- Rugby. Buffaloes have set the bar high for other sports organizations to emulate if we are to make the country a more desirable place for the underprivileged and needy.
Organisations all over the world get time for the lay man in society and in Uganda rugby, Kyadondo-based Toyota Buffaloes has led from the front, when it comes to bringing smiles on the faces of the underprivileged.
From orphanages to schools, the 2014 National 7s winners have left a mark and touched lives in an effort to give back to the community.
In one of their most significant initiatives, with the help of Toyota Uganda, the Buffaloes have empowered the disadvantaged through rugby, enrolling children from the age of three into tag rugby, traversing Gulu, Arua, Fort Portal and Kampala districts with credible results to show.
It is no surprise that Buffaloes have openly embraced tag rugby as 75 per cent of their current side are products of the project, not forgetting the likes of Solomon Okia, Pius Ogena, Kevin Keremundu, and James Odongo. The list cannot end without mentioning the flair-footed Phillip Wokorach who now plies his trade in Kenya with Kabras Sugar and caught the attention of the world when Uganda made its bow at the HSBC World Series earlier this year in Dubai and Cape Town.
With knowledge of what the needy children go through, for the last four years, Buffaloes invites over 150 kids at Kyadondo for what has become an annual Christmas Party, giving the kids a chance to share lunch with their coaches who later hand over some gifts.
The event is capped off with a tag rugby game where the children face their coaches and you will be shocked to learn that the students have come out on top at the expense of their teachers. The Buffaloes are trailing the students by three wins to one. Banunule Orphanage, Kisugu is one of the many that have benefited from the event picking rugby skills from the Toyota Buffaloes players, the latest centre to come on board being the Don Bosco Orphanage in Kiira, Namugongo.
Toyota Uganda Managing Director Mahmood Omar has been more than happy to be associated with the arrangement. “We are happy to always partner with the Buffaloes to put a smile on the children’s faces during the festive season,”
Buffaloes coach Edgar Lemerigar is grateful to the sponsor Toyota Uganda for supporting the club’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program that has seen players mentor the younger children into more skilful contact players after Tag Rugby. He also expects to recruit future players from this program and urged the youngsters to keep training as well as to work hard in school.
“Buffaloes boasts of a huge talent (50% of the national 7s team for the past four years),” adds Lemerigar, the current Africa 7s champions.
The Toyota Outreach To Read (OTR) program has registered success stories upcountry. The mission for the program was to encourage the culture of reading in rural Ugandan schools as well as promote the Road Safety Education program to improve on roads safety.
In Gulu , six schools were enrolled while both Fort Portal and Arua had seven with English readers distributed to alongside Tag Rugby equipment from Toyota to boost the children’s physical education side through work and play.
The OTR program has received praise for improving the children’s reading ability in the rural schools with the Toyota Captain Motto; ‘Keeping them safe and smart on the road’, receiving plaudits from traffic officers that children’s knowledge and awareness reduces carnage.