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February 2014

Kasubi Waits No More

Under the heading Kasubi Waits, the final item in the final news page for 2013 showed this photo...

...with the comment that only about $2,500 was needed to purchase the 'iron sheets to complete the roofing'. On Christmas Day it still looked like this.

But Advent, the time of waiting, the time of waiting for God to come in human form, was over.

By January 1st, the time of giving, the time of giving which begins on Christmas Eve, well within the 12 days of Christmas, Kasubi Hall looked like this...

How did this happen?!?

Christmas Eve Gift

St. Margaret's treasurer transferred $AUD2000 ($US1727) to the RYDA account on Christmas Eve. This unexpected donation had come from your remarkable support for RYDA Christmas Gift Certificates, one man's decision to tithe the income from the car he sold because he could no longer drive and regular donations from many supporters.

Gift Certificates ... $940
Sale of car ... $700
Regular giving ... $360
  • One grandparent told us her grandchildren loved receiving RYDA certificates.
  • One parent told us her parents love receiving Gift Certificates from her children.
In whatever way you contributed, including contributing the prayers that supported this direction of the Spirit, we thank you.
December 24th

Dear Doug,
I have have received your message with hope and courage. Indeed we are blessed to have you people. After Christmas we will resume putting the iron sheets on Kasubi Hall. All the funds will be solely used for this purpose no worries. Please extend our sincere gratitude to our donors who have made this possible.

During the putting of iron sheets I will take the photos and after the roofing for our donor to see their efforts in practice.
Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director

December 31st

Dear Doug,
Through you are sending the pictures of Kasubi Hall after the final iron sheets were fixed after timberline. Indeed after receiving the funds you sent we proceeded to collecting the remaining iron sheets as we wanted to celebrate the New Year 2014 with the roofing done. And find here attached copies of photo to our esteemed donors who has enabled to reach this far.

Thanks for the support and we also acknowledge the $US1727 you sent to us before Christmas. Now the work which is remaining is fixing the windows and plastering the interior and the exterior.

We extend our sincere appreciation to St. Margaret's Uniting Church members and other donors who joined you which has enabled us to put up a magnificent building like this. May the almighty reward you with all that every one deserves in life.

For us in RYDA we will always remember your continued help you always do to make RYDA what it is today.

We wish you all a prosperous New year 2014.
Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director

God has indeed appeared in human form at Christmas through this gift.
January 3rd

Dear Geoffrey,
It is amazing to see the roofing finished on Kasubi Hall. Well done! What a blessing it is! It has been encouraging to see what RYDA can do with limited resources but much conviction and enthusiasm.

We will be very happy to show these photos at St. Margaret's on Sunday.

God's blessings to all staff and students.
Rev. Arnie, St. Margaret's Uniting Church

New Hall New Name

This photo of Kasubi Hall was taken in 2002.

This photo of Kasubi Hall was taken in February 2010 after it was smashed to a pile of rubble by continuous tropical storms.

This photo of Kasubi Hall was taken in January this year.

The word Kasubi means 'grass' - a great name for a hall with a grass roof. But now the roof is not grass. What to do?

The RYDA Board asked if the new hall could be renamed St. Margaret's Hall.
St. Margaret's agreed to accept this honour, not for itself, because it has always been a conduit for the Lord's work, but to represent the prayers and gifts of supporters from all congregations, from beyond churches and from beyond Australia who have given through St. Margaret's to RYDA's amazing work.
This closer connection with RYDA's work seems even more appropriate given that St. Margaret herself was known for serving orphans and the poor every day before she ate, and washing the feet of the poor as a reflection of the work of her Servant Lord.

Geoffrey writes:

Dear Doug,
Kasubi Hall, now known us St Margaret's Hall, has been roofed. With that done it can be used temporarily as no direct sun (or rain) can disrupt any activity. Now what is remaining is the plastering and fixing the doors and windows.

We are very grateful for enabling us to go all this far. We have never been so hopeful before than what we are today. Thank you very much.

We are renaming it St Margaret's Hall in recognition for the work and contribution made by many. In the picture you also recognise that the roof is no longer with the grass so Kasubi has no relevance at all. What we will keep is the photo inside it to remind people how it used to be in the past.

What a new out look we have today. I wish you were here to see the impact you have put at this centre. We are happy to have you people.
Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director

Principal Graduates

On December 17th, the Principal of RYDA's Vocational Skills Training Institute graduated with a Masters degree in Project Planning & Management. We sent a congratulatory email on behalf of all supporters and received this response:

Dear Doug,
As we were preparing the Director called me to receive my congratulation message. What a Blessing to me. Indeed the words were befitting the day a few hours to my graduation date which is tomorrow. Do you know that I got As in most of the course units which is similar to a First class degree? Of course Yes no doubt.

I came to stay at RYDA no worries and it has been a blessing to have Geoffrey who is every time giving me the support to run the day to day activities. God has blessed him with many talents and wisdom to guide us all at RYDA. We are very grateful for the support you extend to our organisation and this year alone a lot of blessings have been received. During the graduation we are also planning to have a thanks giving service.

I will always remember this message for many years to come. To our sponsors thanks for the support and to you bravo for all that you have been able to do for RYDA.

God bless you all, Suzan Liz Nabirye, Principal RYDA

March 2014

Situation Desperate

March 8th

Dear Doug,
Sometimes I sit and wonder what is next! But I have no any other option other than to keep quiet and and stomach the challenges of the day. Indeed with the dry season prevailing in Uganda water and food shortages will prevail for some time.

Water, water at the Centre it is critical for bathing, washing and for cleaning the toilets and bathroom to avoid chronic diseases. With no funds things remain a challenge.


Uganda has two dry seasons - December to February and June to August. The rest of the time it is generally rainy ... or rather it is supposed to be. But there was less rain in the last rainy period and the December/February dry has lengthened. For an organisation that depends on rain water to fill its tanks, no rain for months is disastrous.

And no rain for months means farmers have produced less food, so the basic food requirements of RYDA - essentially maize flour and vegetables - are in short supply and prices have risen.

For Geoffrey and the Board, the stress related to this drought has been growing since January...

January 25th

The training (for the new year) has begun but it's a dry period water and food is becoming a challenge.

...then less than a month later...
February 20th

Dear Doug,
It's good to hear from you but the challenges are many. To date the drought which is in Uganda today has never been experienced before. The animals are dying day by day in dry prone areas and the plants are loosing leaves like winters in the west.

Water water oh no it's our biggest challenge now. We need water for preparing food, drinking and washing and bathing. Our consumption now is 3000 litres a day. Last week I managed to get 350 kgs of maize flour. This has made our child distribution very difficult. Pray for us. What I know is that GOD does not bring problems without solutions.

What I have is the determination and the will. Am still in office pondering on what to serve after the 350 kgs is finished by Sunday ... Oh power has gone off. Let me stop here before my computer battery is finished.

Have a happy day.

How Can I Help?
  • Pray for Geoffrey to find inspiration in his search for food and water.
  • Pray for the children and staff to be protected against infection and disease.
  • Pray for the rain to come and refresh and refill.
  • Give through St. Margaret's so that RYDA can have cash to buy water and food.
We need $1200 AUD to convert to around $1000 US for RYDA to have enough to stabilise their situation - at least for a while. St. Margaret's will pay the bank fees at both ends from its own resources so that every dollar given will go to RYDA. We currently have $649 in hand. $370 of this was given by members of St. John's, Cowes.

Our link How to Support RYDA has all the information you need to be able to send a donation.

2013 Giving

St. Margaret's annual report records that the amazing amount of $18,428.39 AUD was given to RYDA through St. Margaret's in 2013. Double the amount in the previous year. Thank you for every dollar and every prayer through 2013.

The majority of this amount came from outside St. Margaret's congregation. The RYDA success story is spreading. Please keep on praying and keep on giving. Some people use a regular automatic deduction from their salary transferred to St. Margaret's account. $10 per week becomes a substantial and very welcome yearly donation.

Other News

  • At last it is possible to find RYDA on Google Maps by searching. Just go to Google Maps and enter RYDA Uganda in the search box. You can get close enough in satellite view to just make out the round black tanks collecting water from the roofs of various buildings. (You can also see the bare patch where the new, not-quite-finished St. Margaret's Hall now stands to celebrate the faithful support of many, many people beyond this tiny community.)

    Many thanks to Colin Isherwood, St. Margaret's, who did the spade work that made this possible.

  • Barbara Grosshans, Crossroads Hong Kong, sent this message in response to the February News. It gives another - very practical - reason for rejoicing in RYDA's new hall.
    As usual VERY interesting!! St Margaret's Hall looks wonderful!! What a difference!! The thatched roofed buildings look very quaint and interesting, but are not always good when it comes to insects, snakes and lizards!!! I know that first hand from when my husband and I were in Mombasa, Kenya visiting missionary friends whose house had a thatched roof. She served "mango cobbler" and when George tried to get his fork into it he couldn't!! When he lifted the pastry on the top with his fork to see why, there was a lizard spread right out and baked into it!!!

    We also slept under a mosquito net that night, not because of mosquitoes but because of snakes?! So I'm sure RYDA is thrilled to have that wonderful roof?! You folks at St Margaret's (and your co-donors beyond) are so wonderful?

They are thrilled ... but they still need food and water every day!

April 2014

Situation Not So Desperate

Finally, the rain came!!

March 17th

Dear Doug,
Today morning a heavy rain pour a big re-leave for water at the center. At least 5 water tank were half full. We pray that it continue this way for a month. In some parts of the countryside it was destructive to an extent that some people were left with no house to sleep in. But to our side it was all excitement to have water. It is a blessing from God

A Friend Passes On

Madame Droixhe, President of SOS Layettes, Belgium died from complications related to bronchitis on March 12th. Madame Droixhe supported RYDA to set up the first buildings at the RYDA Centre through the Children's Villages project. Geoffrey and all of RYDA staff were saddened by this loss. Geoffrey wrote:

When I received this message it was a shock to us. Madame Droixhe will always be remembered by RYDA members for many years. She made what RYDA is today. I will personally remember her for the compassionate heart and tireless effort in helping the needy people not only in Africa but in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

miva Switzerland Donates for Replacement Vehicle

miva supports projects, primarily in remote rural areas, where development is impeded by the lack of transport and communications facilities. Between 1997 and 2005 miva responded to RYDA's need by granting funds for one primary vehicle and some subsidiary ones. By 2011, the main vehicle had been operating for 11 years, covering tens of thousands of kilometres each year. At that time RYDA began the application process again and in March were informed that miva would grant USD 10,000 towards the cost of a replacement vehicle. A wonderful, gift!

However, miva never donates the full amount needed. It relies on the receiving partner to generate the balance. RYDA is about USD 3,500 short.

Can you help?

RYDA has been trying to sell the old vehicle, but so far no takers for the tired workhorse. The contract with miva includes an expectation that the balance will be found within 6 months.

At the end of March, Geoffrey wrote:

Indeed there is a need for the money, but this morning I have negotiated with the supplier that I deposit what I have and pay the balance in three months time. Tomorrow I will pay the twenty four million shillings and after five days the vehicle will be released to RYDA.
Clearly RYDA is doing all it can to complete this purchase, but it simply needs our help. Please consider a 'vehicle' donation to RYDA through St. Margaret's which is over and above your normal giving. See How To Support RYDA.

Diary Date for Pirates

Mark the afternoon of Sunday June 1st in your diary. On that afternoon the place to be is the warm and welcoming surroundings of St. Margaret's Uniting Church, Mooroolbark, for a performance of Pirates of Penzance, an all time Gilbert & Sullivan favourite. Singularity is once again donating their time and talent so as much as possible can be raised to support RYDA. More details next month.

More on Crossroads Donation

RYDA continues to find uses for the hundreds of items in the container of goods sent by Crossroads Hong Kong last year. The photos show Geoffrey and students exploring the extensively redeveloped clinic and new classroom tables.

It is amazing how much this professional furniture and fittings, unwanted in Hong Kong, lift the spirit and enhance the purpose of this organisation on the other side of the world. In this next photo Geoffrey is showing visitors the extent of the clinic in 2006. What a difference!

May 2014

Here Is The Van

The shiny new van that (almost) belongs to RYDA.

In March miva Switzerland donated USD10,000 towards this purchase and that was the drive away down payment. RYDA has to find USD3,500 to complete the sale by the end of June - in essence the last three monthly payments of around USD1,200 each. They have tried to sell their old vehicle - 14 years old with tens of thousands of kilometres on the dial - but so far no success.

They need help to complete this purchase
or they risk losing the vehicle!
Think about it this way:
  • Do you go shopping for your family?
    RYDA's family can be as many as 100 orphaned and vulnerable young people living in the Buloba Training Centre, receiving vocational and life skills training for a more secure future. How else will RYDA staff carry the maize flour home from the market?
  • Do you seek out street youths and build sufficient trust so they accept the opportunity to do better than live on the street?
    RYDA staff do. How else will they travel the 8+ miles to the city centre of Kampala to make these connections?
  • Do you need to transport sporting teams to events, students to educational experiences, staff to government and NGO meetings to advocate for the poor and disadvantaged, counsellors to distant villages to advise on programs to keep the children at home...?
    RYDA does. How else will they do it without their own van? Take the bus??

Don't let us lose our van.
To support RYDA in this need you can:
  • Pray that the Spirit will touch enough people so that this need is met.
  • Donate through St. Margaret's Uniting Church by electronic funds transfer or cheque.
  • Bring a friend to Singularity's performance of Pirates of Penzance.
St. Margaret's Presents The Pirates

Arr! (pirate-like exclamation)

The afternoon of June 1st is guaranteed to be musical, mirthful merriment.

So with pieces of eight in your pocket and a shipmate by your side, weigh anchor and join the crew for this rollicking frolic.

All booty collected will be given to Rubaga Youth Development Association, Uganda.

But leave the rum behind because afternoon tea is provided.

Click the image to print it and display wherever the four winds blow.

More details from Doug. Williams

(Note: It is highly unlikely that John English will be present.)

Congratulations Principal Suzan

Suzan Nabirye, Principal of RYDA's Vocational Training Centre has been selected by the International Labour Organisation for a one week study tour in Italy which will take place from May 26 - 31.

Congratulations Suzan, we know your study will enrich the life and work of the RYDA Centre.

Also Geoffrey tells us that there are upcoming one year projects for the ILO and RYDA has been asked to put forward proposals. He asks for prayers as the Board prepares these and for the inspiration to fulfil the local contribution requirement if successful.

RYDA Robbed!

On Good Friday thieves broke into a building at the RYDA Centre, vandalised the Hairdressing Department room and stole equipment. Geoffrey writes:

(The police caught...) the culprits and they are imprisoned but the hairdressing equipment has not been secured yet as those involved refused to say where the equipment and tools are. Anyway this has disturbed me a lot after sleepless nights trying to follow-up on the thieves ... Also the non-formal students will be starting their Exams 22-24 May. The challenge now is the machines for Hairdressing which were stolen and we have a big number of students who are going to be examined.
Relief Among the Daily Challenges

The daily challenges for Geoffrey Kyeyune, Executive Director, and his Board and staff are many. But they are strong, resilient and successful, partly because they know they have your support in prayer and practice. Sometimes too there are long-waited for blessings that raise spirits. The rainy season has finally come and for now all the tanks are full. Currently there are no problems with water - a relief which many in Australia can deeply understand.

June 2014

You Did It!!!

This shiny new van now belongs to RYDA.

On June 11th St. Margaret's Treasurer transferred USD3,500 to RYDA for the final payment.

This brand new vehicle was already funded to USD10,000 by miva Switzerland.

We had never promised RYDA that we would be able to raise the full amount of the final payment. We had only promised to try to raise as much as we could. But now this small miracle has been achieved and this is why...

  • Faithful, small donations in the RYDA Box that lies open in St. Margaret's foyer every Sunday as people enter for worship.
  • Reliable, regular electronic transfers from supporters beyond St. Margaret's who automatically deduct from their salary.
  • Generous special donations from members of St. Margaret's, Mooroolbark, and St. John's, Cowes
  • A fantastic response to the Pirates of Penzance concert that raised $966 on the day, an amount which was boosted by a couple of additional donations in the days following the event.
  • The incredible generosity of St. Margaret's Bowling Club who gave $1,000 (as well as additional large donations to two other local causes that St. Margaret's supports). The Club is so named because it meets in St. Margaret's Hall. Only some of its members worship at St. Margaret's, but their collective community spirit offers an uplifting model.
But these amounts didn't quite make it. The exchange rate on the day meant we needed to transfer AUD3,900.59 and we had only raised AUD3,640.75. The Treasurer made the decision to make up the missing $259.84 by borrowing from other church 'buckets' in the sure and certain knowledge that our supporters would soon replace this amount and no other church work would suffer.

If you would like to help make up this shortfall, transfer to St. Margaret's as explained here, and mark the payment 'RYDA Van Extra'. If we receive more than we need it will be included in our next transfer to RYDA for its day to day needs.

Pirates of Penzance a Huge Success

Wow!! What a wonderful Sunday afternoon on June 1st at the Singularity Pirates of Penzance performance. Thirty plus volunteer singers forming a costumed choir performed magnificently for an audience of over 100

  • Some were members of St. Margaret's.
  • Some were friends of St. Margaret's members.
  • Some were members from other congregations, sometimes from far afield.
  • Some were members of the broader Mooroolbark community.
St. Margaret's was at its hosting best and the atmosphere was light, warm, welcoming and friendly. It was outreach at its best in many ways Well done to everyone who helped to bring this about.

RYDA Principal Attends Conference in Italy

RYDA Centre Principal, Suzan Nabirye, was invited to attend a course titled Training of Trainers: Skills and livelihood training for out of school adolescents at the International Training Centre, International Labour Organisation, Turin, Italy. This was an honour for Suzan and and an honour for RYDA. Other participants attended from Bolivia, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali and the ILO.

Suzan believes the 4.5 days of lectures and group workshops will lead to important improvements in RYDA's already successful life and vocational skills training for orphaned and vulnerable youth.

The International Labour Organization (a division of the United Nations) and the Italian Government established the International Training Centre in 1964 in Turin, Italy, as an advanced vocational training institute. It has since matured into a focal point for high-level in-service training. This takes place in Turin, in course participants' home countries or via the Internet.

The Centre provides training and related services that develop human resources and institutional capabilities. It thereby contributes to achieving the ILO's goal of decent work for women and men. Find out more about ITC/ILO at its web site.

July 2014

Meet Rachael

Am by name Najjuma Rachael a trainee at RYDA centre currently training in Hairdressing and cosmetology.

Before joining RYDA I thought that dropping out of school had painted the dark days in my life. A life with no parents and brothers after their death daunting me all the time.

During a community sensitization I met the project staff of RYDA talking about their services. This was the time I was waiting for, after the session I approached the principal, she is always smiling, then she directed me to the RYDA centre. When I reached the centre I met the young people then I took the opportunity to talk to one about the centre in general. This is what she told me; that "the centre welcomes vulnerable children and youth, she cautioned me about the discipline and participatory nature of staff and children/young people".

Rachael Najjuma aged 19 years

My dreams and reality came true as now am being hopeful and with new determination to successfully live decent life. Grateful am, to all those who support the RYDA community with food, clothing, and financial help to making the centre so beautiful.
Najjuma Rachael

Tour RYDA Centre with Principal Suzan

Rachael is right. Principal Suzan Liz Nabirye is always smiling.
  • Perhaps it is because she delights in the many orphaned and vulnerable youth like Rachael who find a positive future through the sponsorship you provide for RYDA's work.

  • Perhaps it is because RYDA is a residential centre and she can chat with the students at the end of the day before they go off to their dormitory.

  • Perhaps it is because she knows that if any of her children develop medical problems the RYDA clinic is now equipped to provide comfort and care because you supported the overland shipping of a container of goods and chattels gathered and given by Crossroads Hong Kong.

  • Perhaps it is because she can take the RYDA van to meet district leaders in outlying areas and work with them to prevent the streets of Kampala receiving more homeless youths because you joined with miva Switzerland and donated towards the final USD3,500 payment for the van.



Or perhaps Suzan is always smiling because she knows she is not alone in her work with the youth of Uganda. She knows that God works with RYDA in many ways to continue its success and perhaps the most touching is through the continued generous giving of the first world people from the other side of the earth whom she may never meet.

August 2014

Rev Runs for RYDA 2014

Just one piece of news this month, but it's


Following successful Melbourne Half-Marathon runs in 2011 and 2013, Arnie Wierenga, St. Margaret's minister,
has decided to tackle the full Melbourne Marathon in 2014

- all 42.2 kilometres of it! -

to raise funds to support RYDA's work with orphaned and vulnerable children and youth in Uganda.
Click the image to

about how you can become a Strider for RYDA and help support Arnie's incredible commitment.

Arnie has doubled the distance.
  • Rev Runs 2011 raised $US 7,098.88
  • Rev Runs 2013 raised $US 5,076.65
  • That's an average of $US 6,087.76
Can we work together to double the donations???

Is God Involved?

Arnie purchased these compression pants on the recommendation of a running mate. He wore them for weeks without thinking any more about them, except that they were comfortable. Then, in the depth of training doubts, when the freezing nights and howling winter winds made it almost impossible to get out of bed for a training run in his beloved Dandenong Ranges, when his brain was yelling:

Why am I doing this?!?

he saw the brand name with new eyes.

STRYDA ... ST (St. Margaret's work with) RYDA ... Then he ran.

September 2014

Self Help Needs Our Help

Take a good look at these young people. They could be teenagers at any school in Australia having a lesson outside, resplendent in their school uniforms...

But these children aren't from anywhere, they are from somewhere and they are now finding direction, self-esteem, hope and a future through Rubaga Youth Development Association.

Their somewhere is nowhere you are likely to have been. One parent, perhaps both, dead - usually due to HIV-Aids. Perhaps they have been left as the child-head of the family - too great a responsibility for children sometimes as young as 8. Perhaps they have been trapped in a child labour situation. Perhaps they have had to leave a village where there was little to eat to scrounge an existence in the dust of the street.

RYDA meets them in the streets, in the villages - anywhere - offers accommodation, food, clothing, health care and invites them to learn social and vocational skills for a positive future.

Here the group is involved in a life-skills counselling and psycho-social support session conducted by Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune and staff to help them become aware of the task ahead and their responsibility. It is part of the orientation into RYDA Centre activities. They are seated in the garden compound outside the Centre office.

And the uniforms. RYDA buys the materials and the uniforms are made on site. Geoffrey explains:

The uniforms you see in the pictures are RYDA official uniform. It includes the T-shirt, sweater, which has a black and white stripes, a white blouse and white shirt, black trousers and skirt. These are not donated. They are made by our staff and students who are completing their studies.

And where does the money come from? From grants, from products made and sold during training, from benefactors and from us. Their self-help efforts need our selfless support. Please continue to be part of this African success story.

Rev Runs for RYDA 2014

Whoever heard of a minister running away from his church!!

On Sunday October 12th, Arnie Wierenga, minister of St. Margaret's Uniting Church in Mooroolbark is doing just that. And his congregation is all for it.

Arnie is running the 42.2km Melbourne Marathon to raise funds for RYDA's continued stabilisation and growth.

This is Arnie's first marathon. Mooroolbark is just inside the old 20 mile radius which was once the recognised boundary of the Melbourne Metropolitan Area. A marathon is just over 26 miles, so he will be running further than the distance from his church to the centre of Melbourne.

Arnie is giving of himself in this way that most of us can't even contemplate 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 the 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.
More Self Help

  • Do you remember Kasubi Hall which was crushed by tropical storms?
  • Do you remember that as soon as the RYDA team recovered from the shock they began to rebuild?
  • Do you remember that we have worked for four years to raise additional donations to support the rebuild?
  • Do you remember that Arnie's previous attempts at half-marathons have been a significant part of those additional donations?
  • Do you remember that RYDA Board decided to name the new hall St. Margaret Hall in recognition of all who have joined St. Margaret's congregation in their support for RYDA's work with orphaned and vulnerable children?
Well look at what the RYDA Team is doing now!


And what makes it even more special is that the rendering materials were supplied by a former RYDA student who now has his own business and the work was done by current RYDA bricklaying students and staff. This is the result.

Isn't it beautiful.

The pyramids of ancient Egypt could not have shone any brighter when they were completed.

It isn't finished yet, but this is a great step forward. Perhaps your support for Rev Runs for RYDA 2014 will provide the funds for windows, doors, electrical connections and interior fittings.

Happy Birthday St. Margaret's

On September 7th, St. Margaret's church celebrated the 60th anniversary of the inaugural service in their building. There were only two congratulatory messages read in the celebration service. One from the council of the original St. Margaret Chapel in Edinburgh Castle and one from Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune on behalf of the RYDA Board.

Dear St Margaret Community,

As you celebrate the 60th celebrations allow me to write a short message on behalf of the Rubaga Youth Development Association (RYDA).

We write to congratulate you all for a successful achievement. There are many reasons for us to celebrate with you. But we need to give a praise to those people who started the church and have passed on. Let us pray for their contribution to the church work activities.

For me, I have lived to see several Church ministers with whom I have worked and they have supported our cause and as you are celebrating, we are also celebrating 18 years working in partnership with St. Margaret Uniting church. I will always remember the compassionate nature of the entire congregations of the church for their continued contributions towards RYDA activities and programmes. What a blessing to have you good people. You look at the events which have you been involved in, such as the St Margaret Hall (alias Kasubi Hall), Crossroad Project, RYDA van, RYDA web site, RYDA Music Block to mention but a few. All these have been realized because of you.

Indeed we very grateful for all these contributions to our organization and hosting us whenever we visit Australia.

We wish you all a wonderful celebration.

Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune
Executive Director


Images extracted with permission from Living Today in Mooroolbark and the Yarra Ranges, No. 48 September 2014, Mooroolbark Christian Fellowship.
Download the PDF form of this issue at:
St. Margaret's has been co-ordinating support for RYDA for almost one third of its congregational life - 18 years. God's blessings through those years on both those who have worked with St. Margaret's and those who have worked with RYDA have been immense. We look forward to your help in continuing this partnership.

October 2014

He Did It!

Congratulated by his older brother, Dirk, who ran his marathon in 2000, the running Reverend, Arnie Wierenga, completed his first marathon in 4 hours 13 minutes!

Dear Geoffrey,

What a brutal test of human limits!

I had been warned by seasoned marathon runners what to expect. Their advice was right, but words are not the same as experience.

I have learned so much about myself through pushing on when my body screamed out at me to stop when I had hours left to run. It was incredibly tempting to find a shady spot of grass and just lay down! It seemed an impossible distance to cover when I hit the wall of supposed physical and mental limits. I am grateful that the wishes of many all around the world spurred me on.

While in many ways this was a deeply personal test of endurance, I am pleased to be able to make a difference in the lives of others as well. What seemed so hard over 42.2km is still nothing compared to the hardship that many face in the world.

I was moved enough to shed a tear as I crossed the finish line, but I continue to be moved at the work of RYDA and the tangible difference they make in the lives of vulnerable youth.


Dear Arnie,

Indeed with God's will, everything is possible, It was God's Plan and it happened as it was planned.

On behalf of the Rubaga Youth Development Association (RYDA) I want to extend to you a good recovery period after a 42.2 Km run which you accomplished in 4 hours and 13 minutes. I don't know whether I would have done it in the time you did it; for me I think it would have been 10 hours. Bravo brother for this wonderful gesture.

Extend our sincere appreciation to all those people who supported and watched you on your full track. Wishing you all the best and a quick recovery God bless you.


This (26) milestone moment in Arnie's life was recorded by his wife Ani. The next morning Arnie commented:
I'm surprised how good I look there given
how I felt 30 minutes before that.

Now, for the sake of the orphaned and vulnerable street youths who will learn life and trade skills and be assisted to meaningful work by RYDA, we need to collect all the promised sponsorship. Please send yours as soon as possible to St. Margaret's Treasurer using these support details.

October 13th ... Current Total


Which includes large and small donations from far and wide, each representing the best the giver could offer.


RYDA Supported to Fight Child Labour ... Again!

From February 2010 to December 2011, RYDA was supported by the International Labour Organisation, a specialized agency of the United Nations, with a grant to work against child labour in 3 districts of Kampala. That project was so successful that the ILO has recently contracted RYDA to continue this work. A great deal of credit for this achievement must go to Principal Suzan Nabirye for her representation at an ILO conference in Italy earlier this year.

The facts of this new project are:

  • The target group are 135 child and potential child labourers 14-17 years old.
  • They will be trained in life and vocational skills with a view to graduating to decent work.
  • This a pilot project to last for 11 months.
  • If its implemented well a bigger project may be in offing
  • The total project cost is USD110,177.
  • I.L.O. contribution is USD71,445 leaving a balance of USD38,732.
  • RYDA hostel and some equipment is costed in kind at up to USD12,000.
  • RYDA is expected to raise USD26,732.

Which means each USD200 donation will guarantee life-changing training for one child.
September 29th
I have not approached people on this but now that we have signed the project document we can approach possible funders and supporters on the same. We have never been more hopeful. Keep on praying for the funding to be realized. From who? GOD knows, but we will keep on praying for this project. GOD has answers to it. I know RYDA won't fail.
Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director.
Now you know the target and the timeline.
Your donations will be welcome at any time.
Please remember these, as yet unknown, 135 children in your prayers.

WorkAid Visits RYDA

At the end of last year RYDA received 128 boxes of reconditioned tools from WorkAid, UK, to support their training programmes. On October 7th WorkAid representatives visited RYDA to see the programmes in action.

Indeed the visit became real as the children opened the RYDA Centre gate for them. The first impression told them all. A centre with brilliance and order - clean and magnificent.

Jane and Sylvia officials from Work-Aid accompanied by Rev. Father Asiku came. First they visited the Executive Director office and cordial and partnership issues were discussed. Thereafter they visited the RYDA vocational departments and after the visit they sat down to eat lunch which was prepared by the RYDA catering students.

In the conclusion we received feedback from the visit from the visitors. Guess what; it was all praise from them about the team work and children's behavior. You have a wonderful team they concluded.





More Good News

  • Geoffrey's son Solomon, who visited Australia with him in 2011, has just completed his undergraduate degree with first class results and will be graduating in December.
  • Christmas is coming. So are RYDA Christmas Gift Certificates.
    Plan now to give, or receive, RYDA Christmas Gift Certificates.

November 2014

Christmas Gift Certificates

  • When you don't know what to give ... give a RYDA Christmas Gift Certificate.

  • When you don't know what to receive ... ask for a RYDA Christmas Gift Certificate.

Certificates are freely available directly from this site, by email or by post. You choose the amount you will donate to support RYDA's work with orphaned and vulnerable youths.
Hi Doug,
I have just placed $XXX in St Margaret's bank account for our Christmas certificates. Thank you for dropping them off to us.
Ron and Faye
That's how easy it is. Ron & Faye asked for 10 certificates, one for each of their grandchildren. The amount given is what they otherwise might have spent on less meaningful gifts for the children. At they same time they have recovered something of the true meaning of Christmas giving.

Rev Runs for RYDA 2014

Final Total


Thank you to every giver and every person who has prayed for the success of this run. The support has come from far and wide. Every dollar will go to RYDA to be used as needed.

  • What a team effort! I think St. Margaret's and her wider network of supporters are absolutely amazing. (Arnie)
  • All RYDA staff gathered at my office computer to see the pictures of the fun run. Many questions were made. Who is this Reverend who has supported RYDA three times without despair? I remained silent as they read your letter again and again but the answer was there in your last sentence (see October News) ... Please allow me to extend sincere appreciation to St Margaret congregation, Board and other supporters who have joined to realize your project goal. (Geoffrey)

Meet David Mbugga

David was born in Mende sub-county, Wakiso district. He was previously working in Kanzu making.

November 5th, 2014. RYDA's contract with ILO began on September 1st.

A Kanzu is a traditional arab garment that has been adopted in Uganda, especially in the central part of the country. Each Kanzu sells for 30-40,000 Ugandan shillings (USD11-14.75). David was given food in return for work - we have no information about how much or what type.

Through RYDA's joint project with the International Labour Organisation, David has begun a course in motor vehicle mechanics at RYDA Training College, where, in addition to the vocational training, he receives full hostel accommodation, two meals a day, some clothing, education materials, counselling and additional training in life skills, including health and physical fitness.

In just over a month of training he is already seeing himself after training as being a successful mechanic. When he graduates it will be with a government certificate from the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) and RYDA will assist him to find decent work.

The current RYDA / ILO project requires RYDA to raise USD26,732 over the 11 months of the project, which began on September 1st.

  • The total project cost is USD110,177.
  • The I.L.O. contribution is USD71,445 leaving a balance of USD38,732.
  • The contract costs the RYDA hostel and some equipment at USD12,000.
  • The difference, USD26,732, is what RYDA has to raise as a local contribution.
135 current or potential child labourers aged 14 - 17 will be trained at RYDA during the project to prepare for a future of decent work.

As pointed out by Bronwyn Williams, a long time supporter:
  • Each USD200 raised will secure the future of one of these youths.
  • At today's exchange rate USD200 = AUD23164.
  • And that's doable - one child at a time.
  • The challenge is to see how many of these youths we can sponsor.

ILO Supplies Safety Gear

Decent work implies decent worker protection. Protective clothing is one component of this the International Labour Organisation has just supplied a large number of hard hats. Here you see them being unpacked and sorted by former child labourers training for an electrical certificate.

These children have previously been engaged in hazardous work, eg: stone quarrying, sand mining and other child-exploitation activities, including trafficking. These young people are between 14-16 years old and all come from poor households in the two sub-counties of Mende and Namayumba.

Congratulations Solomon

Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, Executive Director of RYDA has reason to be proud. His son Solomon visited Australia with his father in March 2011 just after he matriculated. Everyone who met Solomon was impressed with his confidence, intelligence and public speaking skills. On November 15th, he will graduate from Kampala International University with degree in Economics and Applied Statistics having gained first class honours. Well done Solomon.

December 2014 / January 2015

How Much To Change A Life?

Living Today in Mooroolbark and the Yarra Ranges, page 10.

Published by Mooroolbark Christian Fellowship. (Click the image to enlarge it.)

You can change a life this Christmas using RYDA Christmas Gift Certificates.


Christmas Gift Certificates

  • When you don't know what to give
    ... give a RYDA Christmas Gift Certificate.

  • When you don't know what to receive
    ... ask for a RYDA Christmas Gift Certificate.

Certificates are freely available directly from this site, by email or by post. You choose the amount you will donate to support RYDA's work with orphaned and vulnerable youths.

Perhaps you could:

  • Make your own Christmas bon-bons and fold a certificate inside each one. When the jokes have all been read there will be reason to talk about the meaning of giving at Christmas.
  • Laminate them and make them the placemats on your table. Discuss your family response. Perhaps you will decide to become a life-changing family for RYDA.

December 9th ... Current Total


Half of this amount is from one family; a further quarter is from a different family and the fourth quarter has been given by a range of generous donors from St. John's, Cowes and St. Margaret's, Mooroolbark.

A big thank you to donors so far.

In effect, you have secured the funding to train 6 child labourers in worthwhile income-generating work.

Funds Transferred to RYDA

St. Margaret's treasurer recently transferred AU$6254.33 to RYDA's account. This included:

  • $5,140 from the many donors to Rev Runs for RYDA 2014.
  • Early Christmas Gift Certificate donations.
  • Contributions from supporters who set aside small amounts regularly.
  • Additional funds from St. Margaret's to cover bank charges at both ends.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this donation which became 13 million Ugandan Shillings! Geoffrey's initial plans for the funds are to spend around US$3,500 completing St. Margaret Hall with windows, doors, electrical wiring and perhaps even a television as an alternative form of weekend relaxation for the students, and the balance being used towards the ILO Child Labour project.

The Hall on the Hill is almost finished.

December 3rd

Dear Doug,
We have finished fixing the doors and windows for the hall and painting has commenced. By end of this week it will be done. Also we have decided to put a flat screen in the hall. As more children are now at the centre we decided to use the balance to fix three main gates - at the main entrance, at the girls dormitory and at the canteen side - to make the centre more secure. This work is progressing.
Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune
Executive Director

Other Recent Activities

The local Reverend Father visited the catholic students at the Centre and a mass was held in the almost complete St. Margaret Hall.

Tailoring and fashion students has been hard at work and the finalists were delighted to show fellow students the gown they created.

And it's been examination time for many students. We hope they have been able to show their best under pressure.

Graduation Photos

On November 15th, this young man, who visited Australia with his father in April 2011 after recently completing secondary school, graduated with a first class degree in Economics and Applied Statistics from Kampala International University.

Often we think of Geoffrey only as Executive Director of RYDA and the driving force behind its success. But this is a moment to pause and realise that Geoffrey is also husband and father. We rejoice with him and with Solomon in this moment of family pride.