By Joan Semanda.


My name is Gabby. 7 years ago, I lost both of my parents in a flood in Kawempe where we stayed at the time. I was devastated to say the least. I am the oldest of four children and I had to fend for all of us, including Rosa, my sister, who was two years old at the time.

We ended up being split up with two of us in an orphanage in Kawempe and the other two in another orphanage in Kireka. I felt like I had failed. Failed them, and failed my mother who I felt had left me in charge. At 16 years, at the height of my puberty, I felt like all of this couldn’t have happened at a worse time. It was too soon. It was more than I could bare. My shoulders were heavy. I felt like I was lifting a weight I could not handle.

Rugby 1

One day I met a group from the orphanage talking to a lady called Anne. She was telling them about Rugby and how it could help them learn how to deal with life and learn a lot of lessons from it. I remember scoffing about it in my mind. “Rugby is a game for boys. I have no place there, and it especially won’t do anything for me except break my bones,” I remember saying to myself.

But I went and tried it out anyway. I remember going because so many of the other girls were going and I was bored. “I’ll just go and keep myself busy for today.” The first game was tough. I learnt so many things. I felt challenged, and I decided to go back and give it a shot.

rugby 27 years later and here I am. I learnt to be fitter, I am faster and I am healthier than I’ve ever been. I still remember how when I first started playing I was shy and it was difficult to get me to speak to people. I don’t have that problem anymore. People have to tell me to keep it down now. I feel safe, like if someone tried to harm me I would know how to defend myself. I’ve even taught Rosa some basics as well, and I hope she will join the team when she is old enough to play. I know now that you get results when you work hard enough, and that team members are only there to help you.

Rugby Tackling Life saved my life. Literally. It might seem like a drop in the ocean, but it made a great impact on my life and the lives of many others.

*Gabby is a part of my fiction and so is her story,  but I thought it fitting to share with you my thoughts on what Rugby Tackling Life is doing through COOFFEEE and where I imagine they will be years from now if they continue on the path they are on.

To find out how you can change a girls life, go to this link.


COOFFEEE is a 100% Ugandan coffee blend that is working to support women’s rugby in Uganda through donating a certain amount of coffee sold to Rugby Tackling Life. The blend is available in select cafes in Uganda and is also sold on Hellofood. It can also be shipped internationally.

Be sure to stop by where my sister Angela and I share our thoughts more regularly on our lifestyle blog.

Till next time.