Agnes Zabali came to Canada in 1985 during the Ugandan civil war through the family sponsorship program to work as a housekeeper in her sister’s home. She worked multiple jobs in order to save enough money to sponsor her children to come to join her in Canada. In 1989 she was able to bring her three sons to Canada to live with her – at this time the eldest son, Jimmy Sebulime, was 12 years old.
Agnes went on to earn a diploma in business information systems and hospitality. She continued to work hard and eventually secured a job with the federal government as a compensation adviser. Agnes dedicated her entire life to her children, family members and to helping others in Ottawa and in her home village Kammengo. Together with her son Jimmy Sebulime she spent years volunteering with the Canada Africa Community Health Alliance (CACHA) on projects to improve the lives of those who needed a helping hand in Kammengo especially vulnerable children and young adults. She supported many families, helped create jobs in the village and created a scholarship program for young people from the area. On December 19th, 2012, Agnes was traveling to Uganda with her family to mark the one-year anniversary of her mother’s death. Unfortunately, she never made it to the village. Agnes and Jimmy were involved in a tragic road accident where they were hit by a City Council garbage truck in Kampala, Uganda. Sadly, on December 27th 2012, Agnes died from the injuries she sustained from the accident. Agnes Zabali is remembered through tears and laughter because of what she accomplished before her life was cut short. Through her determination and tenacity she demonstrated over and over again, that one person can make a difference. Agnes made a real difference to the lives of many orphan and vulnerable children, one child at a time. She never forgot the village where she grew up and where her boys were born and her mother lived and died. Agnes’ legacy lives on in the work we continue to support today through the Agnes Zabali Boys and Girls Club project.
One of Agnes’ proudest and biggest achievements was building the community center in Kammengo, which includes a stage facing an open air space, surrounded by rooms for accommodation, an adjoining basketball court and a bathroom block. This community center is now home to the “Agnes Zabali Boys and Girls Club of Kammengo”. The AZBGC hosts international volunteers who join medical, educational and infrastructure missions under the umbrella of CACHA. The Ottawa committee responsible for the AZBGC raises funds to support 155 orphans and vulnerable children each year with school fees, educational materials and basic health education. Agnes Zabali will always be remembered as a kind, generous and giving mother, wife, sister, aunt and friend. The compassion and generosity she had for others especially the children and youth of the village where she grew up will continue for many generations to come through the Agnes Zabali Boys and Girls Club of Kammengo.