, towards winning that gold medal, towards proposing to your fiancé, towards going for that job interview, towards the game, to wake up. So many thoughts constantly run through our minds, when the time is slowly running out on us.

I once had a close friend who was a school teacher years ago, we all know that kind of friend who means the world to us but nothing beyond. But of course, it’s always misinterpreted differently when you are a lot closer. That last hour on the early morning of when his partner decided to come home and let my mother know, okay let’s say report because that was her intension was the scariest moment of my life. So many things went through my mind those last few minutes when I knew she was coming through our gate, my God! I had had mental rehearsals about this moment as she had often threatened to some many times, this time she wasn’t turning back. I was nervous, I was scared, I was shaking, I walked out of the house filled with fear to check if she had turned up and she had indeed. I thought of one hundred things I would have done to stop her but I was frozen in the mind full of disbelief that the moment she had threatened of for so many days was moments away from coming to pass. I had no energy left anymore to explain that we weren’t as close as she thought because I had tired myself out explaining to her on a couple of occasions…whatever happened after that…its worse than I can write so will leave that for some other day when I get the courage. But I still wonder now what I could have done then to stop it, but I was only a young girl still in school… Don’t judge me you as if you have always told your parents of all your friends and relationships. And just like you, I hadn’t because there was nothing apart from a genuine friendship. On that occasion I didn’t succeeded, I had suspected the moment was coming for days and I didn’t prepare for it but in my defence, I was only a child.

That last hour towards a moment could be the difference between our success and failure, at times people give up with in this time because they think its too late or maybe they are overwhelmed with fear of knowing what the outcome is going to be. But like I said we are human and somehow, we have the power. Good preparation could be one of the ways we could avoid living in fear during the last hour and instead look forward to what the outcomes must be. we need to be brave, deal with the challenges, attack life without fear, take risks, live without regrets and even when we have one more hour, let’s stay calm and trust in our abilities. And maybe sometimes let nature take its course.

A UGANDAN GIRL’S PLEA

‘I think we are let down on several occasions’

The cocktail of what happens in this land is at least way more predictable than the British weather.

I’ve grown there. Unlike those who live close to the sea side along the shores of Entebbe, I live in a small town Kasangati. I love it. I have been there all my life and was infact born in one of the hospitals there. Am blushing now because sometimes it crosses my mind and I wonder if my mother’s birth pains were way too much that she couldn’t travel to a further bigger hospital. But I like it, makes me feel so attached to the place. I live in the UK now, but I really like it when I go home. During the night, I always hear beating drums from a nearby school while I sleep not sure why they always sing at night, sometimes it’s the loud music from the night parties but I guess am used to it now.

Last year I went to one of the villages deep in further from Gayaza for one of my football clinics, the passion I saw these young girls and boys display touching a football was amazing. img_6238

We sometimes take so many opportunities for granted but for me going on these clinics teaches me a lot.  Football is more than just a game I always say. As a young girl I always trained and had hopes of playing pro one day. This is the dream of every Ugandan girl who plays football. The girls are so talented I assure you.img_6244-e1521985409623.jpg

But sadly, somehow, I think we are let down on several occasions. A league was started three years ago, I haven’t yet got a chance to play in it but am sure is full of talent.  I have heard on a few occasions teams drop out due to several reasons, at least two since the league started, most of them are always financial reasons.

What’s the hope of a young girl who dreams of becoming a professional to keep playing? On the national team just like in so many countries except Norway and others I don’t know of yet who pay the same salaries to their women’s squads just as their male counter parts, there’s a lot of inequality still. A good example of that is the daily allowances of 10,000 Ugandan Shilling compared to the 20,000 Ugandan Shillings the men get. By the way that’s 2 pounds and 4 pounds respectively when converted in British pounds. Imagine working an entire day for 2 pounds as a woman and 4 as a man…am not questioning that and I don’t really mind, as a player as long as am playing. My point here is the inequality. Why not give the same amount for the women who train the same, give up the same time to serve their country just the same way. What I mean is equal pay to the men and women’s squads for the same efforts.

I realise that issues such as Equality and inclusion haven’t been addressed in our country or if they have been at all they haven’t been emphasized. In my opinion I feel we are slightly left behind and need to try and catch up. I think we need to stop rejoicing when we are made to believe that we are getting something other than what we deserve or what we are meant to get in reality …well not sure many of you will get that statement but I have no better way of putting it so that it doesn’t sound as bad, I hope am also not misquoted to.

I have been on ground and have heard a young Ugandan girls plea in the so many community outreaches I have done.img_6240We should all have the same opportunities. Not just with football but so many other jobs to like in Hospitals, Schools and others. As women we need to stand up and start asking for what we deserve. Staying silent will never change anything. Am sure sometimes speaking out gets us in trouble especially in the African culture where speaking up and saying facts for the good of change hasn’t been embraced yet and at times is seen to be an attack towards whoever but it’s not the case.

Women of this beautiful pearl of Africa, lets stay united and not fear intimidation. Let’s not settle for less but settle for only what we deserve. Let’s stay together in this fight and make history. Of course, it’s such a long way but every stride in the right direction counts. Gender Equality should be our fight. Embracing inclusion should be the other where regardless of who we love, our colour or background we are given equal opportunities.We should aspire to be role models for girls to look up to us so they can believe in their dreams. img_6245

This fight becoming a reality will give hope to so many young girls who dream of not only playing football but other sports to and jobs to believe in the integrity of the system. Doing the right thing gives us satisfaction and we should all strive to always be brave and have the courage to stand up and speak up on issues that matter and those that will change our society for the better.

The Questions

‘you will never be without a friend’

That battle in the mind, how do we stand up tall and win? Its like David and Goliath. Because these always seem undefeatable and gross! Can’t explain it better…

How do you get up again after you have failed so many times?

How do u get the motivation to keep going after you have been told repeatedly you are not good enough?

How do u get off the couch knowing your teammate is working ten times harder to earn you spot?

How do you remain consistent after you have reached the top?

Despite the questions always know, you will never be without a friend. Those hard days where u feel alone is when you are not alone. I think we all have our guardian Angels even on earth. Take the big step and get off the couch! Stop feeling sorry for yourself and try. The reason I try is because I want to see how far I can go. There’s no limitation to what we can do and its not just a word, we must believe it.

Nothing is Easy, some days are harder than others but always find a positive when things are hard, rehearse every situation in your mind so that it will be easy when the time comes…because I don’t know to, maybe some questions don’t have answers…

One More Time.

‘Miracle workers don’t get to quit’

With football, everyday is a day to try one more time.

To be stronger, to be a leader, responsible, fearless and calm.

I have the passion, I must be strong, fast, fearless, have the team work , the desire to improve, and the hunger to win.

Always believe in your hard work because it works, it always pays off and every little step taken to improve yourself always counts.

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For me football is more than just a game, it brings happiness and sometimes my most challenging moments. There days I feel so low probably when I haven’t had a good game, days I feel like retiring because I don’t feel good enough, and the inequality within the men and the women’s game also such a challenge. But we fight on to change that. All these at times create a battle within my heart because football means so much,but everyday we try one more time. I have met incredible people. And i always say we cant achieve anything alone, it takes a team.

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Through my entire life, football has been the most popular sport. Be it the media, sponsors, fans, players, the young generation now all dream of being professional players.

But for me football is more than just a game, it’s changed my life. I want to give back to the communities and want to be in a position where I can be able to inspire so many girls and show them there’s opportunities for us all if we work hard and make sacrifices.

 

You must be a miracle worker if you are to get the life changing opportunities in your life and Miracle workers don’t get to quit. You must keep going when the going gets tough.

My dream is to give back to the game that has meant so much to me. I dream of working for FIFA or CAF one day and the United Nations. Yes, very big dreams but nothing is impossible, and we should all set our dreams so high up and work our selves off to achieve them. when things don’t work out today, try one more time everyday…

Until next time, have a wonderful week.

 

CAF WOMEN’S SYMPOSIUM

‘Am more grateful to all who put me in this position ‘

This week turned out to be more than I expected, nothing is more rewarding than spending your days doing what you love . I had the pleasure of being invited for the CAF Women’s Symposium in Marrakech, Morocco.

I can’t put into words what an amazing experience its been. Straight from Zurich from the FIFA Equality and Inclusion as a speaker to this, doing things I love. I am more grateful to all who put me in this position, to God for always giving me strength and for you all for the endless messages of support I receive every day in my inbox.

I have met incredible people and made a lot of friends I hope to have with me for not only life but also for the togetherness of us developing women’s football.

I got to play along side these great Legends of Africa. What an honour

Special thanks to Concave football boots, Common Goal, Sseninde Foundation and everyone who is with me on this journey. Not as straight as it may seem but am grateful for the opportunity and strength I get everyday from the Lord to keep going.

Until next time, I want to say Thank you to everyone who has been there for me through it all . Merci as I learnt in French this week.