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December 2010 / January 2011

Successes in Child Labour Project

Currently there are 50 former child labourers, like this lad, who are undergoing vocational skills training at the RYDA centre. On December 16th RYDA organised a display of the work completed in their first two months. Parents and local leaders were invited to share the hope for the future that it is demonstrated by the students' first efforts towards their new life.

So many children removed from child labour and beginning training for a better future. Add to this the many who have been prevented from heading towards child labour because of the intervention resulting from RYDA's ability and expertise to fulfil the goals of the proposal presented to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in February 2010. This is a wonderful effort in less than a year.

December 20th

$US2765.07 transfered to RYDA today.

Child Labour Project: $US1065.94
General donation: $US1699.13
Bank Charges Uganda: $US20

For the most part, this wonderful amount has been raised by the congregations of St. Margaret's, Mooroolbark and St. John's, Cowes. Included in this amount is:
$AUD645.50 through Christmas Card donations
$AUD145 through Christmas Gift Certificates

A huge thank you from RYDA to all who have contributed to, prayed for or simply talked to others about, the work of this wonderful organisation.

Dan's Story

Dan Ssekisambu, aged 16, is an orphan who dropped from school at primary four in 2009 after the death of his father. His father left 7 children. Ssekisambu's mother Nalubega Goretti had 4 children (3 girls and 1 boy). After dropping from school Dan resorted to digging for people in the community and in his free time he engaged in radio repairing to get money to support his mother to meet their basic needs at home.

In May 2010 he was identified and selected by the RYDA team and CCLC's (community leaders) for the SNAP project.

After joining RYDA centre I chose to undertake Bricklaying and concrete practice. Why? Because it was easy for me and after training that I can easily find something to do in the community. I look forward after training to support my young sisters to go back to school.
Dan has a lot of dreams about what to do for his mother. (SNAP = Support National Action Programme to eliminate child labour)

This small story is extracted from an easy-to-read six page document titled Vocational Skills Training Under SNAP which provides the latest picture of the successes of the Child Labour Project.

This photo was taken from the Mende Quarry when ILO Geneva representative, Ms. Nadine, visited the operation area for SNAP. The gentleman escorting her is Mr Mukiibi the Community Child Labour Committee (CCLC) member.

Waiting for Exam Results

It's happening all over Australia at the moment, but also in Uganda. In total 98 RYDA students sat for external examinations in their trade skills. Results won't be known until January or February.

Water Tank Donation

The National Youth Council has donated a 10,000 litre water tank which RYDA will be receiving in the next months. We thank them for their support. Clean water is obviously critical to the health of staff and students at RYDA which is not on a town water supply.

And Thanks to You

If you have:

  • read this web news through the year
  • talked to anyone else about RYDA
  • donated time, talent or money
  • prayed for the success of RYDA's work
or in any other way supported the successes of 2010, then THANK YOU and GOD BLESS YOU. You have been an integral part of this watershed year in the life of the organisation.

Best wishes from RYDA to all its family and friends for a spirit-led, joyful Christmas.

November 2010

More from St. John's RYDA Month

Last month we told you about the wonderful generosity of St. John's congregation, Cowes, in donating $200 towards RYDA Christmas Cards. October was their RYDA month and in addition to this gift a further $138 was raised through retiring offerings. Thank you St. John's, every cent will support the street children in RYDA's programs.

Christmas Cards & Christmas Gift Certificates

Jean and Neil Daw from St. Margaret's organised these amazing, very special Christmas cards. Donations have been received for almost all of them now and as we write the total raised is $486. No, we're not showing you what they look like. Receiving one is the only way you will know.

New StarHowever, our annual Christmas Gift Certificates are available as always. Click the star to find out more.

  • New colours.
  • Easy and meaningful giving from anyone in the world to anyone in the world.

Clothing Donation

The tireless ladies at St. Paul's Overseas Mission, Kew, Victoria, contacted us in September with a donation of uniform-style clothing for RYDA. But how to get them to Africa? Enter the generous congregation of St. Margaret's. The several hundred dollars needed was given in days and, with fingers crossed, off the parcel went with Australia Post. Everyone was delighted to hear that the cartons have arrived and children recently extracted from child labour are proudly wearing the shirts as their RYDA uniform.

Party Time

Saturday 13th November was a great time for the Kyeyune family. A huge party with family and friends to celebrate Lydia's second graduation, this time as a Bachelor of Human Resource Management. A former street child, Lydia was sponsored through school by a first world donor. The Millar family, formerly of St. Margaret's Uniting Church, were primarily responsible for this outcome. They inspired other donors who have since supported Lydia's on-going education through university. Lydia first degree is in Social Work /Social Administration. There seems to be a theme developing here, and perhaps one day all this learning will have direct benefit for RYDA. Well done Lydia, from all your friends beyond Uganda.

Testing Time

The examination season has begun for RYDA students. 42 students are sitting UNEB examinations in various trades. 68 students have already done the DIT exams.
(UNEB = Uganda National Examination Board; DIT = Directorate of Industrial Training)

Good luck to you all. We know you have worked very hard and hope the results are everything you wish for.

Child Labour Project

The next phase of the project has begun with identified children being removed from child labour situations. They have been supported with psycho-sociological counselling as a first step and are now proudly wearing their blue shirts as they begin their vocational and life skills training courses.

RYDA Display

The annual RYDA display of children's work in the various courses was held recently and it attracted a large number of people. The winner of the overall exhibition was the Art & Design department. Wish we were there to see the great work from everyone.

October 2010

Welcome to Our World Denise

Received by email from Geoffrey Kyuyene, Executive Director, on Sunday October 17:

This is a quick message to let you know that on Friday 15th October 2010 at 12:35 (35 minutes after midday at catholic founded Nsambya Hospital), a baby girl was born to Irene. It was all excitement when Doreen and Daniella received her at home Saturday at 1:13 pm after we discharged from Hospital.

The baby girl's name is Denise Caroline Mirembe. Now we at home resting. Thanks for your prayers and words of encouragement.

St. John's Uniting Church, Cowes

Following a guest speaker presentation last June, the generous people of this congregation raised $730 towards the work of the RYDA Child Labour Project. Since then the Church Council has decided to continue its support for the next two years by declaring special months to support RYDA. During each month a retiring offering plate will be provided each Sunday.

October is the first of these months and our speaker was invited to provide an update on the Project. He also brought along samples of beautiful and faithful Christmas cards organised by Jean Daw of St. Margaret's congregation. He was overwhelmed by the response. During the after service cuppa $200 was donated in return for 290 cards.

What will God do with the both the Christmas message and the RYDA message that will be carried to ... who knows where ... by these cards and those sent by St. Margaret's people?

Christmas Gift Certificates

New StarThe popular RYDA Christmas Gift certificates are back.

  • New colours.
  • Easy and meaningful giving from anyone in the world to anyone in the world.
  • Click the star to find out more.

Six Success in Six Months

Geoffrey summarises the first six months of the Child Labour Project (see head of page) as follows:

  • 333 children have been identified, selected and placed in 7 schools for their formal education. With donations received we have managed to give them scholastic material and uniforms and this term they have started to study. The intention of this activity is to prevent potential child labourers from entering into hazardous work hence preventing them from entering into child labour.
  • 55 Community Child Labour Committees have been successfully formed and trained to act as child advocates in communities. Each committee consists of 5 members and they are gender balanced. There is still a critical need to support them with bicycles - a total of 55 - to help them outreach their communities. This component was an oversight during the planning and proposal development. we have see the relevance of it for these members.
  • Using S.C.R.E.A.M. we managed to train teachers and school going children. SCREAM means 'Supporting Child Rights Education through Art and Media. The Scream methodology is now a darling in many schools as it has not only helped teachers to identify the children's potential but also it is now a tool for problem identification. It has also improved child debate in school. The children also have fully participated in child sensitisation on child labour issues through music, dance and drama.
  • 15 community sensitisation workshops have been organised and conducted from the district to the community village level. Through this, child labour issues were discussed and also the workshop participants lobbied to fully participate in fighting child labour incidences in their respective communities.
  • New staff members have been recruited to strengthen the RYDA team to facilitate the Child Labour Project. These include Susan, a new Principal for the Buloba Centre, Joseph her new deputy and Joanita, Programme Co-ordinator.
  • Music Dance and Drama (MDD) Festival at the RYDA Centre. The theme was child labour and the intent was to build on the child labour advocacy in the community. It was a successful event and it was televised on Uganda television and radio stations.

September 2010

Let Me Introduce You To...

Peter Muwanguz
RYDA Student Leader

Peter has written a little about himself and the organisation he now cherishes. In these few words there is much to consider.

I am the student leader for RYDA students for the year 2010-2011. I have heard from our beloved Director of the wonderful work you are doing for us. I have been given to be the one to write to you to share my personal view about our lives and activities to date.

The Kasubi Hall has reached a level where we have raised our hope that one day it will stand again. On behalf of the student body I want through you to extended a special thanks to all those who support our activities. Sometimes we wonder how devoted you are to the RYDA cause. Thanks and may almighty God reward you abundantly.

We cherish the Director for his support. He gives his parental love and compassionate love to RYDA students He will always be remembered for years to come.

To St. Margaret's members and Avondale College* tell them that RYDA community appreciates whatever they have given us to support our activities and programmes. On 30th October 2010 will organise an Exhibition Day and we will also show our guardians and friends of RYDA what the so called impossible of the world can do.

Am going to class now. I will let you know more may be in the near future.

God Bless you
Peter Muwanguzi

* Editor's Note: St. Margaret's Uniting Church has been supporting RYDA since 1996. Avondale College provided much needed special text books only last month.

Kasubi Hall
Kasubi Hall was the spiritual heart of RYDA. For years it was community centre, worship space, special events venue, examination room and occasional income-generator. In February 2010 it was destroyed by nature. Since then the will of the RYDA community has cleared up the mess and begun to build it again. But they have reached the end of their resources.

As you view these photographs of what was, what happened and what has been achieved so far, ask yourself if you could contribute to the $US2,500 that is needed to complete the next stage of this resurrection.

A wedding in Kasubi Hall October 2004.

Even those who can't fit inside can still feel part of the celebration.

February 2010. Weeks of tropical rain...

...and one morning this is all that is left!

After the devastation, distress and discouragement of finding its monument to self-help like this
the RYDA team rolled up their sleeves, removed the mess and began the rebuild in the hope
that it might be ready for the government examinations later in the year.

But here the building has stopped. Funds have dried up.
Ear-marked money such as donations to the Child Labour Project
cannot be used for this purpose.
Are you able to help find the $US2,500 needed to purchase:

50 iron bars for the beam
4000 bricks
50 bags of cement

to build the wall plate so that at least a tarpaulin can be
stretched across as a temporary roof.

Geoffrey writes:
The glory goes to the Lord for the work so far done.
The children and staff are now having another
hope for the lost glory.

Child Labour Project: 1st Quarter Report
In July eNews (see Previous News above) we reported a summary of achievements during the first three months of the Project to the end of June. A full report mounted as a PDF file is now available. This 14 page document restates the goals of the 22 month project and details exactly what has and has not yet been done. All donors to this project are invited to see what their contribution has achieved. This is the official report required by the International Labour Organisation.

Lydia's Second Graduation
Those readers with very long memories will remember that Lydia, a former street child, was sponsored through school by a first world donor. The Millar family, formerly of St. Margaret's Uniting Church, were primarily responsible for this outcome. They inspired other donors who have since supported Lydia's on-going education through university. Geoffrey writes this month to let us know that:

Lydia's graduation is due on 14th November 2010. Lydia first graduated in Social Work /Social Administration (SWASA) and the second one she has just completed is Bachelor in Human Resource Management.
We are all very proud of her years of effort and the sustained support of her donors. Surely the movement of the Holy Spirit among many open hearts has brought her to this point.

August 2010

Avondale College
In the previous news we asked if anyone had access to these titles:

  • Motor Vehicle Technology and Practical Work, J. A Dolan, March 1978
  • Fundamental Motor Vehicle Technology for Mechanics, P. P. J Read and V.C. Reid from a series titled "Motivates"
which will support the automotive mechanics class at the RYDA Centre. A subsequent web search revealed several Australian tertiary institutions who seemed to hold a copy. These were approached with a view to donation and some responded to the effect that they no longer held the title.

However, Marilyn Gane, Head Librarian, Avondale College responded as follows:

Thank you for your email - and YES, we would be happy to send this book to Uganda. We are taking it out of our collection today and it should be mailed on Tuesday.
Marilyn and her cataloguer found another basic auto mechanics book as well and popped that in the parcel too. Avondale College has been offering excellence in Christian tertiary education since 1897. Clearly the strength of its founding principles has not diminished in over a century.

Perhaps this gift will inspire others to look deeper into their shelves. More copies of the books above would be welcome as would copies of:

  • Science and calculations for Motor Vehicle Technicians S. J. Zammit
  • Fundamentals of Motor Vehicle Technology V.A.W Hillier, 4th & 5th edition
  • Motor Vehicle Technology for Mechanics Mudd, Book 1, 2, 3 & 4
  • Metal Welding Motivate Series
or similar items. Simply parcel them up and send them to RYDA using our Contact Details.

Micah Network Meeting
The International Director of Micah Network UK has invited RYDA to participate in a meeting in Kampala on November 4th and 5th. The purposes of the meeting are to explore case studies, share training and focus on fellowship with one another. Geoffrey Kyeyune, RYDA Executive Director, is excited about attending and asks for your prayers for positive outcomes for RYDA and all others involved.

Kasubi Hall
The initiative and dedication of the RYDA team and supporters continues to shine. Do you remember that last February Kasubi Hall, their multi-purpose community centre was crushed to match sticks by the mass of endless tropical rain? Well, as these photos indicate, rebuilding has begun and even the concrete floor can be put to good use in the interim.

Music, Dance & Drama Competition
It began before 10:00am on August 4th and finished after 6:00pm. For this whole day the RYDA Centre was more like the cultural centre of Uganda as students performed and presented a wonderful range of music, dance and drama. Principal, Susan Liz Nabirye, has provided us with this complete report of a memorable day.

We held our Music, Dance and Drama competitions on 4th August 2010 at our school campus. We had three houses competing - Australia, Jamaica and Colombia. They competed in various items which were a duet:
  • original composition
  • traditional folk song
  • poem
  • creative dance
  • fashion show
  • mimes
  • traditional folk dance
  • and a play
therefore all house patrons had to prepare their houses in those activities before the competition date.

Different people were invited among which we had the guest of honour Mr. Opio Douglas from Kyambogo University and the adjudicators of the day Ms Nazziwa Robinah from Buloba Primary Teachers College and Mr. Sempereza Daniel from the department of Music, Dance and Drama in Kyambogo University.

Mr.Maseruka Daniel did the video coverage, Mr. Ssengendo Andrew the photography and the masters of ceremonies were Mr. Kasoma Joseph and Mr. Ntambi Simon. These people made our day colourful as we based on their judgements as technical people in music.

This chart show the winning house and score in each category and, of course, the final results:

  Jamaica Columbia Australia
Duet 75%
Trad. Folk Song 74%
Poem 78%
Original Comp. 85%
Mime 85%
Creative Dance 83%
Fashion Show 75%
Trad. Folk Dance 81%
Play winner
Overall 665 points 636 points 669 points

Therefore the leading house was Australia in the first position, Jamaica in the second position and Columbia in the third position. The prizes were a trophy and a big male goat for the winning house, second house got 50,000 Ugandan shillings and 25,000 Ugandan shillings for the third house. Each house received what was deserved at the end of the day.

However, the main reason for holding the function was to select the best items, which will be performed on 10th October during our internal exhibition day of different trades at our vocational institute and to give a chance to all students to explore their talents in the different items.

The best performers were:

  • Namusisi Rehema in traditional folk song from Australia
  • Nabasumba Joan and Katiti Phiona in the duet from Jamaica
  • Mugalu Abdu in the poem from Jamaica
  • Kizza Monica in the original composition from Columbia
  • Nakabugo Joyce in the mime from Australia
  • Namyalo Florence and Galiwango Brain in the creative wear (fashion show) from Australia
  • Kyazze Junior in creative dance from Australia
The best actors were
  • Walusimbi Williams from Jamaica and Nalweyiso Hadija from Australia
The best male dancers were:
  • Sseyondo Emmerson from Jamaica and Nalweyiso Hadija from Australia

Lastly, the celebration party kicked off and students enjoyed their day, so the next day students got their holidays on 5th August 2010.

July 2010

Donations Continue to Flow
A few photos and a few words. That's all it takes. A five minute presentation to any congregation or group about the RYDA Child Labour Project and hearts are touched; action results.

How do we know? Because in mid-June St. John's Uniting Church in Cowes asked for the presentation above. Many parishioners reported afterwards that they were inspired - not by what was said, but by what RYDA has achieved since 1992 and what they are still achieving today.

All RYDA's work needs support and prayer, but at the moment, hearts, minds and purses are responding to the project that is taking children out of child labour and preventing others from being ensnared by it.

Thank you generous people of St. John's. You gave $730 towards the $US6000 RYDA needs to complete its local contribution.

And a member of Ringwood North has added a further $100 to the amount that congregation has given since they listened to the presentation in May. Thank you.

Thanks also to two St. Margaret's families that each donated $500 around the end of June. Giving is a gift of the Spirit and it is the Spirit who brings the pieces together into a meaningful whole.

A consequence of this prayerful giving is that St. Margaret's Uniting Church, was able to transfer $US3000 to the RYDA account at the end of June.

Added to amounts transferred in January and other funds RYDA has raised, it means the local contribution RYDA must make to the United Nations International Labour Organisation funding is two thirds covered after only 4 months of a 22 month project.

Please help the Spirit continue to move. Give your congregation or group the opportunity to hear the story. Contact Doug. Williams as above.

Support From Within
RYDA is critically dependent on first world funding, but wherever possible it is supported in many ways by the Ugandan government. This email from Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director, which was received on June 18th, describes another blessing that can be counted in the last month.

Yesterday I received a telephone call to go to the Ministry to pick training materials and equipment/tools worth over 9 million Uganda shillings, which is approximately 4,500 US dollars.

This will go a long way in boosting the RYDA skills training especially in those two departments of Hairdressing and the Electrical department. What a relief after a lot of struggle to equip the two highly demanded programme activities.

Geoffrey also asks if anyone has access to two particular texts to support the work in the Motor Vehicle training department. They are:
  • Motor Vehicle Technology and Practical Work, J. A Dolan, March 1978
  • Fundamental Motor Vehicle Technology for Mechanics, P. P. J Read and V.C. Reid from a series titled "Motivates"

Every Little Parcel Helps
A small parcel arrived at RYDA in the last month from Australia. It contained a few tennis balls, some scissors that could be used in the Tailoring department and some highlighter pens. This gift means as much as any other and Geoffrey has emailed as follows:

I write to send sincere appreciation to the this wonderful donor.
In the hope that the unknown person will read this message.

Day of the African Child
This celebration day was held recently at Entebbe and RYDA children played a big part assisted by their wonderful staff.

Children from the SNAP Project, who attend Kalambi Junior School, rehearsing with Joanita Nabasumba, RYDA Programme Co-ordinator, before their presentation.
SNAP = Support National Action Programme to eliminate child labour.

Also on 4 August at the RYDA Vocation Skills Training Centre in Buloba the children will be having their house Music, Dance & Drama competitions. Their houses are Australia, Jamaica and Colombia.


After Geoffrey's speech at this function, he was approached by the WBS television crew for an interview. The interview was centered on vocational skills training and child labour.


These children are a group representing former child labourers.

This banner the children carried in the parade displayed messages to the invited guests in commemoration of the day of African child.

A discussion between Ms Akky de Kort Chief Technical Adviser of ILO/IPEC Uganda and the chief Scream Trainer.

  • ILO/IPEC = International Labour Organisation/ International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour
  • SCREAM = Support Child Rights Education through Art and Media

First Quarter Report
The first quarter report of the RYDA Child Labour Project has been written and submitted to the ILO. It is 14 pages of extensive detail and if you would like a copy please contact Doug. Williams as above. Some of the main achievements have been:

  • Identification of districts and villages most likely to contribute to child labour.
  • Sensitization programs in these areas to introduce citizens to the project.
  • Community discussions to develop criteria to identify and support child labourers and those who might become child labourers.
  • Identification of particular children to be prevented from entering child labour, or to be removed from it.
  • 288 and 167 children, both boys and girls, have so far been identified for prevention and removal respectively
  • Provision of scholastic material to identified schools in some areas to strengthen their curriculum.
  • Extending the training of RYDA staff to support them to be even more competent in child labour issues.
  • Addition of staff to the RYDA team.

June 2010

Let Me Introduce You To...

Zaina Akwolaomuze
Tailoring Student
I am Zaina, aged 19 years, now pursuing the a tailoring course at RYDA centre. Am a Musoga by tribe coming from Busoga region in Eastern Uganda. I dropped from the formal education when my parents died. Hopeless as I was by then two years ago when you see me now I tell you a different story.

I have undergone a lot of transformation and as stipulated in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 Verse 13, this has come true.

I have faith in myself that I can now succeed in life. I hope now with the training I have acquired from RYDA I have hope to help other vulnerable children in my area. And as stated in the verse this wouldn't have been true without the love the Director is showing all of us in making us succeed in life.
All is not as well at RYDA as you think. Sometimes the training materials are in short supply; power being cut off due to non payment is also an experience we are confronted with. Despite the above we have stood behind our director in the testing time.

I cannot forget mentioning the tragic event when we waken-up one day and there was no RYDA monument of the RYDA beauty (RYDA Kasubi Hall was no more). Do you know we are still mourning this wonderful Hall? We have nowhere to rest to hide from the hot sun in the day. Our recreation centre is no more.

It's upon this background that I call upon all those people who have a good will to our organisation to support our organisation to have a dream of having Kasubi Hall a reality again.

I was delighted to be given a chance to write to you and though am orphaned I have now a lot of hope. Our director always tells us to have hope for the better future. Nothing will deter us from realising our full potential and with a new principal on board it has inspired us a lot . She is a good person too.

Wishing you the best.

Executive Director, Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune
beside the Foundation Stone of the Vocational Skills Training Centre
Child Labour Project Update
Geoffrey Kyeyune, Executive Director, tells us that in the past month:
We have tried with the means to do what we are supposed to do in the field and we are now writing the activity reports and finalising the work for the first quarter. At the end of this month we will be submitting our 1st quarter report.
The work is proceeding as planned and detailed in the extensive proposal document that won RYDA the grant from the International Labour Organisation.
But remember, RYDA must contribute significant funds itself over the life of this project and it is our aim that this local contribution will never be in doubt. Join us in achieving this aim. Please consider the invitations at the top of this page.
June 16th is Child Labour Day in Uganda and RYDA is participating vigorously to help raise awareness and support. Two RYDA young people will be participating in a debate about the issue. Also a staff team, Joan, Phiona and Joseph, have prepared this Discussion Paper. It is only two pages but it poignantly shows Ugandans just how close to home this issue is for all of them.
Wonderful Gift from ICRI
The International Child Resource Institute (ICRI), based in Kenya, has donated a fridge, deep freezer, electric cooker, gas cooker, 3 warmers, blender, a mini food processor, electric urn, electric kettle, 5 flasks, 21 inch TV, and assorted catering tools. The hope is that the RYDA Canteen can now become operational again to strengthen training in the catering field and provide some income.

This gift is worth $US5000 and we have written to Mr. Leonard Chumo on behalf of RYDA supporters to thank ICRI for this support. Leonard has replied:

That was so nice of you saying that! Thank you. There is nothing better we can do than to extend a hand to help where we can. Our finances are raised by people who equally believe when we join hands together we can do big and better.

Know that we are privileged to be friends of RYDA. I have been there twice and have had time to listen to Geoffrey's passion and vision for the needy youth among his community and East Africa as a whole. We are glad that we could be of help in this way and pray that God will bless the work of Geoffrey and RYDA in serving their community.

If there is anything else we can do for/with you, please do not hesitate.

Blessings and let the church know we are humbled to be associated with you.

Operations and Project Manager
International Child Resource Institute - Africa

Let Me Introduce You To...
Suzan Liz Nabirye
Principal, Vocational Skills Training Centre
Suzan has just been appointed as the new Principal of the Buloba Centre. She is joining with Deputy Principal, Mr Joseph Bisaso to lead the Buloba Centre into the future. As indicated in Zaina's letter above, Suzan has already made a positive impression. Here she tells us a little about herself and her plans.
Greetings from the RYDA new Vocational Skills Training centre. I have been instructed by our beloved Director to have something to write to you.

Am by the name Nabirye Suzan Liz the new Principal for RYDA training centre. I have heard a lot about you and what St. Margaret's Uniting Church and its congregation has done to RYDA over the past 12 years. Indeed when you visit the impact of your support can be felt.

Am bringing on board new ideas and innovations to strengthen the RYDA team. As a mother I hope I can add value to RYDA. Am an educationist with a bias in Education and Community Development. Only a few weeks I have worked at the RYDA centre. I have seen how Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune is putting in daily alone to make it happen for everybody here - children, youth and the entire staff of RYDA.

Gifted as he his, he needed a person of my calibre to join in and help in day to day of RYDA activities. I pray that God guides me to do what is good for this organisation.

Send my warm greetings to all those who have helped RYDA to reach this moment. Happiness at all those who want to glorify the Lord.

Yours faithfully
Nabirye Suzan Liz

The team to build the dream.

May 2010

Did You Read Crosslight?
The Victorian/Tasmanian Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia produces a wonderful monthly newspaper titled Crosslight. The Back Page of the May issue was devoted to St. Margaret's relationship with Rubaga Youth Development Association. That relationship began in 1996 when Reverend Lesley Shekleton gave the go ahead to a parishioner's suggestion of a way RYDA could be helped. Fifteen years later, Lesley, now retired, read the May Back Page and wrote:

It was mind blowing to read the back cover of Crosslight and to discover that the marvellous work begun so many years ago is continuing with great generosity of spirit and finance.

One of my memories of Geoffrey's visit was when he looked at the congregation and said that he had never seen so many old people in the same place at the same time - due obviously to premature death rates in Uganda. He said that he would call them his grandmothers and grandfathers.

I was also moved that you included a mention of my response in those early days - so often such a mention is overlooked in the midst of the present pressure and response. Thank you - I will treasure the article and the project. (Retired) life is good, and so that it may also be good for those whom RYDA helps, I am enclosing a cheque.

Thank you Lesley, on behalf of Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune and the staff and children of RYDA.

Crosslight May 2010 p.20

There has been a swell of support for the RYDA Child Labour Project this month and we hope it continues. The aim is that RYDA's required contribution to the International Labour Organisation grant will never be in doubt.

  • Read about the RYDA/ILO project in the starburst link at the top of this page and accept an invitation to join Lesley in fighting child labour in Uganda.

Ringwood North Uniting Church
Following the March web news, the Minister, Ian Hickingbotham, and Council of Ringwood North Uniting Church invited a St. Margaret's representative to visit and explain the Child Labour Project and suggest how their congregation could help. May 9th was the chosen date and the following week the congregation collected a retiring offering for RYDA's work.

Thank you generous people of Ringwood North. You gave $1624 towards the $US6000 RYDA needs to complete its local contribution.

Ask for this presentation for your church or club.
5 minutes ... photo-filled ... informative
Contact: Doug. Williams ... ... 03 9726 8316

Your help will make a difference to the level of Child Labour in Uganda.

Child Labour Project Update
Geoffrey Kyeyune, Executive Director, tells us that in the past month:

We are have finished the sensitisation of the sub-county leaders and we have covered so far three parishes in Wakiso sub-county and we have even begun the identification of child labourers in the five villages where our child labour project is vivid.
All is as planned for month 3 of the 22 month program.

April 2010

Connecting the World

Dear Mr. Kyeyune,
Am very happy to write to you today. I have visited your site and been really impressed in your work and the efforts to develop talents and make development in your region. I live in Norway but my parents migrated some years back from Uganda. I've never been in Uganda but I have the love for the country where I would have been born.

Anyway, the reason for writing to you is that I feel I should help your organisation somehow, somewhere and maybe someday I will come and visit.

I work for an organisation that doesn't fund organisations but gives out donations to small organisations in the third world with a purpose. I would like to hand in my request for your organisation in the next quarter. If all goes well with my request here, you'll be contacted by NORAD in Kampala to claim a donation.

All I need from you is your organisation's budget and I will do the rest for my country Uganda. Hoping to hear from you.

Thank you,
Roger Heller

We were very excited to receive this email. Perhaps, as Roger suggested in a later letter, there will other ex-pat Ugandans who will find our site and discover equal reason to support RYDA's work. Perhaps, one day there will be a worldwide RYDA support group whose members are all ex-patriot Ugandans. There has to be a first for everything and in this case it will be Roger's generous offer of help that could generate such a group.

NORAD is the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, a part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Norway. Let us hope that Roger's application leads to a successful grant for RYDA.

Kasubi Hall
The mess from the collapse of Kasubi Hall was soon cleaned up but a heart-breaking space remains to remind all of the loss. This was a community centre, an examination hall, a worship centre, an education centre and, on occasion, a source of income when hired for local events.

One day RYDA hopes to rebuild and through a fortuitous donation from Global Fund for Children the first steps have been taken. $US1000 arrived in late March, as promised, and some of it was put to purchasing 30 iron bars, 1 load of river sand and 1 load of aggregate stones. These will be stored until funds can be found for cement, labour and other necessary costs.

Some food items have also been purchased from this timely donation, including some 'special Easter food' to uplift the spirits of the current trainees following the seemingly endless rain and the consequent collapse of the hall. Child Labour Project

The contract to mark the official beginning of the RYDA Child Labour Project sponsored by the International Labour Organisation/ International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (ILO/IPEC) was signed on March 4th. In summary the project is to work for 22 months to ensure that:

  1. 333 girls and boys will have been prevented from entering child labour.
  2. 167 girls and boys will have been withdrawn from the worst forms of child labour, rehabilitated, provided with psychosocial support, education and strengthened referral systems.
  3. Social protection measures for child labour affected families will be established and/or strengthened through an Integrated Area Based Approach.
Executive Director, Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, writes of the work that has already been achieved during this first month: On the side of the RYDA snap project we have gone along way in conducting activities of orientation workshops for the two sub counties of Namayumba and Wakiso has been done, Today afternoon we are orienting schools where the children are going to participate in formal education and MDD and open debates are going to fully participate one of the schools we have identified in wakiso include Buloba C/U primary School, Kalambi Junior school, Bbira C/U primary School and Hope children centre and Mabongwe C/U primary School. At the other activities are community meetings and ilo designed special meeting . Also we have managed to get new members of staff on board and they include Mr mayambala the new RYDA vocational skills Principal , Phiona is our new project secretary, Mr Kasoma Joseph our new DBRM officer . We have also approached ICRI Africa and Computer Aid International for possible support to the centre. I have started on the initiative to approach the ministry of gender, labour and social development for possible support . I know with the credit crunch this is not possible time to approach govt but its worthy trying. RYDA need alot of support both material and financial to strengthen its operational activities and RYDA staff have now the will and the desire to put in more.

March 2010

It Never Rains But It Pours

This old saying developed literal meaning during February. Some great things happened at RYDA but then there was rain...

Child Labour Project
As detailed in January News the International Labour Organisation has funded RYDA to help eliminate child labour in Uganda. We expect the partnership agreement, which had to be sent from Geneva, to be signed around the time you are reading this.

This is a wonderful opportunity for RYDA to do what they do best - work with children, work with communities, work with vulnerable families - to support every child to reach their full potential.

But there is a catch. RYDA must contribute significant dollars to the Child Labour Project over its 22 month life.

The people of St. Margaret's Uniting Church, Mooroolbark, Australia, invite you to join them in ensuring that this donation is never in doubt. To view, print and consider details, click on the star above. It will open a PDF invitation to commit to this opportunity.

After two years of struggle to keep the organisation working without sustained first world funding, Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director, and the Board, staff and children were joyful and relieved at the news of the grant. But then...

Down Came The Rain

February 22nd

This morning as I arrived at the RYDA centre, I was surprised to find that our Kasubi Hall which we have cherished over years has fallen down because of the heavy down pour for the week. The good thing is that no one died in it.
This has added injury to my heart. This happened when we needed the Kasubi Hall most. We used this Kasubi Hall for the Examination, recreation activities and training children every morning Enterpreneurship.
Children were all crying for the Kasubi Hall. Everyone is mourning the loss.
I will tell you more after I have settled because am confused and in a disarray.

kasubi Hall

Kasubi Hall was the community centre for the RYDA complex at Buloba. An education centre, a teaching centre, a worship centre and sometimes even a source of income when rented out for local occasions such as weddings.

Coming to work, as Geoffrey did, and finding it crumpled, is like you turning up to church on Sunday morning to discover your building had collapsed in a storm.

February 23rd

Indeed it's a mess here and the children have been cheated the place for worship and enjoyment in terms of the training. It is really so destructive the storms we have been having.
I had a sleepless night thinking about what I have to do in this challenging time. We have been settling to our new project - then this tragedy. Oh No! What challenge when we need this Kasubi most. It was a monument for all of us - the community and the RYDA staff and the children.
Yesterday we held a pray for the all day asking the almighty God to give us another opportunity to have another Kasubi built.
I have a little words to write as even the 100 plastic chairs were all broken due to the heavy lot falling.
I only have the almighty God to guide me and give the strength to stomach this great loss.
Please add your petition to this cry from the heart of Africa.

Global Fund for Children
And then, on February 24th, Sarah Ireland from Global Fund for Children confirmed that RYDA has been granted a Presidential Award of $US1000 for general support of the organisation. This money will be transferred some time in March. We hope it will go some way towards sorting out the kasubi mess.

GFC's mission is to advance the dignity of children and youth around the world and it pursues its mission by making small grants to innovative community-based organizations working with some of the world's most vulnerable children and youth.

Global Fund for Children made its first grants in 1997 using royalties from its children's book publishing venture. Since then, GFC's grantmaking capacity has grown dramatically, from $3,000 in 1997 to approximately $3.2 million during the 2008-2009 fiscal year. Since 1997, GFC has distributed more than $15 million in grants to more than 375 groups in 73 countries worldwide.

Thank you GFC for making Rubaga Youth Development Association one of your concerns. Every cent of your money will be well spent.

January 2010

A New Era

Things have changed for the better for the young people of Uganda. Several threads have come together, seemingly suddenly, in the last two weeks of January. The story goes like this...

1. Christmas Donation
Many readers and supporters gave RYDA Christmas Gift Certificates and sent their donations to RYDA through St. Margaret's Uniting Church. The church treasurer was able to transfer just over $US1100 just before Christmas.

Thank you to all who contributed.

2. International Labour Organisation (ILO) Application
As important as this donation was, and as much as Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director, would rather have spent a relaxing Christmas/New Year with his family, the donation was barely acknowledged and Geoffrey's holiday period was full of sleepless nights.

Through its International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), ILO invited RYDA (and other organisations) to apply for a 12 month grant to address child labour issues in two central districts of Uganda. There was no promise of success - only the need to work endless hours preparing a 30 page application with a 7 page supportive budget paper.

RYDA is a very experienced and professional NGO. Geoffrey and his team could only prepare the best possible application they could, even if all the work might come to nought.

Having just finished the draft, Geoffrey was contacted by IPEC at the beginning of the third week of January and asked to submit an application for a 22 month project. Almost overnight the application had to be rewritten, recosted and submitted. The application was now for $US66,121.

On the Friday of that week it was sent to IPEC head office in Geneva. On Saturday 23rd January Geoffrey sent this email to us:

It's now certain that the funding for the proposal is going to happen. ... Now the ball is now in RYDA hands to find the local contribution. The good thing is they will contribute to RYDA staff salaries for 22 months. This is coming as a blessing to me, as a sigh of relief, after struggling for all this two years to find the funding. Despite that there is still a hurdle to over come God has made to reach this far.
3. The Hurdle
The hurdle is that RYDA must contribute $US9,196 from its own sources over the 22 months. That is a condition of the grant. Further $US3500 of that must be available by February 16th. In part due to the Christmas donation above, $US1600 was already in the RYDA bank account.

As of Saturday 23rd RYDA was $US1900 short. As of Saturday 30th they were NOT.

4. January Donation
St. Margaret's congregation, among RYDA's longest serving supporters, received the news of the grant with thanks, joy and relief. It is a blessing that this consistently successful African organisation, which is committed to advocacy and practical support for orphaned and vulnerable street children, again has UN support that will allow it to reach its potential.

But what to do about the urgent need for $US1900 to complete the required RYDA contribution. A small amount had already entered the RYDA account since Christmas, but nowhere near enough. Over the year it would come, but it was needed by February 16th.

St. Margaret's Treasurer, Marj Hookey, an experienced African traveller herself, "...knows of no-one who can stretch a dollar as far for the good of a cause than Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune." She put a proposal to the Church Council and unanimously, in the sure and certain knowledge of the support of its congregation and readers of this web news, the church took sufficient funds from its other revenue sources and immediately transferred the gap amount to Kampala.

5. Your Opportunity
Get excited! St. Margaret's invites you to become personally involved in a project which intends by the end of 22 months that:

  1. 333 girls and boys will have been prevented from entering child labour.
  2. 167 girls and boys will have been withdrawn from the worst forms of child labour, rehabilitated, provided with psychosocial support, education and strengthened referral systems.
  3. Social protection measures for child labour affected families will be established and or strengthened through an Integrated Area Based Approach.
Begin now, so that you are with the RYDA Project from the start, and plan your giving for the next 22 months to include an amount which will help ensure the RYDA contribution to the IPEC grant will never be in doubt.
Send or transfer your donations to St. Margaret's as explained here. They will be regularly transferred to RYDA as lump sums. St. Margaret's pays its own bank fees and the fees at the Uganda end. It does not subtract that amount, or any other administrative cost, from donations.