A Photographic Tour of RYDA 2015 From Kasubi to St. Margaret 2015...
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RYDA Entrance In March 2015 Doug. Williams, RYDA Support Co-ordinator, St. Margaret's Uniting Church, Australia, travelled to Uganda for the first time. As expected, he found a dynamic, participatory, positive, education-driven community committed to changing the future of vulnerable Ugandan youths. At the time there were 285 students in residence, 135 of whom were studying an intensive short course limited by the time restrictions of an 11 month grant from the International Labour Organisation. The balance of students was made up of a new group beginning their first of two years, and students who were already well into their courses.

Teaching is in written and spoken English (official language of Uganda) and student competency is good despite the many disruptions and disadvantages in the student lives before coming to RYDA. There are also special classes, taken by the Principal, for students who are not as experienced in English and these may also take longer to complete their courses.

This was Doug's first visit in the 19 years St. Margaret's had been co-ordinating 'out of Africa' support for RYDA. He comments:

We must remember that although we see (in the photos below) an African success story that strives to be self-sufficient, it operates on a funding knife edge that can only be maintained through continuing first world support.
When you view the photos below, you are visiting with us. As you meet the students and staff, ponder the disadvantages the students have already faced in their short lives, and the long term positive effects their 'RYDA years' are likely to have on their future, the future of their remnant families and the families they will eventually create themselves, the development and strengthening of community spirit wherever they might live and the social and economic benefits to the proud country of Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.

Note: Almost all tools, machinery, instruments and stationery in the photos have been donated by international aid organisations such as Workaid UK and Crossroads Hong Kong. St. Margaret's has been able to add supportive letters to applications for such aid and raise funding to support shipping and other associated costs.

Principal Suzan Liz Nabirye proudly displays the institute's objectives in the entrance hall of the administration block.

One of two concurrent classes in life skills training that begin the day. The teacher is Director, Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune.

Geoffrey's students finish their first hour class and head to various vocational training classes.

Bricklaying and concreting students learning as they
construct a much needed new toilet block.

Trainers: Cherotich Alex & Mugume Alex.

Motor Vehicle training.

Trainers: Bamywana Sudi & Katumba Brian

Art & Design class.

Trainers: Ayiochah Louise Precious & Onyait Stephen.

Electrical Installation class being introduced to
technical drawing required for circuit diagrams.

Trainers: Nafuna Sarah (a qualified electrical engineer) & Musede Livingstone.

Plumbing class being introduced to the linear expansion effect of
heating pipes and the related effect on surface area.

Trainer: Kamya Steven.

Tailoring class has a few electric sewing machines.

On which they make garments like these.

Trainers: Yeko Moses & Nampala Emilly

The class also has several foot operated treadle machines.

Catering and hotel management is a popular course which uses two rooms. Here the students are learning about the properties of various fibres.

Next door matoke and cassava are slow cooking in a traditional way and inside the classroom cakes are being prepared...

...using a method from a different tradition.
Trainers: Kaweesi Sarah & Othieno Patrick

Hairdressing is also very popular.

Trainers: Namatovou Rashidah & Namusisi Shakirah

Hairdressing also needs two rooms...

...but one is a little exposed to the elements!

Computer and secretarial skills. None of these machines are connected to the Internet. The only machine on campus with that facility is in the Director's office. Training for this group is shared between the Director, the Principal and the Administrative Secretary.

All students live on site with everything supplied except for a small bag of belongings they may bring on arrival. This is one of two boys' dormitories.

Students are expected to keep themselves, their clothing, their dormitories,
classrooms and the compound clean and hygienic at all times.

These girls' dormitories were purpose built. Boys' dormitories are converted classrooms, although a new boys' dormitory is partially built.

Triple bunks sleep nine in a room. During the week the Principal lives
on site in a small house beside the girls' dormitory.

This kitchen supplies all the food for students and staff. It is behind the girls' dormitory. Again traditional cooking methods are used. Wood is essential to fuel the fires. What can't be harvested must be bought.

Rain water for cooking and drinking is collected in dedicated tanks attached to the Principal's house It is led to the vat on the bottom right in the photo above where it is boiled to sterilise it, cooled, then piped to this tap. This is the only safe drinking water on the property. It is transported to where it is needed throughout the compound in yellow plastic, 10 litre containers. Rain water tanks on other parts of the property supply water for washing, laundry and other purposes.

That's why the next two photos are critical to the future of RYDA.

The Kampala water board has laid pipes through the district and built a pressure tank on top of RYDA's hill. The pipes pass inside the the girls' compound fence and the branching pipe in the first photo below passes under the separating track/road into the major compound. The tap, one of three on the property, is connected to this branch. Connection fees have been paid and RYDA waits for the flow of 'town water' which is expected sometime in 2015.

Look back through the photos and think about everywhere water has been involved. Safe running water will open a new phase in RYDA's ability to provide for its children.

But RYDA is far more than its vocational skills training. Here Geoffrey has travelled more than an hour to a village in Namayumbah district for...

...a strengthening meeting with the Village Savings & Loan Association (VSLA). Members walk in for the meeting from the local area.

Villagers pool what money they have then loan it to each other for short term (1 - 3 month) income generating projects. The loan has to be repaid with interest at an agreed rate.

The concept is a RYDA creation. It usually involves no more than 30 people
in a group. It has grown to six groups across the district and is being copied across Uganda.

Rules are decided by the group. Chair, secretary, treasurer and money counters make up a governing committee. Successful projects include growing crops, rearing animals, starting kiosk businesses on the main road some kilometres away and creating craft items. Annually the group shares all funds in proportion to the original deposit and members have the choice to start again.

Families with a secure local income can provide for themselves
and pay school fees. Education helps prevent children leaving for a life
on the street in the big city. This village group was reduced in number
on this day due to two funerals in the district. It is suspected
both deaths were due to an unsanitary toilet in the area.