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December 2011 / January 2012

Child Labour Project Completed
December 1st was the end date for the ILO child labour eradication pilot project in which RYDA has been involved. The funding has now ended and the board and staff of Rubaga Youth Development Association deserves all praise for demonstrating that it is possible to end child labour when the first world provides funding to support on-the-ground local experts to plan and execute using their local knowledge and expertise.

Through the 22 months of the project RYDA has instituted a multi-faceted approach which included:

  • working with educators in village communities to encourage young children to want to stay in school
  • working with village communities to develop income generating activities to lessen the perceived need to send children to labour instead of school
  • working with employers who already employed under-age workers, especially youths, to release them for vocational training
  • providing vocational training in several trades for released youths to government examination level, thus allowing them to have a wider range of life choices
  • seeking employment placements for each trained youth as a starting point for a more positive future with reasonable wage returns for labour
  • ...and more.
It is this broad-based, collaborative networking approach that has led to:
  • 333 girls and boys being prevented from entering child labour through improving education opportunities
  • 167 girls and boys being withdrawn from the worst forms of child labour, rehabilitated, provided with psycho-social support, education and strengthened referral systems
  • over 50 of these youths being offered government approved training in various trades at the RYDA Centre
  • social protection measures for child labour affected families being established and/or strengthened.
Can these successes be continued and repeated.
Absolutely YES ... but only with first world funding.
  • RYDA has made application to the UN International Labour Organisation for funding for a Phase II project.
  • St. Margaret's Uniting Church has sent a letter of support to be included in the application.
Now we wait.

The RYDA students are also waiting. They sat their government examinations in trades such as electrical, carpentry, bricklaying, art & design, hairdressing, catering and so on at the end of November. Like students all over the world, they are now anxiously waiting for their results. We wish each of them the best possible outcome and a healthy, prosperous and secure post-graduation life.

Kasubi Hall Rises
Do you remember that Kasubi Hall was crushed by tropical rain at the beginning of 2010? Do you remember that RYDA staff, students and friends rolled up their sleeves and began the recreation?

By their own hands, rebuilding hope and spirit with every brick.

Well now look at it! ... Not finished but ready for the next phases - roofing, doors & windows, plastering, electrical circuitry.

Along the way they have been guided by local building experts. Geoffrey writes:
(In the beginning) ... We took the plan for approval to the district planner and it was approved. In Uganda you can't build any structure without the approval and we have an architect who checks on every step you undertake on the building. So no worries. RYDA has over the years had an engineer who supervises every work we do and he is the one we are currently using. (Kasubi hall roof) will have some support in the middle too and during the next phase this has been catered for. The building will stand a test of time.
  • The roofing phase will cost around $US6,000 and, as reported last month, that money has been supplied by the amazing Rev Runs for RYDA result.
  • Doors and windows will be around $US3000, plastering about another $US3000 and electrical circuitry another $US1200.
Considering what has been achieved so far in such a short time, especially while still continuing the daily struggle to house, clothe, feed and train street youths, there is not much more to go.
You could help raise Kasubi Hall by using RYDA Christmas Gift Certificates this year. Please click the image to find out how.
Support RYDA this Christmas.
Click the image to discover how.

Glen Waverley Helps Again
The wonderful congregation of Glen Waverley Uniting Church share the proceeds of their annual fete among charities chosen by their congregation. Following a presentation to their UCAF group at the beginning of the year, the group gave $750 dollars to RYDA. But their generosity didn't stop there. They made a case to the fete committee and RYDA was adopted as a worthy charity for this year.

A further ...$500... has just been received.
Thank you Glen Waverley Uniting Church.

Further Donations Sent
St. Margaret's Uniting Church gathers donations for RYDA and sends them off in large amounts to minimise bank fees. It also pays bank fees at both ends from the congregation's other funding sources. The Glen Waverley donation was added to others from many caring people who celebrate RYDA's successful work and at the beginning of December a total of


was transferred to RYDA. $US1519.00 was specified by donors to be for the Child Labour Project and the balance is for RYDA's general use. St. Margaret's requested, and RYDA has agreed, that $US2000 would be a further contribution to Raising Kasubi Hall.

Thank you everyone who has contributed to this early Christmas gift.

Kalinda Children Sell for Uganda
At Kalinda Primary School they have been busy learning about the business world. Not through 'chalk and talk' but by actually starting their own businesses. Their inspirational teachers encouraged groups to devise, plan and carry out business opportunities that would attract clients from within the school community. All money raised was to go to charity and RYDA is one of the charities they have chosen. They have raised $639 which was presented to a St. Margaret's Church representative on Monday December 19th.

Thank you Lyse Carlson and the wonderful teachers and children of Kalinda.

Billanook College Plans a Visit
And here is a sneak preview for 2012. A contingent of Billanook College students will be travelling to Kenya in April 2012 with their Chaplain, Jennie Gordon, to attend a conference. Afterwards they are planning to visit the RYDA Centre before returning home. Jennie is a former minister of St. Margaret's and has welcomed Geoffrey to her home. Now the cycle of life and love is turning. Tune in next year for more information.

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

November 2011

Run Done & $... Raised. Wow!

The Finish Line
Photo provided by www.Marathon-Photos.Com and used with permission.

$US 7,098.88

Yes, read it again! When converted to US dollars, the currency of choice in Uganda, Rev Runs for RYDA raised $7,098.88. So an uncountable number of generous people who gave what they could afford resulted in Reverend Arnie Wierenga running at the rate of $336.44 per kilometre, which is about 34 cents for every metre.

Stories from Rev Runs
Graeme asked his golfing mates, Scott asked colleagues at work, Bev & Adrian and Arnold knocked on doors in their respective retirement villages, many people just dug deeply into their own pockets. We don't know how far the Spirit spread the word about this run, but we do know the ripples on the pond have travelled far and wide with the one message.

Arnie, who is case you have forgotten is the minister at St. Margaret's Mooroolbark, got a phone call almost two weeks after the run. He has no idea how the man got his mobile number.

Hello, it's Arnie.
G'day it's X here. I've been reading about your run in the Warranwood paper. I think you're doing a great thing. I know how much need there is in Africa and it sounds like this RYDA mob is on the ground doing something about it. I want to give a hundred dollars.
That's wonderful X. Would you like the details for posting or for transfer over the internet?
Well, that's the problem. I don't do computers and I'm disabled and can't get about easily. Could you come over and pick it up?
Yes Arnie did visit and the Third Man (see October News) brought two more people together in the unified purpose of making a difference in the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children in Uganda.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for, or gave to, Rev Runs for RYDA. This massive total is made up of many small gifts gathered in the one spirit.
Dear Doug,
I could not hide my excitement together with the RYDA project staff. Indeed it is a blessing from God that you still support my dream and desires which are endless and sometimes taxing for you . This is a dream come true and a celebration for all that this has happened.

This morning I have held a meeting with the project staff concerning the Funds. It was resolved that we spend 5,000 US dollars on rebuilding Kasubi Hall to do the beaming, and constructing it to the roofing level. With that amount it will will be ready for roofing. Then 1,000 US dollars will be set aside to pay for electricity bills and 1,000 US dollars to purchase the food items, thus making the budget to 7,000 US dollars.

On behalf the entire RYDA Board, Secretariat and the children we are very grateful.

Today some work on the Kasubi Hall will commence as planned. The pictorial progress will be sent to you as the work goes on.

We want you to extend our sincere appreciation to the financial supporters and we want to assure you that it will be used purposely for the above mentioned itemized activities for the benefit of the vulnerable children under our care. A progressive report on the same will be sent to you.

Thanks for this support and your regular continuous support over the years.

Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director

Editor's Note
Kasubi Hall, referred to in the letter above, is the spiritual, social and educational heart of the Rubaga Youth Development Association community. Or it was until it was crushed by weeks of rain at the beginning of 2010. Children and staff gathered in the hall every morning for prayers and daily organising. It was used as a theatre, learning space, church and as an income generating activity if rented to local organisations. Kasubi was built entirely by the hands of the RYDA staff, children and supporters and had stood at the heart of the compound for years. Its collapse affected everyone's spirit. But immediately, even though disheartened, the team set to work clearing the mess and rebuilding the brick sections of the walls. By September 2010, that work was completed. Now the success of Rev Runs for RYDA means that Australians are not only rebuilding a structure, they are rebuilding the heart of a community.

Lydia Comes Home
October 23rd 2011 will turn out to be a critical day in the history of RYDA. On that day Geoffrey met with Lydia and "...she has agreed to work with us starting from January 2012. In November she will be with us for orientation. I hope this will pave a way for me to retire from the organisation three years from now."

Geoffrey continues:

Lydia was orphaned at seven and is now aged 25 years. She is one of the many vulnerable children RYDA has helped to turn their dreams into reality. Indeed for Lydia the story is a successful one. RYDA and its development partners have made this possible. Her Primary and Secondary education was supported by Cathy and Peter Millar who were members of St Margaret's Uniting Church. They even visited her in Uganda.

Following these years, the quarterly disbursement and Executive Director of RYDA's personal support allowed her education to continue to Advanced level and later on to University. Lydia has a Bachelor in Social Work & Social Administration (SWASA) obtained from Bugema University and a Bachelor in Human Resource Management obtained from St Lawrence University.

RYDA has a lot of hope especially now that she has shown interest in joining the RYDA team and she will be very instrumental in shaping the organisation especially now that new ideas are needed.

Lydia has now started her work in earnest and writes:

Its me LYDIA who is writing to you to let you know that I have started my orientation months on the RYDA projects as I prepare for the 2012. I will be busy doing literature reviews and developing my Annual Programme for both the centre and in field.

I want to pray for my part in the organisation I cherish. The major problems today are to meet the critical needs of the organisation, strengthen the youth to youth network, capacity building for the existing programmes and to adapt to a new direction of RYDA while specifically sustaining the existing programme. I want to also make sure of the Scripture Union, Music, Dance and Drama, better programming for the vulnerable young people and promotion of RYDA's capacities and successes.

My upcoming task is enormous but fund-raising is now top on the agenda. I for one want to see RYDA grow in two directions - human resources and financial resources - to facilitate the new year dreams.

I need your support spiritually, financially and technically. With two computers being shared amongst the staff I need to be supported in this area to facilitate me in the work. I have two months to do this. I hope to be a regular communicator and your advice and support will be highly appreciated.

Lydia, Project Social Worker, RYDA

United Nations ILO Child Labour Project Ending
The pilot programme funded by the UN through its International Labour Organisation/ International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (ILO/IPEC) ends on December 1st. After meeting every one of its objectives detailed in the original application for funding, RYDA has shown that it is possible to build an integrated, community-based program that prevents young children from entering child labour and rehabilitates older children who have already been ensnared in the practice. Congratulations RYDA Board, staff, children and supporters.

In less than one month the UN moves on, at least for now, funding stops and RYDA ... keeps on advocating for the orphaned and disadvantaged of Uganda. Pray that their work will be blessed with sustained donations and support.

It is pleasing to note that Workaid, a UK based charity with an office in Kampala, which supplies refurbished tools and equipment to needy people, has accepted, and is considering, an application for support from RYDA. St. Margaret's has contributed a letter of support for that application.

Support RYDA this Christmas.
Click the image to discover how.

October 2011

October 9th: Rev Runs for RYDA
Have you found sponsors for Arnie's run yet? There is still time. Here's one story from someone who has been helping.
I decided to use a sunny Saturday afternoon to knock on all the doors in my street. I popped a couple of sponsorship forms into a clipboard, picked up a pen and headed out to tell the RYDA story and Arnie's support for it. This was going to be a bit of an adventure because, like most of us, I know my immediate neighbours but no one else in the street.

Some people weren't home and some politely listened before explaining that they gave their humanitarian donations through their own church. Wherever I went though people were genuinely interested that a minister would live out his faith in this way to support an organisation doing God's work on the streets of Africa. After an hour and a half I came home uplifted by the people I met and with $111.30 either given or promised.

It would only take twenty people meeting their neighbours like this and the sponorship total for Rev Runs for RYDA would be touching $2000. What will the total be???

More details at this link:

Rev Runs for RYDA

Contribute your donation by EFT or cheque.
... OR ...
Collect other sponsors and send a larger amount.

RYDA on Facebook
The Executive Director and Board of Rubaga Youth Development Association are committed to enabling orphaned and vulnerable children to reach their full potential in a positive, life changing environment. They are constantly looking for ways to connect with the first world and the latest is to secure a place on Face Book. Visit

RYDA on Facebook

and send the link to all your friends.

One of the current posts on the RYDA Facebook Page tells us that the organisation has achieved 90% of the objectives it listed for International Labour Organisation-funded child labour project. It expects to achieve 100% of those objectives by the time the funding runs out at the end of the year.

A Christmas Story
The Seccull family are thinking ahead. Together they have planned to give RYDA Gift Certificates as presents this Christmas. The family knows they have everything they need and can get anything they want. But the children and youths who are supported by RYDA can't. In return for several certificates to give as poignant, purposeful gifts, the family has made a substantial donation to RYDA through St. Margaret's.

Is it time you thought about your Christmas gifts too?

The Third Man
Arnie Wierenga and Ron Seccull have never met ... but there is a third man common to their lives. His name is Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune and in different places and under different circumstances, Arnie and Ron both met the RYDA Executive Director in April this year during his Australian visit.

Geoffrey's wisdom, experience, commitment and passion, but most of all the stories he told of RYDA's successes and challenges, changed their lives.

We can't all meet Geoffrey personally, but this web site is designed to help you investigate and support RYDA's work. You might not run a half-marathon for RYDA and you might not be ready to give certificates as Christmas gifts, but within this site you will find reason for inspiration and prayer.


September 2011

Rev Runs for RYDA
October 9th is Independence Day in Uganda and it is also the date of the Melbourne Marathon.

On that day, Rev. Arnie Wierenga from St. Margaret's Uniting Church will be running the half-marathon to raise money for RYDA's on-going work with orphaned and vulnerable youth and children. Arnie has been training for months and will have run at least 1000km in preparation by October.

46-year-old Arnie is giving the time, energy, fitness and tenacity that God has given him. As he explains in the September issue of Crosslight, Page 6:

I see running for RYDA as a way to live out my faith. It is something I can do to make a difference and reminds the wider church community that we can make a difference together.

[Crosslight is the newspaper of the Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania]

You are invited to help Arnie make that difference.

More details at this link:

Rev Runs for RYDA

Contribute your donation by EFT or cheque.
... OR ...
Collect other sponsors and send a larger amount.

Dear Rev Arnie,
Greetings from Rubaga Youth Development Association (RYDA) staff and children. We have informed about the upcoming event. On behalf the Board, staff and direct beneficiaries we write to applaud your initiative and we pray for the good health and that your dream becomes a reality.

The positive change begins today, and it can never be stopped. The photo sent to us while preparing for this upcoming event will be always be blessed and honoured by our Lord.

... May almighty God be the guide in this dreaming. Everyone here at our Centre we will be praying for you that God will make your dream a reality.

Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director, RYDA

RYDA Proposals & Applications
While the staff perform their daily services feeding, clothing, counselling and training former street youths and others in their care, the Executive Director and Board are imaginative and relentless in their pursuit of funding to continue the work. More than fifteen years of service to the orphaned and vulnerable of Uganda demonstrates that this NGO can do.

But only with the help of first world funding!
You are invited to take time to study some of the material RYDA has prepared in the last month. You will find their presentations professional, detailed and experienced. These proposals are awaiting a donor. These document can also be accessed from Our Purpose on Paper section of the Index page.

During this month RYDA has also made specific applications for support to Crossroads, Hong Kong and DKA, Austria. Both these applications have been supported by a letter from St. Margaret's Uniting Church. Please pray that these applications are successful. Not all applications are; in fact, very few are successful. For example, in the past month Art for AIDS International informed RYDA that they were unable to assist. The Board is still awaiting the result of application to MIVA, Netherlands, which was reported in last months news.

August 2011

News from the Director

Dear Supporters,
This month the ILO Child Labour Project monitoring team visited the organisation to see for themselves what RYDA has achieved so far. The feed back we got was that RYDA has followed the guidelines though there was need to strengthen household income generation activities. Also there was also need to do more on sensitization of the community members so that they fit in the exit strategy which is 4 months from now.

RYDA's Director was invited to train the youth leaders who attended the youth day celebrations held at Arua, West Nile. The leaders were moved by the participatory nature of the training the Director gave them. The training took place at Desert Breeze Hotel, Arua. (Editor's note: Arua is in the northwest corner of Uganda.)

We also filled and submitted the project proposal for new vehicle to MIVA-Netherlands for consideration. We were very happy for the St. Margaret's Church writing a recommendation letter to accompany the application. We are keeping the hands crossed praying for this application to be successful.

We had a two weeks of follow-up meetings with the households of our beneficiaries. The feedback was also encouraging. People were happy to see the transformation RYDA has made to these children together with its development partners both in Uganda and abroad.

It has started raining here in Uganda and its heavy. The prices of the household commodities has gone up. Currently one kilo of sugar in Uganda is two (2) dollars and maize flour, our daily meal, is one and half dollars a kilo. This the major challenge we are facing today at the center.

This month we received the the Crosslight Newspaper and Living Today in Mooroolbark magazine. (Editor's note: See July News.) The RYDA community was happy to note the love the Australian friends have done.

Our social worker - Claire Agoriat - and the nurse - Nabirye Faridah have given birth to two lovely girl children and our programme coordinator Joanita Nabasumba is also expecting soon. So you know what it means when three staff members are out on maternity leave. Especially at a time when we need the service more. Please continue to pray for our RYDA children, staff and community services.

Best wishes,
Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune

Child Labour Exit Strategy
In July RYDA applied to the ILO for an additional $US11,906 to construct a sensible, secure exit strategy for the pilot Child Labour Project. RYDA has been granted only an additional $US3,500 to strengthen the income generating activities in the villages. There is no indication of support for the additional $US8,000 which includes around $US4000 for the former labourers receiving retraining. This would pay for exam fees and materials and to feed them through their examination month. Geoffrey has asked for prayers that he can raise that money.

MIVA Application
MIVA is a Dutch charity which provides vehicle and computer support for NGOs. They supported RYDA in 1992 and 2002 and we very much hope they will once again provide a vehicle to replace RYDA's hard-working but aging 4WD utility. Read St. Margaret's letter of support to MIVA to discover the value of consistently and continuously standing beside RYDA.

July 2011

Child Labour Project
RYDA is applying to the UN International Labour Organisation sponsors of the pilot project for an additional $11,906 to complete this project in a sensible and satisfactory way over an additional three months.

As previously reported the organisation has been very successful in battling child labour in the three districts it was assigned. However, additional support is needed to complete this phase properly. Some points RYDA makes in its application are:

  • Lack of school lunches for the 333 youngest children who have been placed in schools and provided with education materials, rather than be 'out' where they can be tempted by the pathetic wages offered for child work.
  • Global economic circumstances forcing up prices for basis items such as food, clothing and instructional materials required at the RYDA Vocational Centre to support the reskilling of the 50 youths already withdrawn from the worst forms of child labour.
  • Given the educational history of some of these 50, more time being needed for them to comprehend and benefit from their training.
  • Strengthening networks, resources and training in villages for the 75 households undergoing training in developing income generating activities so that they are less likely to feel a need to send their children into labour.
Please pray that, for the sake of the children, this application is successful. And please keep the children in mind each time you review what you have to give.

St. John's Café

Noelene Randall, a member at St. John's Uniting Church, Mt. Waverley, brought RYDA's need to the attention of St. John's Café committee. The result was a recent donation of ... $500. On behalf of RYDA we offer huge thanks to Noelene and the committee for this support. Through friends and relatives the committee has heard of many worthwhile overseas areas of extreme need over the years and their list of beneficiaries is extensive.

St. John's Café is a special outreach. Find out more at:
It is open on the 1st and 2nd Wednesdays of each month. Bookings are essential.

Crosslight Touches Hearts
The July issue of Crosslight, the newspaper of the Uniting Church in Victoria & Tasmania, devoted the back page to the fifteen year relationship between Rubaga Youth Development Association and St. Margaret's Uniting Church, Mooroolbark. The article was based on an interview Deb Bennett, Editor, conducted with Geoffrey Kyeyune, RYDA Executive Director, during Geoffrey's visit in April. For the most part it is presented in Geoffrey's own words and is quite moving.

Three people from far flung congregations who read the piece responded immediately with donations that total ... $500, each indicating in their accompanying letter that their hearts had been touched by how much RYDA is able to achieve with so little.

St. Margaret's members are touched too. We are uplifted and strengthened when donations like this, coming from 'left field', confirm that the Spirit is ensuring others are walking beside us in the continuing journey with RYDA.

More from Singularity
A similar unexpected gift this month came through St. John's Uniting Church, Cowes which has been journeying with St. Margaret's through the months of the Child Labour Project. As a result of the recent Singularity concert held at Cowes, a further $60 was sent for RYDA. That brings the total from the concerts at these two churches to ... $1620.

There When Needed
Every cent raised for RYDA goes to RYDA. St. Margaret's even makes sure that an amount is added to cover bank fees at the Ugandan end.
  • Some of the funds are targeted - for example for the child labour local contribution that was recently completed.
  • Some of the funds are every day essentials - for example food, bedding, clothing, instructional materials.
  • And some of the funds are required in urgent or emergency situations - for example when the 4WD utility used to reach villages needed the gearbox replaced immediately.
Because you have been generous, St. Margaret's had the $US600 needed and it was transferred along with a further $US400 for other unexpected extra repair costs or daily essentials. In days the program to support village based income generating activities described above, was back in business.

Rebuild Kasubi
For years Kasubi Hall was the spiritual, educational and community centre of the RYDA Vocational Centre at Buloba. They built it themselves with local and donated materials as a worship centre, performance centre, classroom space, performance space and relaxation area. It even generated some income when hired by the outside community. In February 2010 it was crushed to the ground by the weight of tropical rain. By September 2010 RYDA's own hands had partially rebuilt it. But it remains unfinished.

Now money is needed:

  • Beaming to roofing level - $US5000
  • Roofing (timber & iron sheets) - $US7000
  • Doors, windows, plastering & finishing - $US4000
Please pray that this money can be found.
Rebuilding Kasubi will rebuild the heart of the community.

Books From Canada
Great news this week from Entebbe Airport. Cartons of books weighing 100kg have arrived from Canada. Organised by Vince Bennici, the books were sent from Seneca College, Faculty of Continuing Education & Training, Toronto. These current textbooks, which were provided to Seneca for review by publishers, are very, very welcome as part of the training program at the RYDA Vocational Training Centre. Seneca has donated the books and the significant freight cost. Thank you Vince and Seneca for a wonderful gift.

June 2011
World Day Against Child Labour

RYDA recently hosted the World Day Against Child Labour, a bold and highly successful initiative influencing all those who attended. On Friday 10th June RYDA was joined by 12 partner schools, local leaders and child labour beneficiaries for a day of celebration.

The cover of the report you see here is linked to an excellent, short, highly visual report of the event. It was prepared by Geoffrey Kyeyune and the team. (Click to open the PDF file to read on screen or print.)

We strongly suggest you read it to keep up to date with the energy and enthusiasm of the RYDA administrative team you support and the talents, hopes and dreams of the children they support.

Well done RYDA Team!

Singularity is a Success!

As reported in previous issues Singularity sang The Gondoliers in two concerts to support the work of RYDA. Between them, these two Sunday afternoons of musical merriment - one at St. John's Uniting Church, Cowes, and one at St. Margaret's Uniting Church, Mooroolbark - raised...
Wow!! A big thank you from RYDA staff and children to all who gave their time to rehearse and perform and all those who attended.

A special thank you also to the Phillip Island Advertiser which published such an encouraging article about the Cowes concert a week in advance. We are sure attendance was influenced by it.

Click the image to access the PDF file.

Living Today in Mooroolbark

Doug. Lewis, Editor of this top class community magazine, interviewed Geoffrey and Solomon during their Australian visit in April. His report is one of the best we have read about the work of Rubaga Youth Development Association.

Click the image to access a PDF file.

The source of this wonderful article is Living Today in Mooroolbark, No. 36, June 2011. It is published as a quarterly service to the community by Mooroolbark Christian Fellowship. Local residents look forward to its positive, friendly, good news issues. The RYDA article is reproduced here with permission.

Glen Waverley UCAF

The ladies of the Glen Waverley Uniting Church Adult Fellowship first heard of RYDA's work with orphaned and vulnerable children when they invited us to give a presentation to their March meeting. Since then, led by Diana Coles, they have continued to pray and work for RYDA's success in the its pilot Child Labour Project with the United Nations International Labour Organisation.

Their recent generous donation of ... $750 ... indicates just how much they care about orphaned and vulnerable children being offered education, training and pyscho-social support for a positive future of their own choice. Again a big thank you from those children and the totally committed RYDA administration. Your support inspires them.

And The Result?

These donations, other special ones - $300 from one person, $150 from Bronwyn's friends who gave a gift certificate for her 40th birthday - to every other donation of any size, have grown to produce just what we wanted in the short term.

In February 2010, St. Margaret's took on the challenge of making sure that the local contribution RYDA needed to match the ILO grant for the Child Labour Project would never be in doubt. Over 22 months $US9,196 had to be raised.

The time is not up, but the money is in the bank - RYDA's bank!

It has been a fantastic effort by so many supporters. Thank you all.

So is it over? ... No!

Currently the ILO have an end of year date for the cessation of funding. There is, at this moment, no follow up commitment to the $US66,000 that has driven RYDA's measurably successful work. Measurable by:

  • 333 girls and boys prevented from entering child labour
  • 167 girls and boys withdrawn from child labour and offered vocational and life skill training at the RYDA centre or with local artisans.
  • targeted families trained in income generating activities to obviate the need for allowing children into labour.
  • strengthen and building community support networks
  • ...and more, all of which has been achieved since February 2010 and continues today.
The ILO might leave, but RYDA will still be on the ground doing whatever it can with whatever funding it can find. Despite every attempt to be self-sustaining, there may never be a time when RYDA does not need our support and...

...there will never be a time
when our support dollar does not return $1.10 value.

May 2011

Support People Like These

RYDA's Child Labour project funded by the International Labour Organisation and your donations has already: Provided 333 primary age children with scholastic materials and other support to ensure they stay in school. Removed, through consultation, 50+ youths from child labour situations and offered them government approved training in various trades at the RYDA Centre. Here you can meet two of the young people you are supporting. The information is taken from case studies RYDA is preparing as part of the project.


Age: 17

Place of residence:


Former school:

Level ended: Senior (Secondary) 2

Form of child labor a child engaged in:

Namakula is a double orphan who lost her parents at an early age of 9, whereby she had a chance to see her mother who died at a level of primary three (P 3). Her grandmother took the responsibility to take care of them. Unfortunately the grandmother died when she was in senior one (S 1) third term. Since then Harriet and her youngest sister lived an independent life in the house of their late grandmother with Good Samaritan who used to stay with their grandmother before she died. This lady raised them like her own children and she is also currently paying fees for her younger sister and they call her mother because she is like their own relative. Harriet dropped out of school in senior two to help her adopted mother to raise more money to help the sister who was at a lower level of education in order to prevent her from dropping out, so she had to assist her mother to sell charcoal to increase on the family income to cater for the basic necessities. Harriet was withdrawn from child labour and attached to RYDA to acquire skills in hair dressing and she hopes to start a saloon in order to realize her dreams.


Age: 16

Place of residence:


Former school: SCHOOL DROP OUT

Level ended: Primary 4

Form of child labor a child engaged in:

Lutimba is now pursuing a certificate in Art and Design at RYDA vocational skills centre. Prior to his coming to RYDA, he was staying with his mother in Kasanga village in Namayumba Sub County after the death of his father. He was born in a family of eight children where he is the 4th. At his early age of 10, he was discontinued from school because his mother could not afford his school fees and therefore 2 of his siblings stayed in school as he started working to earn a living and help his mother. He had lost hope in education until RYDA came to their village sensitizing and registering children in child labour. He likes his course and he wants to finish it and become a recognized artist.

Singularity Sings for Africa

To continue your support for RYDA's work come along to one these two great Sunday afternoons of mirth, merriment and music.

Singularity sings Gilbert & Sullivan's The Gondoliers to raise funds for the RYDA Child Labour Project and its broader work.

St. Margaret's, Mooroolbark
Sunday May 22nd, 2:30pm

St. John's, Cowes
Sunday June 5th, 2:00pm

Bring a friend ... in fact, bring a dozen friends.
Singularity was formed in 2003 as an SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) a cappella choir, based in the Dandenong Ranges area. It has a membership of around thirty voices and performs a wide repertoire at around twenty performances per year. Performances are always for charity and the group's gift of time and talent has raised significant funds for many groups over its history.

Don't miss this opportunity to enjoy
a great afternoon and support a great cause.

Local Contribution NOT in Doubt

The money is not yet in hand, but St. Margaret's is now confident that with your support through these concerts and other promised donations and continuing support, every cent of the $US9,196 RYDA had to raise to match the UN International Labour Organisation grant will be raised.

Perhaps there will even be more than the grant requires, but every cent of it will be used to support RYDA's on-going work.

We know of no other organisation that can make a dollar work harder than RYDA does, and no other organisation more reliable in choosing the best way to use the 'dollar of the moment'.

Thank you to everyone who is supporting. Keep up the good work.

All Purpose Gift Certificate

It was Bronwyn's idea. For her 40th birthday present she asked her friends to donate to RYDA. But we only had Christmas Gift Certificates available for her friends to give to offer as a memory.

Well we soon fixed that. Now anyone can print, donate and give our All Purpose Gift Certificate for any special occasion (PDF file).

April 2011

Father & Son Make New Friends

Hi Doug,
Just a note to let you know how much I enjoyed the day at St John's Sunday last. I was really pleased to meet such a man as Geoffrey and was also amazed that Solomon could handle himself in the manner that he did. I feel that I would like to get involved with helping you raise funds to help this cause and I am already thinking of ways that I can assist.
Ron (Cowes)

Geoffrey and Solomon write below about their experiences renewing old friendships and forming new ones in their journey to broaden the Australian support base for the orphaned and vulnerable children of Uganda.

Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director and son Solomon.
Photo by Doug Lewis for Living Today in Mooroolbark.

Singularity Sings for Africa

Not one, but two ways to have a great Sunday afternoon of mirth, merriment and music.

Singularity sings Gilbert & Sullivan's The Gondoliers to raise funds for the RYDA Child Labour Project and broader general work.

St. Margaret's, Mooroolbark
Sunday May 22nd, 2:30pm

St. John's, Cowes
Sunday June 5th, 2:00pm

Please put one of these in your diary.
For more details on either concert contact Doug. Williams (see above).

Singularity was formed in 2003 as an SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) a cappella choir, based in the Dandenong Ranges area. It has a membership of around thirty voices and performs a wide repertoire at around twenty performances per year. Performances are always for charity and the group's gift of time and talent has raised significant funds for many groups over its history.

On the dates above Singularity is inspired to support an African success story.

RYDA has successfully worked for over fifteen years to offer life skill and vocational skill training to orphaned and vulnerable street children in Uganda. Its work has been recognised by the United Nations, with whom it is currently executing a pilot program to eliminate child labour from three districts of the capital, Kampala.

Don't miss this opportunity to enjoy a great afternoon and support a great cause.

Two Weeks Experience - A Real Opportunity

Two weeks experience in Melbourne, Australia, was yet another opportunity for Rubaga Youth Development Association (RYDA) and my family. I am grateful for all people who supported us physically, financially, and morally to make it a success.

New doors and opportunities for RYDA activities/programs were indeed opened to many church communities and individual supporters after internalizing fully all that RYDA has to offer to young people in Uganda. RYDA's successful stories and challenges for the future were shared. Question time was exciting and involving.

For St Margaret's Uniting Church, Mooroolbark and St John's Uniting Church, Cowes, who have been fully involved and supportive in the child labour project, highlights were given and the critical need to support child labour elimination in Uganda was envisaged. Interviews with Deb Bennett, Crosslight editor, Doug Lewis, Living in Mooroolbark editor, Brian Amos from Eastern FM and video interview undertaken by Michael D'Rosario to enable them to tell the RYDA story spiced it all. In these ways, those who were not reached during the visit will have a chance to know about the RYDA work.

Various interactions and new connections strengthened and brought new synergies, trust, hope and love in what we are doing back home in Uganda. The hospitality shown to us by our hosts in keeping our good health, daily upkeep and realization of the program activities will be always remembered. Tourist visits to explore more of the Australian beauty put us in a good mood. An opportunity given to us to visit family members and friends of our hosts and personal/organization donations will always remain in our memories. Opportunity given by the two ministers during the church services at Mooroolbark and Cowes was lovely and commendable.

I don't personally have doubt that such an opening and wonderful connections made, will reflect much on how we think about RYDA future directions. May Almighty God Bless all those people who hosted and welcomed us for their positive sharing of resources and advice.

Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune
Executive Director - RYDA

Out Of Africa
It's so interesting to let you know that my two week experience in Melbourne, Australia, was the best opportunity I have ever got in ages. I have learnt a lot about how things are done outside Africa and it has also answered the many questions that had kept running through my mind before I came.

Every single day should have been memorable because there was lots of places to visit like the Healesville Sanctuary, the Aquarium in the city, the Dandenong Ranges, the wineries and Phillip Island. I also got a chance to get on the train to go to the city of Melbourne and that was so cool. In my trip too, I have met people who have helped my dad for pretty much a long time like Black Douglas, Ina, the beautiful congregation of St. Margaret's Uniting Church and also St. John's Uniting church.

Wow, the schools I visited were so good and I loved the organisation that was in the structures and the way the different programmes transpired was amazing.

In this trip I have learnt that our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We keep on asking ourselves, who am I to be gorgeous, intelligent, brilliant - actually who are you not to be. I have learnt that we were born to make manifest of God's glory and as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As I do conclude I want to thank my dad, Douglas and Ina, Carol and Terry who hosted us, for their continued love and support for RYDA and also not forgetting the different donors who have taken the initiative to see to it that the vulnerable children in Uganda grow up to see a bright future ahead of them. I love you all and may the good Lord continue to see you through all your endeavours.

Semanda Solomon Kelvin Kyeyune

A final blessing from Arnie Wierenga, St. Margaret's Minister.
Arnie's T-shirt is one of several sent as gifts from RYDA children
who were, until recently, in hazardous child labour situations.
St. Margaret's Uniting Church wishes to thank:
  • the congregations of St. Margaret's and St. John's who supported this visit in prayerful and practical ways
  • those individuals who have contributed to almost $800 offered in donations during various presentations
  • the donors of two notebook computers taken back to Uganda as hand luggage
  • those who gave clothing, tennis balls, stationery, text books and a variety of other practical items which contributed to more than 70kg of checked baggage
  • Emirates for their generous baggage allowances
  • various media representatives who are planning to continue disseminating the RYDA story
  • everyone who allowed their heart to be touched by the story presented through this visit
  • and the Ruthford and Koetsier/Wiliams families and friends for hosting and hospitality.

March 2011

Let Me Introduce You To...

Solomon Kelvin Semanda
Eldest son of Geoffrey Kyeyune

Solomon will be visiting Australia with Geoffrey in March. He introduces himself like this...

Dear Doug,

I write with pleasure to extend my sympathetic appreciation to you for having given me the opportunity to visit Australia to see the people who have helped my father for many years.

Could you imagine my little sisters Doreen and Daniella visiting Australia before me? A challenging phenomenon for the last 4 years but I have kept the dream. Thanks to you and other partners who have made this possible.

First of all let me briefly give you my bio data. I was born January 1992 at Namirembe Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. I did my nursery education at City Nursery located in Nakulabye the suburb of the city. I then joined Hormidallens Primary school for my primary education (7 years) and Secondary Education at St. Lawrence Secondary Education College (Uganda Education Certificate O- Level) and my Advanced Level Education (U.A.C.E). I have just received my exam results and I gained 14 points. I am hoping this will take me to University.

In Senior One I was Time-keeper Prefect and Senior 3/4 a Sanitary Prefect. At Advanced Level I was a Head Prefect and this has given me a chance to develop the leadership qualities.

While in Australia if possible it will pleasing to meet school children , head teachers and school administrators to compare with what is happening in Uganda.

If you would like Solomon to speak with your students in the weeks of March 21 or 28 , please contact Doug. Williams, 9726 6968,, ASAP to make arrangements.
Help Eliminate Child Labour

Geoffrey will speak at two public meetings about the current, United Nations supported, Child Labour Project and the wider work of RYDA. Please try to attend one of these.

Opportunity 1: St. Margaret's Uniting Church, Mooroolbark

Date: Tuesday March 29th
Time: 7:30 PM
Place: St. Margaret's Uniting Church, Hull Road, Mooroolbark
A light supper will be served. Contact Doug. Williams (see above) for further details and, if possible, to confirm your attendance.

Opportunity 2: St. John's Uniting Church, Cowes

Date: Sunday April 3rd
Place: St. John's Uniting Church, Chapel Street, Cowes
Join us for
    ...worship with Geoffrey at 10:00am
and/or    ...'bring & share lunch' with Geoffrey from 11:30am
and/or    ...Geoffrey's presentation from 12:15pm

Presentation at Glen Waverley Uniting Church

A huge thank you to the ladies of Glen Waverley UCAF for their welcome on March 1st. Around 50 dedicated, interested and interesting Christian ladies welcomed me warmly as I retold the story of RYDA and the current Child Labour Project. It was a wonderful morning. Special thanks to the 'two Barbaras' for initiating and organising it and for the group's donation to RYDA's work. A warm special thanks also to the member who pressed a personal donation into my hand.

February 2011

Welcome back to the RYDA Newsletter for 2011. We are trusting in God that the endeavours of 2010, which proved so successful in many fields for RYDA, will continue to grow through 2011. In particular we pray for complete success for the child labour project partnership with the United Nations International Labour Organisation. The grant has a little over 12 months to run and there is much to be done.
Visit To Australia

Fantastic! Geoffrey Kyeyune, Executive Director, is able to visit Australia again. He will be arriving on March 19 and will be available for appointments for the two weeks that follow. Geoffrey will be accompanied by his eldest son, Solomon, who is in his teenage years. We are so fortunate that every few years we are able to get our news first hand about this wonderful organisation, which, through the movement of the Holy Spirit, is an African success story.

If you would like to meet Geoffrey, or have him present to your group, please contact Doug. Williams as below to make arrangements.
Of course we will also make sure Geoffrey gets some R & R time.

Public Meeting: Help Eliminate Child Labour

St. Margaret's Uniting Church invites you to a presentation by Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director, Rubaga Youth Development Association, Uganda.

RYDA is working with the United Nations, through its International Labour Organisation, to eliminate child labour from three districts of Kampala. The success they are experiencing brings together its extensive on-the-ground web of contacts, its long history of experience supporting alternative life directions for orphaned and vulnerable children and first world funding. This presentation is a unique opportunity to listen to, and chat with, someone whose team struggles daily with the massive human problems in Africa and who are changing that world one person at a time, one day at a time.

St. Margaret's has supported RYDA's work and shared its struggles since 1996. We are delighted that Geoffrey is able to bring good news to Australia and invite you to share this great story with us. Please contact Doug. Williams, 9726 6968, with any questions, and, if possible, to indicate your attendance in advance.

Date: Tuesday March 29th
Time: 7:30 PM
Place: St. Margaret's Uniting Church, Hull Road, Mooroolbark
A light supper will be served.
Annual Report

RYDA's 2010 annual report is available and definitely worth a read.

  • Meet the members of staff face to face (many photos).
  • Read about actions taken, successes and difficulties.
  • Share hopes for the future.
  • Know that your prayer, donations and regular support have been needed and are used wisely.
Easy to read on screen (PDF file) or save and print to read later at your leisure.