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February 2016

The previous eNews was early December. We took a break for the summer but RYDA, and some donors, certainly haven't. This month's news begins by catching you up with events since December.

2015 at a Glance

On your behalf, St. Margaret's transferred
to RYDA through 2015.

Look through the Previous News above to see what RYDA achieved with it.

Thanks to Sammy Stamp, Council and members of St. John's Cowes, Don & Marg, Ron & Faye, Helen (who gives the same small amount every fortnight), Scott, Singularity and all who gave donations, time, thought or prayer to RYDA. We hope you will continue the journey with us through 2016. Included in this remarkable total were:

Christmas Gift Certificates

Final Total
What a fabulous result! Thank you to so many.

You thought twice about the meaning of Christmas and chose to help RYDA offer the gift of a new life to orphaned and disadvantaged youth.

Bronwyn's Christmas Story
Instead of buying presents for everyone, or having a Kris Kringle type thing, our family sometimes have a 'competition'. Each of us makes a gold coin donation to participate and the money goes to a nominated charity. As our family Christmas was at my place this year, I got to set the 'rules', set up the competition and pick the charity. Making the origami Christmas trees was hilarious; everyone 'won' a chocolate and RYDA 'won' a donation.
Mary's Christmas Gift

Mary was at Bronwyn's family Christmas. Afterwards she kept thinking about RYDA.

Bronwyn is a long time supporter and had told her family all about her chosen charity.

Sample origami tree images from Google Images

Mary had been planning to sell some jewellery and give the money to a charity. Now she knew which one.

Why? because RYDA's work includes training for teenage girls to help them make better life choices and find a job with a future. Helping to educate and train the mothers of the future is close to Mary's heart.

Mary's gift of $150 has started the ball rolling for 2016.

Perhaps Mary's idea of selling something you don't need and sharing the proceeds with children like these is something you will think about this year.

Meet Watyeme Geoffrey

Watyeme Geoffrey is 17 and is a graduate from RYDA training centre under the International Labour Organisation programme targeting former child labourers. Watyeme trained in motor mechanics and following his course he was placed at one of the garages in Wandegeya. Because of his good discipline and hard work he was retained as an employee of the garage.

RYDA has been monitoring its former trainees and Watyeme seems to be happy and he is a good testimony to many others who have mainstreamed in the labour market. Thanks goes to all those who supported RYDA under this programme. Watyeme is very hopeful about the future.
What's Happening at RYDA
  • In late December, heavy rain undermined part of the security wall in front of the girls' dormitory. The gap (about 4 metres) has been temporarily closed with old iron sheets from the roof of the former kitchen. The fallen bricks were used to close an open space at the rear of the newly constructed kitchen. How to fix this section and prevent adjoining sections from tumbling in the future is now a significant (and potentially costly) maintenance issue.

  • From Director Geoffrey Kyeyune, 22/01/2016

    Dear Doug,
    Let me hope you are okay and fine. Today the ministry officials visited RYDA center on the yearly visits to training centers. The following were cited for improvement - the girls' dormitory fence, toilets and the boys' dormitory space.

    Thanks for the donation we received which enabled to roof the new boys' dormitory which led them to pardon us for three months to complete it. The Hall, training rooms, clinic and the Kitchen was very good.

    In our district alone they closed four institutions. It's upon this background that I write to you if possible to assist us in this issue.

  • Over to you folks.
    Looks like we have our first project for the year.

Meet Our Guest Speaker

Are you planning a 2016 activity program for a church group, school or other organisation? Our experienced speaker could be just what you are looking for. Adapted for primary or secondary children or adults, this is a photo-filled, friendly presentation of stories from and about RYDA. A great way to learn lots and support this African success story.

March 2016

Thanks for the Support

Immediately on reading the February News (see Previous News above), Executive Director, Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune wrote to all supporters:

Thanks for the information I have been busy with the training and meeting as the year has just began ... am now pondering to make the fence to make the girls safe. The rain has ended and the real sun has began.

I have noted the total for the year 2015 it was great year and many achievement made; the St Margaret Hall, Child labour project, Kitchen and boy dormitory it was a great accomplishment all the credit goes to our beloved donors and supporters for their endless effort, in making the work better. RYDA is very grateful for the interest they shown in supporting RYDA for all these years.

You Did It!

Supporters of Rubaga Youth Development Association are amazing. You gave so much through the last quarter of 2015 to meet urgent building needs. Then, when you read about the collapse of a section of the privacy wall around the girls' dormitory due to wet season rain damage, you responded again. Several small gifts and one larger one from a long term supporter meant that on February 16th, only days after you read about the problem,


plus bank fees was transferred to RYDA. Perhaps some of you were struck by the sudden and unexpected breech of security that this represented for the teenage girls living in this building. For whatever reason it was a marvellous response and you are truly thanked. Geoffrey wrote:

This funds will be used for the fence as this is very vital and if funds are left it will be put to other critical problems at the center.
We hope to have photos of the new wall for the next edition of this news service.

Happy Birthday St. Margaret Hall

Dear Supporters and Donors,

I write to remind you that on March 5th 2016 it will be a complete year since the accomplishment of the rebuilding and official opening of our Hall. This was not easy as it took for Small donations /fund raising and 2 Fun Runs to complete this project.

Indeed we saw its Usefulness during the Final Exams where a total of 100 students sat for the same time and the same roof and the prayers and recreational activities have greatly improved. What a beauty and a monument as you enter the RYDA center.

To all our supporter this is not a simple achievement but a blessing indeed to many people. Many people have started to come to know whether we can allow them to have their wedding from the Hall. Expect the Answer was automatically yes as we saw it as an opportunity to start generating an Income. The first one will be in early April 2016.

Your messages of hope, inspiration, congratulation and blessings are hanging in the hall to let everybody know that it was not RYDA alone but also people of Good will helped us and their stories are there for them to see. For Rev Arnie Wierenga we have no words when we see the initiative together with others to raise so much for the project. The official opening to be be graced by one member is yet another mile stone. What a story to tell after some time. We shall organise the special prayer on this day to reflect on untold story.
Geoffrey Steven

Dear Geoffrey, Members of Staff and students at RYDA,

Congratulations on the occasion of the first Anniversary of the opening of St. Margaret Hall. To complete such a lovely building was a huge achievement. To have built so much of it by your own hands was a real blessing and proves the quality of your trade teachers and students.

This year on the cover of our Annual Report are a number of photos of significant happenings in the life of St. Margaret's, Mooroolbark during 2015. You will be pleased that included is a lovely photo of the hall along with a photo of the kitchen and a photo of Doug taken with you all on his memorable visit to attend the opening of the hall.

What a great idea to be able to hold local weddings in the building ... are you also providing catering for the reception? Generating some income from the property is a great step forward to becoming independent. It is good to hear that you are finding so much use for the hall - I am sure it is really good when you have events in wet weather!

I hope your first Anniversary celebrations will be enormous fun for everyone. Congratulations and blessings to you all.

Dear Geoffrey and all at RYDA,

Congratulations on all that has been achieved at RYDA and especially the rebuild of what is now the St. Margaret Hall. Well done also on the initiative to generate income from the hall. That is a wonderful result on top of the benefits for students.

It has been a pleasure to be involved and I am very proud of the many from St. Margaret's and other places who help to make a difference. Together we are the body of Christ.

Blessings to you all
Rev. Arnie Wierenga

April 2016

20th Anniversary
Around 8:00am April 27th 1996, a weary educator and a disheartened social worker met here...

Their meeting was not chosen by either of them. It was random, unexpected and unscripted...

When Geoffrey asked the Australian to 'pass the salt', Douglas... the breakfast bar in the cafe of 500 West Broadway, San Diego.

When the educator entered the cafe the stool beside the African was the only vacant place in the room.

...reneged on his private promise to keep to himself, eat and get out of there.

Twenty years later the consequences of their short conversation continue to be integral to the spiritual life and outreach of St. Margaret's Uniting Church, Mooroolbark, and the African success story that is Rubaga Youth Development Association. Through these two decades and across two continents, the number of lives touched, challenged, enhanced or redirected as a corollary of that meeting is uncountable. Read more about the early years (1996 - 98) in our Special Story

... and the life changing stories continue...

Leon's Story

Leon is 11 years old. He stopped school in Primary Four and has ended up at the RYDA Centre. His parents had lost hope in this young man and just brought the boy for care and protection. Children younger than 12 are not normally accepted for the RYDA activities and vocational program, but this was a special case. It is now one year two months since he joined the centre. The most suitable trade for Leon, and it turns out to have been the right one, was Art and Design. One year down the road Leon has steadily improved in his trade and he is now admired by many both at the centre and in the outside community.

Leon's dream is to be a better and dependable artist of the century. We at RYDA are very grateful for being able to turn the page. What an opportunity, what a chance to provide new hope.

Leon is shown here with a policewoman from the local station. She was fascinated by what Leon does at RYDA in Art and Design at his age.

RYDA and the Police

These photos show Bricklaying and Concrete Practice students constructing a new office for the Buloba police station.


The photos accompanied an email on March 17.

We have been working with the police for long time especially on issues of security and crime prevention sensitization workshops for our RYDA students. They approached us for possible assistance and we had no funds to give so we promised them to provide the RYDA students to do the building and this what we did.

Geoffrey continues the story (from an email on March 24).

The Buloba Police together with other police staff paid a courtesy call to sensitize the RYDA students on crime prevention and also extend their sincere appreciation for the voluntary work of RYDA students building the police office. During the police submission they appreciated the contribution which if costed to them would be millions of shillings.


Your Dollars at Work

In the February news we recorded sending a donation of $1100 to rebuild a partially collapsed security wall around the girls' dormitory. This work has been completed. Thank you to all who were able to respond to this emergency breech of the girls' safety.


Also from the email of March 17:
The RYDA girls dormitory has been fixed and security is now okay. The remaining money was used to create a temporary structure to enable the students to have a dining place to eat from attached to the kitchen. It's now a dinning hall. The funds has enabled us to do both the reconstruction of the fence and the dinning hall. Now even if it rains the food can be served from an organised place.
Diary Date

May 2016

Singularity Sings for RYDA

Do something for RYDA while you do something for yourself.

Don't miss this opportunity to enjoy
wonderful entertainment
while supporting a great cause.

Bring a friend
... in fact, bring lots of friends...

2016 is the 20th anniversary of St. Margaret's support for RYDA. Please help us make this concert a bumper fundraising event.

Click the image to reveal a PDF you can print and display where you work, rest or play.

The twist and turns of the Gondoliers plot generate cartoonish humour as a young bride arrives in Venice seeking her betrothed Prince, only to discover that he was entrusted to a drunken gondolier as a child ... and now the gondolier can't tell the difference between the prince and his own son - say no more! The on-stage machinations mixed with merriment and musical mirth guarantee a relaxing, toe tapping afternoon with top talent.

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

20th Anniversary

In the April issue of RYDA News we reminded you of the random, unexpected and unscripted meeting, which two decades ago, began St. Margaret's support for Rubaga Youth Development Association. Geoffrey Kyeyune, RYDA's Director, read the news and responded:

The website has reminded me that we are 20 years older. At the time I was 33 years now am 53 years. God has guided us well that we have saved lives.
A major part of that life saving work is providing vocational training for former street youths so they can graduate to real, worthwhile work at the end of their course. In April RYDA was told that its students were, overall, second best in the country in the government examinations in the various trades offered at RYDA.

Wow! most, if not all of these young people did not finish primary school, but at RYDA they are supported to jump straight into apprenticeship level training. A fabulous effort from both students and teachers.

RYDA's Work is Recognised

In April RYDA received an award from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) which is a national saving scheme mandated by Government through the National Social Security Fund Act. Geoffrey writes:

Over 100 youth organizations were vetted and RYDA emerged the winner. This was handed over to me by the Managing Director of N.S.S.F All along I didn't know that people are appreciating the work we do here in Uganda. This was relayed on U.B.C television news. Then the next day I started receiving compliments for the accolade received.
I was energized after the award. Many who watched the news are still calling to appreciate the wonderful work. I wish they knew that many people are supporting these activities through donation, material and equipment.
Congratulations Geoffrey and all the RYDA team.
It is wonderful for your donors and supporters outside Uganda to play a small part in such an inspired and creative organisation.


These photos were taken at the presentation ceremony on April 14th.

RYDA was represented by Director Geoffrey Kyeyune and Principal Susan Nabirye.

St. Margaret's Reflects

During April the people of St. Margaret's reflected on what the movement of the Spirit in this work has meant to each personally and to the congregation as a whole. Gradually this display built up as a focus of contemplation. The word 'amazement' features strongly in the display.

Marj Hookey also researched historic records and News History on this site to produce a time line summary of the details of our involvement. It became ground zero for the display.

This document is a remarkable record of persistent and consistent love on both sides of the world. It is now available to everyone as a booklet of text and images. Be careful - if you choose to read it, you may be inspired.

  • 20 Years Together
    St. Margaret's, Australia &
    Rubaga Youth Development Association
    (This document will print well back to back if you have that facility.)

June 2016

The Gondoliers



The Crowd
Take the time and talent of this wonderful a capella group..


mix it with....

the people of St. Margaret's, Mooroolbark, and friends and guests from many places, including Croydon, Geelong, Wodonga and Scotland, blend in a gorgeous afternoon tea and you have a recipe for a marvellous, musical afternoon which raised...

to continue the work of Rubaga Youth Development Association

  • Please have a look at the photo gallery below to get a feel for the fun we had.
  • If you were unable to attend, but would like to push that total up a little, investigate how you can Support RYDA.

RYDA Says Thank You

On behalf of the Rubaga Youth Development Association (RYDA) I write to congratulate you for the successful fundraising event when you sang for RYDA. This is not the first time you are doing it. We need to extend our sincere appreciation for your continued support and compassionate love for our organization. Indeed your efforts have transformed our work here for the disadvantaged young people of Uganda.
Bravo you wonderful people. The entire singing group choosing to sing for RYDA is testimony to the interest you have for RYDA's work in general. Thank you very much. May God reward you in all your endeavours.

Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune
Executive Director-RYDA

20th Anniversary: The Story Continues

We are extremely grateful to the editors of these two publications. They believed it was worth telling the story of the Holy Spirit moving through St. Margaret's people for the past 20 years encouraging them to be a conduit for 'out of Africa' support for RYDA. Click each image to read the article. Both articles are reprinted here with the permission of their publishers.

Living Today June 2016

Living Today in Mooroolbark and the Yarra Ranges
No. 55 June 2016 Page 11
Published by Mooroolbark Christian Fellowship

Crosslight June 2016

No. 266 June 2016 Page 5
Published by The Uniting Church Synod of Victoria & Tasmania

Wedding at RYDA

Dear Doug,
The long anticipated wedding was organized at RYDA center last week and Susan, the RYDA Principal was requested to be the Matron for the day. You can see her clearly in the photo. Our catering department staff and students were the cooks and Madam Rashidah from Hair Dressing was the decorator.

The bride and groom are from the Buloba community. Their names are Jennifer and James Mugumbya. Our venue was hired for a day and the funds we generated were used to improve walk ways to the RYDA office and St. Margaret Hall. It looks beautiful now.

At least now people know that the Complex can be rented for functions. We pray that the people will continue to hire the hall for betterment of resource mobilization and to give our students benefit from this to improve on their skills.

Singularity Sings for RYDA



The Gondoliers
Sung by Singularity
St. Margaret's Uniting Church, Mooroolbark
June 5th 2016




July 2016

Director Returns to Work

We were saddened to hear that Director Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune was recently struck by malaria once again. He was away from the Centre for 10 days and has only recently returned. His first job was to visit the Ministry of Education to register the current cohort of students for upcoming exams.

If you are able, please pray for Geoffrey's health to be strengthened and thank God for the capacity of RYDA staff who have been able to continue in his absence under the guidance of Principal Suzan Nabirye.

Funds Transferred

On July 26th
St. Margaret's Treasurer transferred
(USD 4257.34)

to the RYDA account
$3,000 of this was a combined gift from the estate of Margaret McLean with an additional amount from her husband Don. $684 was from the Singularity concert in June and the remainder was donations from St. John's, Cowes, and others near and far since the start of the year. Thanks to all who have contributed and all who continue to support RYDA through gift and prayer.

RYDA expects to complete the Boys' Dormitory with this wonderful amount and hopefully have enough left to work on other projects.

Special Project: Please Help

Wise Choices for Life is an NGO founded by Australian Marg Docking which is supported by the Ugandan Ministry of Health and the Church of Uganda.

  • It " based on the Christian belief that we all have equal value and are made in the image of God. By empowering youth with this knowledge and practical life skills they can make wise decisions about their own reproductive life."

  • Its "...aim is to collaborate with, and equip, partner organisations that already work amongst local people in the region. We build capacity, develop and support their teams."

Click the image to view a 4 minute YouTube video with more background.

RYDA wants to send two staff (Principal Suzan Nabirye and teacher Brian Katumba who is in charge of boys) to a one week residential training course in Mukono to increase RYDA's capacity to deliver a relevant, medically correct, christian-based, life-changing sexual health and reproduction component for both boys and girls within the RYDA life skills curriculum.
  • The course fee for two participants is $700 (AUD).
  • We have assured RYDA that its supporters will be able to raise this very reasonable amount.
  • After all, it's only 70 Australians giving $10 each.
Please see How to Support RYDA for details about arranging your donation. The course will be held in November, but must be financed as soon as possible to guarantee places.

  • Please include a note that your donation is for RYDA Life Skills.

August 2016

Busy as Beavers

Don't let anyone tell you there are no beavers in Uganda. They would be right of course, there are no beavers in Uganda, but when the people of Rubaga Youth Development Association are given the opportunity they certainly work like beavers.

Last month we told you that AUD 6000 had been transferred to RYDA on July 26th. The Board decided to use it to move on with the construction of a new boys' dormitory. (The current one is a converted classroom.)

The building looked like this in March 2015...

...and this in December 2015 when there was 'change' from another donation.

We take up the story from there...

Monday August 1st

I hereby write to acknowledge the receipt of the funds which was equivalent to Thirteen million sixty-five thousand shillings. It was credited to RYDA account on Friday 29/07/2016. We are very grateful to all our donors at St. Margaret and outside St. Margaret for their continued support to our organisation which has resulted in a better transformation of our centre activities and community programs. Thank you very much.

The work has already commenced and by end of next week I will be sending progress report on the work done with the funds sent to us.

Wednesday August 3rd
Please find here attached the photos to show you the progress made so far on the building. The doors and seven windows have been fixed. Since Saturday work has been going on. We hired 5 local artisans and RYDA Building & Concrete Practice students also joined. By end of today the front part of the dormitory has been plastered. We hope within two weeks the work of plastering will be done. We have started from outside because the rain season is soon starting. Hope our donors will be happy with this work done so far.
Monday August 8th
The dormitory work is going on as planned. The wiring of the building is almost done. The RYDA students also joined the hired official to do the job The glasses has been fixed, plastering is almost done inside. I hope the donors are excited as we are at the center.

Tuesday August 16th

Let me give you the tabulation of how the funds have been used.

(Editor's Note: for comparison, unleaded petrol in Uganda is around 3,500 shillings per litre.)

The building is almost complete. What is remaining is putting concrete and flooring, painting and finishing slates, fixing and entering steps. As it stands now its almost 75% complete. We have never been hopeful that this would be this far. We are indeed indebted to our beloved donors for supporting us to this level.
So now the building sits unused again.
Your contribution towards the final phase of completion is welcome.
How to Support RYDA for details about arranging your donation.

Teacher Training Course Funded

What an amazing month has just passed. In the previous news we asked for AUD 700 to support two RYDA teachers to attend a Wise Choices for Life train the trainer course in 'relevant, medically correct, christian-based, life-changing sexual health and reproduction'. We invited you to view the WCFL video and we were so confident that the money would come that RYDA was encouraged to register their teachers immediately. The staff chose Suzan Nabirye, Principal, and Brian Katumba, in charge of boys, to attend so that RYDA's life skills program will be even richer in future for both boys and girls.

Yes the money did come.

  • $250 from various St. Margaret's, Mooroolbark, members
  • $500 from various St. John's, Cowes members
  • $500 more from Karen and Stephen White, St. Margaret's, which is the cost of a teaching aids set that will enhance the teaching of the program.

This baby doll and pelvis are part of the teaching aid set.
(Photo from WCFL video. See July News for link.)

The course is an intensive, one week, live-in training program that requires participants to pass various tests in order to graduate as trainers. It will be held from November 6th - 13th in Mukono. We are grateful to Marg. Docking, Director of Wise Choices for Life and creator of the program, for sharing this opportunity with RYDA. The August edition of the WCFL Newsletter tells us there are 8 trainers (5 from Uganda, 2 from Australia and 1 from USA) and 35 participants:

  • 9 from Tanzania
  • 4 from Malawi
  • 3 from Kenya
  • 19 from Uganda

The program is working towards:

  • Reducing maternal deaths and poverty in Uganda.
  • Reducing teenage pregnancy, abandoned and orphaned babies.
  • Building healthy safe relationships and parenting skills into the youth of Uganda.

As this cutting from the WCFL August Newsletter makes clear, both RYDA and WCFL will be able to better serve the future of Uganda's orphaned and disadvantaged children through the relationships which will be built in this course. Suzan and Brian are looking forward to November.

Currently RYDA's student population is 270 made up of:

  • Full Time Courses. These are two year courses. Currently there are 58 boys and 58 girls in these courses. Hairdressing and motor vehicle mechanics have the biggest numbers. This year there is one girl in electrical wiring and three boys in hair dressing.
  • Modular Courses. These courses run 4 to 6 months and currently teach 87 girls and 67 boys.

September 2016

Newhaven Makes Music for Africa

Wednesday October 12th St. John's Uniting Church will play host to an early afternoon public concert by Newhaven College students. The quality of the college music program is known across the island, but this concert has a special tweak.

Phillip Island secondary students will be raising funds to support Ugandan secondary students.

For years the people of St. John's have supported Rubaga Youth Development Association (RYDA) in its mission to offer trade training to orphaned and vulnerable 12-18 year olds. RYDA invites these teenagers from the street - children who have already experienced child labour or prostitution or begging to survive - to choose instead to train to government standards in a range of trades and careers. Those who accept are housed, fed, clothed and provided with classrooms, trainers and education supplies at RYDA's Buloba campus outside Kampala.

The concert will feature the girls vocal group, boys vocal group and a guitar ensemble.

Your support of this concert will be a musical blessing for you and a financial blessing for RYDA. Why not adjust your lunch hour so you can be there?



If you are on, near, or would like to drive to Phillip Island on this day to support RYDA, we would be delighted to see you.

  • Date: Wednesday October 12th
  • Time: 1:00 - 2:00pm
  • Place: St. John's U/C, 86 Chapel St., Cowes
  • Cost: Just $10 each
Google Map Update

Thanks to Colin Isherwood (St. Margaret's) for updating the RYDA Google Map. This is 'our own' map and Colin has added pins to identify the various buildings in the satellite image.

  • Click the photo of the RYDA monument on the home page to reach this special Google Map.
  • Click a map pin to show a flyout with the building information.
Food Security

The dry spell in has caused food shortages through September and rising costs. Geoffrey has spent considerable time driving to villages to try to gather sufficient to feed the students. Geoffrey writes

Because of the high temperature since last year the yield has not been good, so scarcity of food. In some parts of the country people do even have food supply in their homes. One kilo of beans is 3000 Uganda shillings and a kilo of posho (maize flour) is 2300 Uganda shillings. This has made me to have sleepless night thinking how to maintain 230 students to have three meals a day. Our consumption a day is 30 kilos of posho and 16 kilos of beans.
However, always enterprising, RYDA has also acted at the same time to try to be more self-sufficient in the future.
We have started on food security program for the center and the attached photos can show you the transformation. We have planted four hundred fifty plants of matooke and we have been watering them. Thanks for national water connection to the school. By August next year if all goes well we will be self sufficient with the matooke supply to the center. We have also planted 100 plants of cassava behind the Canteen.

Back: St. Margaret Hall and training rooms.

Back: Training rooms and McLean Family dormitory (under construction).

On the piggery project we have four female ones and one male one. In two months from now the other three will have produced more piglets. One of the four have produced seven (six are female) and one is male now the total is twelve.

The pigs are feed on greens and maize bran and they are both for selling and also for feeding the students, specifically the non-Moslem. The Agriculture course will be introduced in the near future. We need to identify a trainer. The land we are currently using is the land between the canteen and the boys dormitory. It has started raining and we going to intensify the growing of vegetables and beans.


  • Matooke (also Matoke) = green banana for cooking; they are also called plantains.
  • Donations last year and this year have helped to pay for the RYDA connection to 'town water'.
  • All this has happened while Geoffrey and wife Irene have been recovering from malaria and while RYDA trainers and students have been preparing for the final exams which are only weeks away.
Connecting With History

The book I have been reading this month is 105 years old - the actual book I have had in my hand!

It is the fifteen edition, published in 1911 and to that stage 60,000 copies had been sold. The first edition was 1891.

It was written by the sister of Alexander Mackay (a Scottish missionary for the Church Missionary Society - established 1799), who is only identified as J. W. H. She creates the text by paraphrasing and quoting his diaries and adding her knowledge of his upbringing.

  • Joyce Dodge, St. Margaret's, found the book on the family shelves and thought I might find it interesting. I did.
  • I thought you might find these few extracts interesting too and wonder as I have at how these historic threads connect with RYDA today.
When Stanley the famous African explorer returned to England, he brought news the King Mtesa of Uganda would welcome missionaries. That was the fact which led Mackay to be sent by the CMS.
The founder of the monarchy is believed to be Kintu, who arrived from the north-east, and established himself on the north-west shore of the lake, where he and his wife were the only inhabitants. The legend says, however, that the country soon became densely populated, as every year his wife had four twins; the boys were born with beards, and at two years of age the girls became mothers! Kintu brought with him a cow, a goat, a sheep, a fowl, a banana root, and a potato, each of which multiplied at a prodigious rate. (pages 58,59)

Mackay arrived at Zanzibar on May 28th, 1876. The trials, misfortunes, misjudgements and miseries that then bedevilled all attempts to reach and cross Lake Victoria (Victoria Nyanza) just a few hundred kilometres inland fill about a quarter of the book. Fever was a constant companion:

Here I must correct your ideas of getting acclimatised. Does a man who has had repeated attacks of bronchitis or lung disease become the stronger and more acclimatised to stand the severe Scotch winter? It is with fever as with everything else: the more attacks, the more liability to attack, and therefore the less strength of constitution left to weather out the disease when it takes hold.

A proper meaning might be given to acclimatisation by saying it means the having learned by painful experience to know how and what to do to avoid as much as possible the chance of being laid down sick. (pages 97,98)

Eventually, against massive odds, he won through...
...they sighted Ntebe, the port of Uganda, on the 1st of November, 1878. The natives saw them, manned a canoe, and paddled out to meet them with drums beating merrily.

On the 6th they reached the capital (Rubaga), but the king was too ill for an audience. He, however, sent his salaams and two very large fat goats. (page 126)

Until recently Kampala was said to be built on seven hills. Recently that number has expanded with the city. The original seven each have a name but, according to Wikipedia, none of them is officially Rubaga Hill. Perhaps it is now called Lubaga Hill since that is the one which is the site of the Rubaga Catholic Cathedral. If so, that's interesting because the 'Romish' missionaries arrived after Mackay's protestant mission had begun.
Mackay immediately started to learn Luganda so that the people could hear the word of God in their own language. But he was far more than a teacher of the Bible. Mackay was a practical missionary who taught the people about the love of God at the same time as he taught those who were interested how to make bricks in a form, how to weld and rivet metal, how to use a cart to do as much work moving timber as could be done by 100 men and many more practical skills.

As I read, I thought of all the brick making and metal work places I saw beside the roads in Kampala and wondered. Perhaps these fence makers, gate makers, bed makers and brick makers would not have been there if it were not for Mackay's commitment to the Buganda a century ago.

I also thought that this is so similar to the work of Rubaga Youth Development Association today. Practical missionaries teaching life changing skills while telling the story of God's love through Jesus.

October 2016

Newhaven College Music Afternoon for RYDA

The afternoon of October 12th was wet and cold but the music of the Newhaven College Boy's Choir, Girls' Choir and Guitar Ensemble brought warmth to everyone present. Such talent; such joy in performance; such a lot of background work by the staff bring the students to this point.

A big thank you to the people of St. John's Uniting Church, Cowes, Phillip Island for hosting and organising the afternoon. And a very special thank you to those among St. John's congregation who prepared and served the delicious country-style afternoon tea. It was willingly consumed by young musicians and their audience alike.

The Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser played its part too, with a strong promotion of the event in the October 5th edition. In part this support was why the event was well attended and raised...

$460 at the door plus donations of $50, $200 and $500 for a total of $1210.

If you were part of this wonderful fundraising outcome, thank you. Your gifts will be passed on to support the work of Rubaga Youth Development Association.

Diary Date

A Capella choir Singularity will present The Merry Widow in concert at St. Margaret's Uniting Church, Mooroolbark

  • Sunday June 4th, 2017
Put it in the diary now. Singularity has been singing for RYDA annually for many years. It is always an afternoon not to be missed.

Christmas Gift Certificates

The reason for Christmas is to add value to other people's lives in celebration of the birth of Jesus, the ultimate act of adding value to life.
  • We give you the certificate (as many as you want).
  • You add value to it through donation to RYDA.
  • You give the certificate to your special person and explain that their gift is adding value to the life of a vulnerable teenager in Uganda.
The spirit of Christmas is giving. That spirit is captured in 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.

We invite you to join the many who annually give to family and friends in this way.

News from RYDA

  • Early October brought the swearing in of the RYDA Guild Council and the Scripture Union Cabinet. It was celebrated with music, dance and colour.

  • Work on the new boys' dormitory continues slowly. The front steps have been added this month by the building and concrete practice students.
  • The matooke plantation begun last month is growing well. It will help the RYDA kitchen be more self-sufficient in food needs.

  • October 18th began the DIT Exams for the second year students. 32 students are involved.
  • Non-formal exams for another 73 students begin on 27th, then year 1 follows.
  • Thereafter UBTEB exams will run from 12 November to 4th December 2016.
This is a very busy and focussed time for students and staff. We wish all these young people the very best results possible as they work to make lasting changes to their lives.

December 2016

Just In Time For Christmas A

  • 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.

We invite you to join the many who annually give to family and friends in this way.

Christmas is about adding value to other people's lives in celebration of the birth of Jesus, the ultimate act of adding value to life.
  • We give you the certificate (as many as you want).
  • You add value to it through donation to RYDA.
  • You give the certificate to your special person and explain that their gift is adding value to the life of a vulnerable teenager in Uganda.
The spirit of Christmas is giving. That spirit is captured in Christmas Gift Certificates. Just In Time For Christmas B

On December 12th, St. Margaret's treasurer, on behalf of all our donors, transferred USD1836.14 to RYDA's account. This amount was made up from:

  • Newhaven College concert at St. John's church, Cowes, on October 12th.
  • Several large and small Christmas Gift Certificate donations up to the end of November.
  • Regular donations from those who salary sacrifice and those who put loose change in St. Margaret's RYDA box.
  • A donation from Montrose Probus club through our Guest Speaker.
  • Random acts of kindness from several other good-hearted people.

That's a lot of people from many places making a difference in Africa.
Thank you all.

We know RYDA will be able to use at least some of these funds to continue work on the new McLean Family Dormitory for the boys. Perhaps they will even be able to finish it.

Just In Time For Christmas C

Dear our Supporters and Friends,
It's just a few days left to Christmas. We at RYDA we look out to celebrate yet another year. Behind every year we celebrate a success attained with our friends and supporters giving a hand here and there to enable us to attain our goals. It's upon this background that I write to extend our special congratulation to our supporters and friend for making our institution different every year.

Many challenges have been overturned with God's will, your support and prayers. You have turned the problems into challenges and from challenges to an opportunity. To all our supporters we salute you all. With your compassionate heart you have surrendered it for us to to see the future bright. Thus, we have all the reason to celebrate this wonderful Christmas with joy and praise the almighty for giving us this opportunity. We wish you a happy Christmas and prosperous New year 2017.

Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune
Executive Director, Rubaga Youth Development Association

Wise Choices for Life Training

Thanks to generous support from several members of St. John's and St. Margaret's, RYDA staff members Suzan Liz Nabirye and Brian Katumba attended this international training course from November 6 - 13. It was a live-in conference at the African Village Hotel, Mukono, about an hour outside Kampala which was full of discussion, debate, study and assessment. Our teachers passed with flying colours and have prepared this short report (just 4 pages with photos).

  • Reading the report will help you better understand the learning we are supporting and how it can change the future for RYDA youth and the families they are yet to have.
In the words of Marg Docking, conference organiser and director of WCFL, "great report".

Dear Doug,
This is Brian and Suzan Liz writing to submit our workshop report. Once again on behalf of the RYDA team want to extend our utmost thanks for the opportunity you gave our team. Let us tell our donors that RYDA community and center activities will not remain the same. We have no doubt with training contents and kit secured we are going to make it better than it has been before especially on reproductive health issues.

We applaud the donors and RYDA well-wishers for supporting this noble cause.


Dear Doug and Friends,
It was at St. Margaret Hall this afternoon when Brian and Suzan Liz put what they learnt into practice for the first time to the members of staff and the students. They unveiled the kit (donated by Karen and Stephen White) and the method. Oh no it was fascinating to all of us! The topic they handled was early pregnancy and sexual infections. The attached photos tells the entire story.

Double Diary Date

A Capella choir Singularity will present The Merry Widow in concert at St. Margaret's Uniting Church, Mooroolbark

  • Sunday June 4th, 2017
and at St. John's Uniting Church, Cowes
  • Sunday June 11th, 2017
Choose a date and put it in your diary now. Singularity has been singing for RYDA annually for many years. It is always an afternoon not to be missed.
News from RYDA

December 2nd was a critical date for RYDA. On that date:

  • Students and staff, with great relief, finished the 3 week government examination pressure.
    Look for results in the next news.
  • The government evaluation team visited and 'they were happy with the progress so far but also we were given 3 weeks to accomplish the remaining work on the toilet and dormitory in order to renew the RYDA operational licence for 2017'.
    Find out in the next news whether your donations helped to conquer this challenge.