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February 2013

This Is Why We Do It?
This is Joseph Kakande.
The photo was taken in July 2010 the year he became a RYDA Child. You can see in the background that Kasubi Hall no longer stands and the site has been cleared of the storm wreckage ready for rebuilding.

Both of Joseph's parents died of HIV/AIDS.
He came to RYDA as an orphan - one of thousands, no millions, in the country - and was saved from a life on the street.

Joseph chose to be trained in catering.
Catering is one of the many government approved and examined courses offered at the RYDA Vocational Training Centre in Buloba.

In 2012 Joseph graduated with a catering certificate.
He is very grateful for the skills RYDA has rendered to him.

     RYDA has helped Joseph to secure a job in
     one of the cafes in Kampala.

     Joseph now dreams of starting his own cafe
     after two years to come.

  • Joseph is one of hundreds whose life has been changed by RYDA since 1993.
  • Dozens of street children are offered a similar opportunity each year.
  • These 'third world' successes are only possible through 'first world' prayer, support and donation.

Unexpected Difficulties

Donations are vital to keep RYDA strong, but even when there is money in the bank - and there is just enough at the moment - each day can bring a new stress. For example, this extract from an email from Director Geoffrey just before the end of January:

I was busy in the weekend looking for food as now it's very difficult to get it because now farmers are selling their food to southern Sudan traders.
The staple RYDA needs to feed its students is maize flour. It is mixed with water in the morning to make a 'porridge' to which sugar is added. In the evening it is mixed with oil and fried and served with fried beans. Vegetables and fruit supplement the diet when available. These are very simple requirements!

How stressful and frustrating it must be to have the funds to purchase all you need and then to find it in such short supply because it has been traded out of your country. Please pray that Geoffrey and staff have the spiritual and practical resources to deal positively with this issue and the myriad of other daily stresses related to their vital work for the orphaned and vulnerable children of Uganda.

Director's New Year Message
To all our supporters,

On behalf of the Rubaga Youth Development Association (RYDA) I write to extend our sincere appreciation to all our supporters who supported us unreservedly in our activities, notably the Child Labour Project, the water surveying application and the challenge to rebuild Kasubi Hall. Indeed we are indebted by your support without which few activities would have been achieved. The year 2012 has seen new strides. Let me specifically mention St Margaret's Uniting church continuing support, the Billanook College visit at Easter, and individual donors for supporting our cause.

As we come to 2013 we have never been hopeful. Through new innovations, RYDA team spirit has been been strengthened even further as we look forward to the new year. We salute you all for not despairing with our endless needs.

Let us wish all of you a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2013.

Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director, welcoming teachers and students from Billanook College, Mooroolbark, Victoria to the RYDA Training Centre, Easter 2012.
Suzan's Baby

Suzan Liz Nabirye, Principal, Vocational Skills Training Centre
Easter 2012.
January 18
I have received your letter today afternoon but let me first inform you that our RYDA Principal gave birth to a baby girl on Sunday 13th January 2013 at 1:03 PM at Mengo Hospital. She has been discharged today. The name for the child is Mirembe Lizbeth Loy. Am just going to pick her up from the hospital.
Congratulations Suzan from all the RYDA supporters around the world. Thank you for the wonderful job you do helping RYDA children. May you be blessed with all the help you need to help Lizbeth grow in God's world.

March 2013

RYDA Reaches Crossroads

Geoffrey Kyeyune and the board of Rubaga Youth Development Association are constantly searching for first world support in their mission to provide life changing opportunities for the orphaned and vulnerable young people of Uganda. In August 2011 they found Crossroads, Hong Kong.

The mission of Crossroads, which was founded by Australian couple Malcolm and Sally Begbie who were recently honoured as Officers of the Order of Australia, is to collect Hong Kong's superseded and excess goods and distribute them globally to people in need through organisations doing humanitarian work.

  • In September 2011, RYDA applied to Crossroads. The application was supported by a letter of recommendation from St. Margaret's Uniting Church.
  • In January 2012, St. Margaret's was contacted by Crossroads to confirm RYDA's capacity to arrange local details and make excellent use of any gifts.
  • In July 2012, RYDA received this message from Crossroads:
  • After carefully reviewing your submission and supporting materials in light of our criteria, we are pleased to be able to offer you a place in our upcoming shipment schedule and are delighted to be able to support your excellent work in this way!

RYDA had reached Crossroads! ... and the journey together was about to begin.

The next communication was the last day of August 2012. It detailed the nine stages involved in preparing and delivering a shipment. Crossroads is certainly well organised and experienced, but the consignee is also held to significant responsibilities and local administration details. Substantial feedback is required on delivery too and it was made quite clear that this would not be a gift that would come without effort:

We know that it can be a time consuming and challenging process to import the container and want to do all we can to help this process run smoothly.
It also became clear that this would not be a gift that would come without cost. Crossroads would pay for shipping to an African port, but RYDA would be responsible for funding inland transportation and customs, duty and taxation charges.

Now the process was beginning to look a little daunting! ... Would you feel confident to organise transportation of a 40' shipping container across half of Africa to landlocked Uganda?

We Need Your Help

In January 2013 St. Margaret's received an email from Crossroads stating that:

  • the planned shipment would leave Hong Kong for Mombasa, Kenya, in August 2013
  • it would contain around $95,000 worth of goods
  • the inland transportation costs had been quoted as $4,270
  • there would be an additional unknown amount for customs, taxes and duty
and asking if St. Margaret's would be able to organise donors to support RYDA to raise that amount. Absolutely!

allowing for additional charges

The challenge is to raise just $5000 to gain $95,000 worth of goods for RYDA!

as our American friends might say - "You do the math."

In faith, St. Margaret's immediately accepted the challenge of co-ordinating an effort to raise at least $5000 above our regular RYDA support before August 2013. We knew all RYDA supporters we have worked with over the years would agree, and, as if to prove that point, the very first donation to the RYDA Crossroads Project came from a member at St. John's Uniting Church, Cowes.

and since that day the total has climbed to

$705 - almost one seventh of the total already

We need your help to keep this total growing.

What Will The Container Contain?

RYDA's application included a list of hoped for goods:

  • Clothing, shoes and bed sheets to improve child welfare and hygiene.
  • Household goods and washing machines to improve centre linen cleaning and to help the catering department.
  • Electrical products to provide stable electricity for the centre.
  • Hospital beds/furniture to equip the RYDA Centre Clinic.
  • Transportation/bicycles to improve community outreach programs and centre activities.
  • Tools, teaching aids and text books, furniture, office equipment, computers, musical instruments, recreational and sports 'toys' and the like to strengthen RYDA's various vocational training departments.
Crossroads can only give what it collects and it only accepts goods in excellent condition. Crossroads cannot guarantee any of RYDA's requests but the list will guide them in the selection of goods for the container.
God's Spirit at work in this world has brought RYDA to Crossroads,
so no doubt that same Spirit will ensure the practicality of every gift included.
Please Join Us

This Crossroads shipment is an exciting opportunity for RYDA and it needs your support. We will continue to assist RYDA in its daily needs and in efforts to complete the rebuilding of Kasubi Hall, but this opportunity is a potential 'game changer' which deserves extra effort.

We know the container will be packed in Hong Kong on Saturday August 3rd and we know that from there Crossroads will shepherd it all the way to RYDA's compound at Buloba.
Please join us as we encourage one another in service:
  • You are invited to keep all aspects of this journey in your prayers.
  • You are invited to donate to the RYDA Crossroads Project through St. Margaret's.

  • If you want to know more about Crossroads, explore their web site, or their Wikipedia article (which was the source of the photo above).

If you want to know how to donate through St. Margaret's

visit our Support link

to find out about Electronic Funds Transfer (or cheque).

April 2013

Gateway to Gateway


$5000 by July 31


If RYDA supporters can raise $5000 by July 31st that will pay the overland shipping
for around $95,000 of donated goods from Crossroads Hong Kong.

So far we have raised


which is almost double the amount at the same time last month!

How Do They Get The Goods?

It's a question several donors have asked. Barbara Grosshans from Crossroads answers this and other background questions in this recent email:

Thanks so much for sending the eNews for March to us! We enjoyed it so much ... it's exciting to see the enthusiasm for this group of people in Africa!

During the time before and after Chinese New Year, it becomes very, very hectic around here, due to the custom of getting rid of the old things and buying new! As you can imagine (or maybe you can't!) we were inundated with goods of all kinds, shapes, sizes and uses! We were all kept busy - processing goods, sorting, packaging, wrapping, loading containers and doing all of the paperwork it entails!

We have also had many short term teams coming in from overseas to help at Crossroads and that has been wonderful. Quite a number come from Australia to help us - from schools and various other groups. We just had a group come from New Zealand and they brought people of all ages, from children right up to some ladies in their 80s! It was lovely.

I have attached some pictures. Warm greetings to you all,

Barbara Grosshans
Crossroads Foundation

Barbara's photos show recent activity at Crossroads and give an idea of the breadth of goods that could be included in the container which will be packed and shipped to RYDA in August - Gateway to Gateway.

All sorts of children's clothes and shoes.

A wide variety of household goods, furniture and appliances.

Sorted, wrapped, labelled, packed, stacked and sent to all parts of the world a container at a time!

Who Will Benefit at RYDA?

We hope it will be children like these, who are shown 'sitting' for their government vocational certificate near the end of 2012. RYDA offers orphaned and vulnerable youths the opportunity to leave a downward spiralling life on the street to commit to personal and vocational training for a more self-directed, sustainable, positive future. Courses are offered in catering, hairdressing, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, bricklaying, computing, tailoring, art & design, music & performance and more.

Electrical Course

Art & Design Course

Hairdressing Course

The boys are proving they know the regulations for earthing a building.

RYDA also runs community based programs in villages to support the education of young children and the restructuring of communities so that conditions leading to homelessness can be countered at their source. We hope children and families in these situations will also benefit.

Singularity Sings for RYDA

Patience is a virtue, use it if you can.
Often found in women, never found in men.

That's what my misguided mother used to tell me anyway. But it seems she didn't know that Patience can also be found in Gilbert & Sullivan. It's the title of one of their merry, melodious musicals and Singularity will be performing it twice this year to raise money for RYDA. Set aside either:

  • Sunday June 2nd for a performance at St. Margaret's, Mooroolbark, or
  • Sunday August 11th for a repeat performance at St. John's, Cowes.

All are welcome and all are welcome to give for RYDA's support.

May 2013

First The Bad News

Geoffrey Kyeyune, Executive Director, has had a recurrence of malaria which has caused him considerable pain and seen him away from the RYDA Centre for most of the month of April. Geoffrey we want you to know that you are always in our prayers and we hoping that you can return to good health as soon as possible.

RYDA's operations are delicately balanced and when one staff member is unavailable - especially a leader such as this man - it is very hard to fill the gap. All RYDA staff have been straining to continue their support for the orphaned and vulnerable children of Uganda and long for their Director's return. The children at the Centre are also acutely aware of Geoffrey's daily absence from their lives.

Now The Good News

Gateway to Gateway


$5000 by July 31


If RYDA supporters can raise $5000 by July 31st that will pay the overland shipping
for around $95,000 of donated goods from Crossroads Hong Kong.

So far we have raised


which means our total has grown $670 since the same time last month!

Thank you to all donors.
Whether your amount was large or small we know it was over and above your normal giving, so you are giving of yourself so that RYDA's children can benefit.

Singularity Sings For RYDA

In what is becoming something of a tradition, Singularity - a volunteer choir of enthusiastic, experienced SATB singers - is once again performing to raise funds for Rubaga Youth Development Association. This is the third year Singularity have supported in this way and we can look forward to two performances of Gilbert & Sullivan's PATIENCE.

All funds from the first concert will go towards the RYDA Crossroads project. All funds from the second will support RYDA's daily needs such as food, clothing, water and educational supplies.


  • Sunday June 2nd, 14:30
  • St. Margaret's Uniting Church
    Hull Road, Mooroolbark
  • $5 per person donation
  • Afternoon tea provided
With typical convolution Gilbert & Sullivan weave musical mayhem around a story about Bunthorne, a poet-of-sorts, who is adored by all the village maidens except for the milkmaid Patience, whom he adores. Patience has never been in love but she admits to a childhood playmate named Archibald. When a rival poet arrives and turns out to be that same Archibald Grosvenor, who of course also loves Patience, the plot becomes peppered with ridiculousness such as Patience refusing both suitors, Bunthorne offering himself as a raffle prize, Patience agreeing to marry him because she detests him, but wishes to act unselfishly, a show down between the rival poets which involves cutting hair and...
... well you will just have to come along if you have any hope of understanding the resolution of this plot!

And even if you don't quite follow this twisted parody of the 'aesthetic movement' it will still be a great musical afternoon.


  • Sunday August 11th
  • St. John's Uniting Church, Chapel Street, Cowes
  • Set the afternoon aside. Details and poster will follow.

Click the image to reveal a PDF version to print & distribute.

Workaid Works For RYDA?

A recent email from Workaid UK confirms that they are about to pack a shipment of tools for Uganda and that RYDA will be receiving a significant quantity to strengthen their building, bricklaying, agriculture and other vocational courses. Workaid's aim is to tackle poverty by supplying disadvantaged people with the tools they need to acquire practical skills and become self-supporting. Their project team saw RYDA as a perfect match with this objective and we are delighted that RYDA's application, which was made in November 2011 and was supported by a letter from St. Margaret's church, is now bearing fruit. Our thanks are added to those already extended by the RYDA Board and we look forward to seeing photos of the tools being put to good use.

June 2013

Geoffrey Recovers ... and then...

As mentioned in last month's news Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director was sent home to rest under doctor's orders due a serious and very painful recurrence of malaria. He was away from work for more than three weeks and this had a significant effect on the organisation. Staff continued doing their work in their usual excellent way, but there was just no spare time to cover Geoffrey's absence.

Consequently, when Geoffrey was able to return to work he found critical issues needing attention - food almost exhausted, electricity and communications cut off and not enough in the bank to solve the problems. This desperate situation highlights that all RYDA successes - and there have been many over the years - have been, and continue to be, in spite of constantly operating on a knife edge.

However, thanks to anyone who has given to RYDA through St. Margaret's since January there was $AUD800 in the bank. This is separate from the special RYDA Crossroads Project below. It comes from weekly deposits small and big into the special RYDA Collection Box present at each Sunday Service and from ear-marked gifts from donors beyond St. Margaret's.

Confident that these lifeline donations will continue, St. Margaret's treasurer borrowed another $AUD200 from other areas of the church's finances and mid-May $AUD1000 was transferred to the RYDA account. As usual St. Margaret's also paid transfer fees at both ends from its own resources.

Geoffrey was overwhelmed.

16th May
Dear Doug,
I write to acknowledge the receipt of the funds you transferred to the RYDA account. It has been received and it totals to 2,230,000 Uganda shillings. Tomorrow I will start on purchase of the the food and the payment of the electricity. The reconnection will be affected after the payment.
Once again I thank you for the continued support. But this one it was a blessing indeed.
There is now two months stock of food, electricity bills have been paid and communications have been reactivated.

But let's be clear what two months of food means.

Essentially the pantry now has a stock of maize flour, sugar and oil.

Good News - No! - Great News

Geoffrey also returned to work to discover that last year's students - all formerly orphaned or vulnerable street children - did so well on their government examinations that overall RYDA Centre at Buloba was second best in the country in these trade courses.

This is why we support RYDA. They do make a difference. Read more in Geoffrey's letter below.

Singularity Sings at St. Margaret's

On Sunday June 2nd Singularity performed its first 2013 concert for RYDA. Around 55 people attended a wonderful Sunday afternoon of melodious silliness and $370 was raised for the RYDA Crossroads Project. Thank you to everyone who attended and to those who provided and organised the afternoon tea. A big thank you also to those who couldn't attend but sent a donation in lieu.

Put aside Sunday August 11 to attend Singularity's repeat performance for RYDA which will be at St. John's Uniting Church, Cowes, Phillip Island. More details next month. Why not plan a weekend away culminating in this Sunday afternoon entertainment?

Crossroads Project

Gateway to Gateway


$5000 by July 31


If RYDA supporters can raise $5000 by July 31st that will pay the overland shipping
for around $95,000 of donated goods from Crossroads Hong Kong.

So far we have raised


which means our total has grown $620 since the same time last month.

But at this rate, will we make $5,000 by July 31st?

We still need $2,335 with less than 7 weeks to go!
That's more than $300 per week!!

Thank you to each and every donor so far, including some
special donations during May from Scott, Pat, Yvonne and Helen.
Whether your amount was large or small we know it was over and above your normal giving,
so you are giving of yourself so that RYDA's children can benefit.

From The Director

Indeed it's an interesting month's ending after a struggling start and problems.

We are very grateful to St. Margaret's Uniting Church leadership and congress for the continued support especially when the need is crucial.

In the month ending, the electrical connection, food supply and internet were reinstated and the work is moving on well. Currently a total number of 80 new students have joined the RYDA Vocational Skills Training Centre. A Plumbing Course has also been introduced.

Currently the Trades favourite Course includes Hair Dressing, Plumbing, Tailoring and Fashion Design, Motor Vehicle Mechanics, Art and Design, Catering and Home Economics, Electrical Installation and Electronics, Brick Laying and Concrete Practice. Compulsory subjects include; Complementary English, Computer and Entrepreneurships.

In August 2013, we are preparing for a Graduation Ceremony for over 260 students who completed successfully final Examination in the year 2011 and 2012 and also will include a RYDA Family Reunion Day. (This will...) give opportunity to the community and current students to gauge the RYDA contribution as the alumni give their life testimonies.

RYDA Vocation Centre was the second best in the UBTEB Exams result 2012 in the all Country. We have the trust that if RYDA Centre is strengthened further it will make it a more substantial training centre.

What a challenge?

There was constant demand for RYDA services for computer training however we faced a problem of computer batteries which were donated and this hampered the training to be more effective. The spare parts for this computer also have proved to be difficult.

Please pray for RYDA, Geoffrey, the Board and staff and the children RYDA is rescuing from a downward spiral of hopelessness ... and give whenever you can through St. Margaret's.

July 2013

Crossroads Project - WOW!

We need to raise $5,000 by the end of July to pay for port clearance and overland transport costs so that Rubaga Youth Development Association, Kampala, Uganda can receive a container from Crossroads Hong Kong with $95,000 worth of selected goods.

June saw some wonderful donations and we are nearly there.
Please help round this off.

Gateway to Gateway


$5000 by July 31


So far we have raised


which means our total has grown $2117 since the same time last month.

Help us make $5,000 by July 31st

With a little over 3 weeks to go we only need $218!
And if we go over ... every cent will go to RYDA.


Thank you to each and every June donor. Gifts included regular small gifts from faithful supporters, four anonymous donations amounting to $950 and $1000 from St. Margaret's Bowls Club. Whether your amount was large or small it was needed and welcomed. Thank you.

Bishop Visits

Rt. Rev. Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira, Bishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda, recently visited RYDA Training Centre at Buloba. Geoffrey tells us he spent at least 45 minutes and was "fascinated" by what he saw.

Graduation Ceremony

RYDA Staff are busy preparing for the Graduation Ceremony for former RYDA trainees which is set for 2nd August. Everyone is looking forward to this day to reflect on past experiences. The intent is to give current trainees the opportunity to make connections with previous students and also to share past and current experiences.

WorkAid Support Coming

On July 1st, Graham Daw from the WorkAid Project Team wrote:
I can tell you that we are currently packing your consignment of tools and equipment onto our container CHARITY, along with consignments for another 20 or so projects. We expect to fill the container within the next month & it will then be collected & shipped to Mombasa & then conveyed by road to Kampala. Our recent containers to Uganda have taken from between 2 and 4 months from shipping to being released to our partners in Kampala.
WorkAid tackles poverty by providing disadvantaged people with the tools they need to learn a skilled trade and earn a living. RYDA made application for support in November 2011 and were successful. We are delighted that RYDA is likely to see the benefits of this application near the end of 2013.
Former vulnerable girls learning hairdressing for a better future.

Plumbing and shoemaking are also examples of RYDA Courses.
Singularity Sings at St. John's

Building on the success of Gilbert & Sullivan's PATIENCE performed at Mooroolbark in June, Singularity - a volunteer choir of enthusiastic, experienced SATB singers - is once again performing at Cowes, Phillip Island to raise funds for Rubaga Youth Development Association.


  • Sunday August 11th, 14:30
  • St. John's Uniting Church, Chapel Street, Cowes
  • Donation: $10 (adult) $5 (chn/pen)
  • Afternoon tea provided
With typical convolution Gilbert & Sullivan weave musical mayhem around a story about Bunthorne, a poet-of-sorts, who is adored by all the village maidens except for the milkmaid Patience, whom he adores. Patience has never been in love but she admits to a childhood playmate named Archibald. When a rival poet arrives and turns out to be that same Archibald Grosvenor, who of course also loves Patience, the plot becomes peppered with ridiculousness such as Patience refusing both suitors, Bunthorne offering himself as a raffle prize, Patience agreeing to marry him because she detests him, but wishes to act unselfishly, a show down between the rival poets which involves cutting hair and...
... well you will just have to come along if you have any hope of understanding the resolution of this plot!

And even if you don't quite follow this twisted parody of the 'aesthetic movement' it will still be a great musical afternoon.

Click the image to reveal a PDF version to print & distribute.

August 2013

Sunday Lunch & Singularity

There's great places to eat lunch at or near the Cowes foreshore ... or at Rhyll ...or at San Remo. If you live in or around Melbourne, Sunday August 11th is going to be a great day weatherwise to hop in the car after church and tootle down to one of these eateries before enjoying the best possible afternoon's entertainment at this performance:


Crossroads Project

The wonderful people of St. Margaret's, St. John's Cowes and others from near and far raised the $5000 for the Crossroads shipment by the second weekend of July, long before the July 31st deadline. Richard Payne, Crossroads Foundation, has written to thank everyone involved for all your fund raising efforts towards the container and to inform us that the current date for loading the container is August 17.

If you are reading this news for the first time, this is a container with $95,000 worth of donated goods from Crossroads in Hong Kong which will be shipped free to Mombasa, Kenya. Rubaga Youth Development Association had to find $5,000 to cover inland shipping costs to their compound outside Kampala in Uganda.

Click the image to reveal a larger PDF version.
Not only did we raise $5000, but at least $1600 extra was given as well. Thanks be to God.

  • $5000 was transferred to the RYDA account on August 2nd.
  • (Actual amount, $5053.59, included donation to bank charges at both ends from St. Margaret's own funds.)
  • The additional donations will be sent towards to the end of the month.
  • RYDA will first use this amount to cover any additional duty, customs, landing and shipping costs that may arise. The balance, if at all possible will be set aside to continue the reconstruction of Kasubi Hall. Currently it is estimated that $US6,500 is required to complete the roofing and fitting out.

In addition St. Margaret's has been continuing its on-going role of inviting donations to support RYDA's daily needs - food, clothing, electricity, telephone, educational needs and more. The next transfer will include an amount for those purposes too. We look forward to being surprised yet again by the gifts we receive for RYDA.


Graduation Ceremony

On Friday August 2nd RYDA held its graduation ceremony for the children of the previous two years. Representatives of the examination bodies of the Ministry of Education and Sports and the Directorate of Industrial Training attended and the event began with an exhibition and variety show. On the Wednesday prior, the graduates tried on their gowns and were all smiles. That evening was put aside for a prayer meeting for the success of the big day. Next month we hope to have photos of the celebrations.

(Do you remember that the student results in 2012 exams - former orphaned and vulnerable street children - were second best in the country?)
Miva Switzerland

Back in July 2011, Geoffrey Kyeyune, Executive Director of RYDA, applied to Miva for support in purchasing a new vehicle for RYDA. The current vehicle is simply wearing out. Miva Switzerland is a Christian charity founded in 1932 to help disadvantaged people with suitable transport and communication resources for self-help projects. Eligible local partners are involved at the grass roots level in development, human rights, health education, social and pastoral projects.

More recently a Miva representative visited Geoffrey at the Buloba Centre for what turned out to be fruitful discussions. There is reason to be hopeful that a further application by RYDA could result in around 75% of the cost of a new vehicle. Pray that this need will be met so that RYDA can continue to reliably do off campus trips which vary from travelling to markets to purchase food, to attending government meetings, to travelling to rural villages to support programs which prevent children having to leave home in the first place.

Rev Runs for RYDA 2013

Whoever heard of a minister going for a run so he didn't have to preach. Well on Sunday October 13th that will be the case at St. Margaret's Uniting Church in Mooroolbark - and the congregation is loving it!!

Arnie is running a 21.1km Melbourne Half-Marathon to raise funds for RYDA's continued stabilisation and growth. Almost fifty, fitter and with a 2011 time to beat Arnie is giving of himself in a way most of us can't to change the lives of orphaned and vulnerable youth in Uganda.

We may not be able to make the run ourselves, but we can make Arnie's run worthwhile.

Click on Arnie's photo to find more details about the run and a sponsorship form to print.

  • Take it to work. Tell the story. Collect for Arnie and his Ugandan mission.
  • Take it your congregation or club. Organise a sausage sizzle, or card night or market stall or... Collect for Arnie and his Ugandan mission.

September 2013

Celebrate Graduation

Think of it. Every person in this photo came to RYDA as a vulnerable youth:
  • perhaps orphaned,
  • perhaps from the street,
  • perhaps from child labour,
  • perhaps for some other reason, facing a hopeless future.
Now, after:
  • choosing to live at RYDA,
  • choosing one of RYDA's vocational training programs,
  • choosing to work hard and achieve their best result,
these children are graduating with a government approved qualification!


  • Click the link below and save the file.
  • Turn on your computer speakers.
  • Double click the saved file.

...and rejoice as you celebrate their 2013 Graduation Highlights

The file is a virus-free self-running 'exe' file of slides with music.
If your virus checker rejects it, use this ZIP version and unzip before double-clicking.

Background music on the video is performed by Lydia Nakyeyune who was sponsored through primary school
by a group of St. Margaret's members. Lydia is now an adult with her own child.

Further Information

The material for the gowns (shown in the video link above) was supplied by another donor organisation - Girls Education Movement - which is linked to UNESCO and operates in several African countries. They are current donors to the education of 10 RYDA girls. Also Solomon (Geoffrey's son) returned home from university to be Master of Ceremonies for the event.

The Guests of Honour were Mr Masolo from Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) and the local District Education Officer.

In total through the day, there were 264 graduands who were able to attend. The number of guests who attended the various functions was over 450 people which included parents, ministry of education officials, church leaders, principals of other vocational training institutes and representatives of neighboring institutions, Buloba High School and Buloba Teachers Training college to mention a few. Many found it difficult to believe that these former street children and young people from other vulnerable backgrounds were able to produce the quality of work you see.

Also the function was attended by media people and TV stations and these gave very good publicity for the RYDA centre.
Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director

Rev Runs for RYDA 2013

Whoever heard of a minister running away from the opportunity to preach!!

On Sunday October 13th, Arnie Wierenga, minister of St. Margaret's Uniting Church in Mooroolbark is doing just that.

Arnie is running a 21.1km Melbourne Half-Marathon to raise funds for RYDA's continued stabilisation and growth. Almost fifty, fitter and with a 2011 time to beat Arnie is giving of himself in a way most of us can't to change the lives of orphaned and vulnerable youth in Uganda.

We may not be able to run ourselves, but we can make Arnie's run worthwhile.

Click on Arnie's photo to find more details about the run and a sponsorship form to print.

  • Take it to work. Tell the story ... Collect for Arnie and his Ugandan mission.
  • Take it your congregation or club ... Collect for Arnie and his Ugandan mission.
  • Organise a sausage sizzle, or card night or market stall or ... Collect for Arnie and his Ugandan mission.
Others have already begun to help. Arnie tells us:
Rosie (significantly disabled through a massive stroke) gave me a little packet of money on Thursday with about half a dozen names on it. When I asked her about it she told me they were donations from her weekly craft group. If Rosie can do that, anyone can!!!!

I've also just received a donation from a couple whose marriage I conducted a few weeks ago. I wasn't expecting any money but when they insisted I agreed on the basis of giving it to my favourite charity. I've just told them about RYDA and expect they will be delighted, as Catherine is a teacher. Anyway, I have $450 as a starter!

Wheat Crop Helps Build Kasubi Hall

Do they even grow wheat in Uganda? Yes, actually, but this reference is to Aussie wheat. More specifically, wheat grown on 60 dedicated hectares in Victoria's Mallee by the Berriwillock Wheat Scheme.

Established in 1953 by Alan McLelland in response to his minister's question "What are the farmers willing to give back?", this plot of land is jointly farmed by local families for the sole purpose of raising and selling a crop the profit from which is entirely for charity. Its donations are split equally between local and international causes.

Through recent drought years, St. Margaret's Uniting Church, Mooroolbark, a pin-prick in the sprawling city of Melbourne, supported the local people of Karyrie Parish, in which Berriwillock is sited, with the entire profit of its annual Spring Fair. Their country cousins have been waiting to give back, and this year, with delivery from the drought, McLelland's gifted land has brought forth a mighty bounty again. Among the many cheques written from the harvest was one for $2000 to St. Margaret's to be used as the church wished. Church council has chosen to pass on the full amount to RYDA to help complete the rebuilding of Kasubi Hall.

Perhaps the next graduation celebrations will be held in a newly completed Kasubi Hall.

Read more of the Berriwillock story in The Age.

October 2013

It's Here!!!

It's here! It's here! You can imagine those words echoing across RYDA's campus as a gigantic container transporter carefully edged its way off the local dirt road and squeezed past RYDA's entrance gate in the afternoon of October 3rd, after a marathon journey from Mombasa across equatorial Africa.

Around $95,000 worth of donated goods to help strengthen and expand RYDA's Vocational Skills Training Institute for orphaned and vulnerable youth. But it's here only because:

  • Executive Director, Geoffrey Kyeyune works tirelessly to seek donors around the world.
  • Crossroads Hong Kong sufficiently valued the work of Rubaga Youth Development Association to deem them worthy of such a donation.
  • Crossroads staff gave all its energy to gathering new and superseded goods from the people of Hong Kong.
  • Crossroads has connections and donors who paid for shipping from Hong Kong to Mombasa
  • St. Margaret's Uniting Church in Mooroolbark, Australia, accepted the challenge of raising $5000 to cover the costs of transport, duties and taxes overland from Mombasa to Kampala.
  • St. John's congregation, Cowes, Australia, St. Margaret's Bowling Club and many other donors of large and small amounts not only met that target but kept on giving so the final result was thousands more.
And because God must have known that extra would be necessary!

On September 19th we received a message that the transport costs had remained almost the same at $US4300, but duties, taxes and clearing agent fees combined now reached $US2980. Guess what? The over-target donations and other gifts which had not yet been transferred from St. Margaret's account, were sent immediately by treasurer Marj Hookey to a total of $US3,500 (plus bank fees).

Dear Marjorie,
I write to acknowledge the receipt of the funds you have sent to our account in regard to Crossroads Project. Once again thanks for the support. I will be updating you on the same as soon as things starts to unfold. God bless St. Margaret's Uniting Church and our beloved donors.
Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune
From here Geoffrey was able to organise everything, which included travelling to Malaba on the border with Kenya to ensure the right payments had all been made to shepherd the truck across the border.

October 3rd
Dear Doug Williams,
This is a quick email to you to inform you officially that the Container has been successfully cleared and taxes paid. It was all excitement at RYDA Centre as the truck carrying the container entered the RYDA compound. Then the off loading of the container started at around 4pm. I have taken photos when the students and staff were off loading the container.

On behalf of the RYDA board, staff and children I write to extend our special thanks to St. Margaret's Uniting church community, St. John's Church and our other supporters for enabling us to have this project a success. The donation will definitely go a long way in strengthening the RYDA center activities and programmes. The financial support you extended to us to facilitate the clearing and paying the taxes will always be remembered throughout. We definitely applaud you for this wonderful support. RYDA alone would not have managed to do this.

May the almighty Lord reward you all abundantly for enabling us to accomplish our dream. To Crossroads Hongkong bravo for the wonderful support.

You have not let us down whenever we had a critical problem. I will scan these receipts for our donors to have a proper accountability for the funds you have sent to us in this due course. It is now 9PM and I am now very tired but I could not sleep without passing on this information to you.

The detailed report will follow next week as I need three days to open the boxes to ascertain the donated items.

Keep the fire burning
Geoffrey Kyeyune


An absolutely stunning effort from everyone.
Thank you for every prayer, every effort and every dollar.
October 7th
Dear Doug Williams
Please let me know if you have received the report. It is for the interest of our donors to be informed always on time. I have sent you some photos and others are in the report. You can use it for the web. Happy day! We are still sorting the items. It will take a week or so.

Report of Container Arrival (PDF)

Rev Runs NOW

At time of writing it is only two days until October 13th when St. Margaret's minister Arnie Wierenga will run the Melbourne Half-Marathon to raise funds for RYDA's on-going work.

The work never ends.
The need never ends.
Your support for this run will help to ensure the success never ends.
  • Print a sponsorship form from our Rev Runs page now.
  • Knock on your neighbours' doors.
  • Tell the story.
  • Be amazed at the response.
Arnie has been training for 6 months, in all weather, up and down the Dandenong Ranges. At the moment he is running for just over $100 per kilometre.
  • We can do better.
  • If just 20 people collect $50 worth of sponsorship it will become $150 per kilometre.
  • Imagine the outcome if everyone reading this, not just 20 people, collected $50 more sponsorship.
Every dollar (St. Margaret's takes no costs) will go to helping young people like Shamim and Rose.

Shamim's Story
Shamim aged 19 years graduated this year and she did Hairdressing and Cosmetology. With the certificate at her disposal she has managed to get employment in a beauty salon in the Kampala city center. She is optimistic that she will be generating some funds to start her own business.

Crosslight, October 2013 published by
UCA Synod of Victoria & Tasmania
Rose's Story
Rose Komuhendo, now aged 20 years finished her exams at RYDA last year, 2012 . She passed her exam well with a credit certificate in Art & Design. This year she started her art and design business in Fort Portal in Western Uganda. Six months later she has a lot of hope in her future. She is looking forward to start employing her fellow colleagues to better her business. She applauds RYDA for the opportunity. If it was not given in time she would have been destitute.

November 2013

Thanks to Crossroads Project Supporters

In last month's news we showed you the delight and excitement abounding at the arrival of the Crossroads shipment from Hong Kong. Now Geoffrey tells you something about the goods and how they are being put to use.

Dear Doug
Through you let me take this opportunity to extend our special thanks to St. Margaret's Uniting Church of Mooroolbark and other donors for the support you extended to our organisation to have the donated items cleared and transported up to our Centre. Indeed without your efforts and prayers this dream would not have been a reality.

Raising funds for such a project is not an easy thing to do and convincing others to help is also challenging and tasking. You joined the hands all together to have this project a success. We are indeed indebted to you all for the support you have extended to our organisation for 17 years.

I want to assure you that all the donated items have already been put to proper use. Our office has been given a new face lift, we have enough stationery to use for the next one and half years, we have received 61 chairs and desks for the vocational training rooms to mention but a few. The RYDA clinic has been boosted with ten beds, mattresses and other accessories. Not only RYDA students will benefit from this donation but also the the neighbouring school and community.

We are still sorting the goods sent but we have already given our students and staff some dresses and shoes and they tell me how beautiful they look.

The orphaned children in communities where we work also will benefit greatly from the text books and other donated items. The entire Centre is changing for the better.

I want to salute the Crossroads Foundation for this noble support. Bravo!

It's too early to predict the impact but I know that this will be attained as it is stipulated in the project application document.

God bless you all our supporters

Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune
Executive Director

Who Is This Boy?

His name is Serwanga Brandon, aged 12 years, a disabled child at Wisdom Nursery & Primary School in Wakiso district. With a donated wheel chair from Crossroads Hong Kong RYDA managed to give Serwanga a wheel chair to facilitate his transport and better his attendance at school. He is currently in Primary Six - one year to his final year primary leaving examinations (PLE) which is due in 2014.

His mother, Ms Mukondo Namusoke Milly aged 34, was also very grateful for the donation which will go along way in improving the life of the disabled child.

A total of 120 other children also benefited from stationery which included coloured pens, text books and school kits and the head master's office received box files to improve the office filing of documents.

All these items were from the container delivered to RYDA by Crossroads Hong Kong with support of donors working through St. Margaret's Uniting Church in Mooroolbark, Australia.


Crossroads' Response

Dear Geoffrey!

Greetings from Crossroads Foundation in Hong Kong!

We were very happy to receive your initial Report on RYDA and the photos of the container unloading as well as the pictorial view of the RYDA property a few weeks ago!! What a great write-up on RYDA's objectives, the summary of the shipping process and of course, St. Margaret's involvement in it all!! Your property is beautiful!

Your WISDOM PRIMARY SCHOOL summary with photos was waiting for us when we came into the office today! What terrific feedback for Crossroads, our donors, volunteers and our staff! Thank you so much for the effort you put into this! Anytime you have more, just send them our way ... we're always happy to get Feedback accounts!!

We are so excited to see the pictures and read of the students and their joy at receiving these things. It was especially nice to see Serwanga Brandon with his new wheelchair and his books and pens! I'm sure it will be a help to he and his Mother. It is wonderful to read and then to actually see the great blessing these goods have already been to SO many!! Thank you for your generosity in sharing with others that are in need around you.

Once again, thank you, it has been a joy to work with you Geoffrey, and to partner with Rubaga Youth Development Association in Uganda!

Many blessings,
Barbara Grosshans, Crossroads Foundation, Shipping Department

Barclays Bank Visit

Barclays Bank of Uganda recently selected RYDA for its corporate responsibility programme and on Saturday October 26th, members of the bank visited RYDA to conduct concurrent sessions in bookbinding, charcoal briquette making and block making using locally available materials and financial literacy.

It was so important that the staff and trainees were exposed to new technological skills. It rained, but RYDA used its classrooms to do the training. Barclays staff and the management were fascinated with the discipline of our children, cleanliness of the place and entire set up of RYDA.


He Did It!!

Rev. Arnie Wierenga completed the Melbourne Half-Marathon in a personal best time of 1 hr, 46 min, 53 sec shaving 11 min, 48 sec off his 2011 time and raising


for RYDA which is $264.58 per kilometre.

On October 29th, St. Margaret's transferred this amount plus a further $700 from its weekly RYDA giving box to RYDA's account. Bank fees were also paid at both ends. The Board was encouraged to use the smaller amount for daily needs and the larger to restart the rebuilding of Kasubi Hall. The staff and students were excited by this idea. Now they could afford the materials they could test out the skills they have been learning in their life-changing RYDA training programs.

With the exchange rate RYDA received $US5713.16, or in local currency 13,711,584 Uganda shillings on November 1st. Timber and nails were purchased immediately and the students set to work. These photos arrived on November 6th and 7th. When they have an opportunity, RYDA people certainly don't let the grass grow under their feet!!





But will the Rev Runs money complete the building of Kasubi Hall??


RYDA will be able to buy some corrugated iron for the roof, but not enough to finish the job. Then there will doors, windows and other finishing items.

But this project will be finished in God's time

and you can help determine that time by your continuing support.

Perhaps you can give Kasubi a further boost by giving a Christmas Gift Certificate this year.

Ron and Faye from Cowes have once again led the world and pre-ordered 8 certificates for which they have promised a significant donation. Thank you so much for your faithful dedication to RYDA's work with orphaned and vulnerable children in Uganda.

Click the image to find out more about these gifts given in the true spirit of Christmas.

December 2013 / January 2014

Think Christmas Now

This is a good news month for RYDA. You will see that below.

RYDA has set itself the mission of providing life skills and vocational training for orphaned and vulnerable youths in Uganda. The young people are offered the opportunity to develop to their best potential in an enabling environment.

While receiving training the young people are housed, clothed and fed. In this challenge RYDA's need never ends.

Now consider what you really need at Christmas. If you asked for, or gave, even one RYDA Christmas Gift Certificate, your gift would directly matter in the life of a RYDA child.

  • Click the certificate image of the to find out more.
  • There is still time to support RYDA this Christmas.

Creative Support for RYDA

Here's some wonderful ideas people have put into action recently to support RYDA.

  • A couple cleaned out their garage and had a sale. They sent the profits to RYDA to help with tertiary study fees for one student.

  • A man decided he no longer needed to drive. (We won't tell you his age.) He sold his car and gave a significant gift to RYDA which will help to purchase more corrugated iron for the roof of Kasubi Hall.
Our thanks to these people for the special effort and creative thinking that went into their gifts. What special thing can you, or your group do to reach out to the RYDA children this Christmas?

Director's Message

In an email this week Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director tells us:

  • 100 students have just now successfully concluded Uganda Business and Technical Education (UBTEB) and DIT Exams.
  • The long awaited container of tools from WorkAid UK has recently arrived in Uganda. Processes have yet to be completed, but RYDA has been informed that they can expect 128 boxes of tools to support their training programmes.
  • Under the non-formal training programme the Ministry of Education and Sports has allocated 56 students to be trained for three months starting now.
  • RYDA Principal, Suzan Liz Nabirye, is graduating with her Masters Degree in Project Planning & Management on December 17th.
Well done Suzan! Best wishes from all RYDA supporters.

Arnie's Efforts Recognised

Regular readers know that St. Margaret's minister, Arnie Wierenga, ran the Melbourne Half-Marathon on October 13th and raised over $5,500 for RYDA's Kasubi Hall rebuild. Well now all of Mooroolbark knows the efforts of Arnie and his supporters.

11,500 copies of Living Today in Mooroolbark, published by the Mooroolbark Christian Fellowship, have been freely distributed around the area and the article shown stands prominently on Page 10 of Issue 45, December 2013. It is reproduced here with the permission of the editor, Doug Lewis, who wrote:

By all means use the RYDA article in any way you wish to further your valuable work for them.
Click the image to produce an enlargement to read on screen or print.

Kasubi Waits

Following Arnie's run and transfer of the funds, RYDA students 'raised the roof' and a deposit was placed on iron sheets to seal it. Geoffrey writes:

The RYDA students have participated in the roofing with an expert we hired and they also did the earthing work and electricity conduit fixing to the Kasubi Hall.
Just 4,229,000 Uganda shillings, around $2,500, is needed to secure the iron sheets to complete the roofing.