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February 2017

2016 at a Glance

On your behalf, St. Margaret's transferred
to RYDA through 2016.

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

In addition to St. Margaret's own people our thanks go to Mary, Council and members of St. John's Cowes, Don & Marg, Ron & Faye, Bronwyn, Singularity, Montrose Probus and all who gave donations, time, thought or prayer to RYDA. We hope you will continue the journey with us through 2017. Included in this wonderful total were:

Christmas Gift Certificates
Wise Choices for Life

In addition Stephen & Karen donated $500 directly to WCFL to back up the training with the necessary teaching aids kit.

Not The Best Start

The beginning of the year has had its problems for RYDA in two ways. The one computer which connects to the Internet decided to fail permanently. So for now the only way RYDA can check email is if Geoffrey travels the 8 miles into Kampala to an Internet cafe. This can't happen daily, so information flow is currently restricted.

The other problem is that Geoffrey has only just returned to work after a significant operation. He is still recovering, so the journey itself is an extra strain.

Perhaps raising funds for a replacement laptop
is our first project for the year.

How To Support RYDA

Afternoon traffic approaching the city centre as seen from the RYDA van.
McLean Family Dormitory Almost Finished

Through January the construction of the new boys' dormitory moved on significantly thanks to the donation sent in mid-December. The floor used much more concrete and cement than expected which soaked up much of the funds. Painting and electrical connection remain to be completed at a probable cost of around AUD1000. Hopefully we will have photos sent as soon as the computing problem is fixed.

New Bank Account

Part of St. Margaret's mission is to receive and transfer donations to RYDA from a wide group of supporters. Please note that St. Margaret's has changed its bank. If you have St. Margaret's old Commonwealth Bank details listed as a payee in your account, please update now. That account will soon be closed. Details of the new account are listed in How To Support RYDA.

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

St. John's Uniting Church, Cowes
Sunday June 11th, 2017

Singularity has been singing for RYDA annually for many years. It is always an afternoon not to be missed.
Which event will you attend?

April 2017

Meet Chloe & Jorja

Their new way of supporting RYDA has everyone involved and the bonus is a cleaner, greener earth.

Terracycle is a huge industry recycling 'materials that are difficult to recycle'. The big end of their work is manufacturing businesses, but they also offer a range of recycling opportunities to anyone who wants to become involved. With the help of mum Naomi, the girls chose their target rubbish and decorated these wonderful recycling cartons to receive the congregations' toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, toothbrush packaging and other cosmetic item packaging.

When the cartons are full the material is delivered to Terracycle which pays 1 cent for each item as a donation to the collector's chosen charity. Chloe and Jorja chose RYDA.

Your church, club or group could do the same. Follow the girls' lead in supporting RYDA and keep this recyclable material out of landfill at the same time.

Sisters Chloe and Jorja are the stars of St. Margaret's Uniting Church.

Laptop for RYDA

In the February news we mentioned that the only computer RYDA had which connected to the Internet had failed. We wondered if providing a new one was to be the first project for the year.

  • St. Margaret's treasurer checked the books in the first week of March and found almost $1000 had been given since the start of the year. Not enough.
  • On the second Sunday in March the congregations of St. Margaret's and St. John's, Cowes, were simultaneously invited to support a Laptop for RYDA mini-project. At the end of this day, just over $2000 was available. This included a significant amount from one Cowes family and a pension-stretching donation from another.
  • On the third Sunday the total grew to just over $3000 with significant amounts from two St. Margaret's families and a myriad of amounts in the plate, the RYDA box at St. Margaret's and bank transfers. More than enough for a laptop, but the project was deemed open for one more week.
On the last Sunday of the month the total rose to $3,250.65.

More than enough! Thank you to the scores of people in and around St. John's and St. Margaret's who have continued their faithful support of RYDA and answered this need so quickly. We expect this amount ($US2,336.97) to be in RYDA's account by the time you read this.

The 'change' will be used to push on with the completion of the McLean Family Dormitory (see February News).

This is what the new boys' dormitory looked like at the beginning of March. A beautiful building created with their own hands and the help of local artisans. But not quite finished. Inside, concrete flooring needs to be completed in some spaces and electricity needs to be connected. We hope the 'change' from our laptop donations will be enough.

Food Security and Prayer

Last year RYDA planted a large garden of matooke (green bananas) in the hope that it will provide an extra degree of food security following the next dry season. As you can see if you compare to the original photos in 2016 News (September) the matooke is growing well. Any farmer knows that there is along way to go before the crop will be gathered. Please pray for the success of this crop.

Prayer is also needed to support Director Geoffrey Kyeyune and the staff. A phone call to RYDA in the third week of March revealed that Geoffrey is still struggling to recover from malaria. As a result, Principal Suzan Nabirye willingly steps up to take on some of Geoffrey's load and in their turn staff do all they can to support their beloved Director and Principal. Please remember them as they guide their many orphaned and disadvantaged youth towards a positive future.

May 2017

Here's a Happy Man

Dear Our Partners/Donors,

With your compassionate members things have been done and achievements registered. In no time when we cried and informed you about our computer and internet connection money was raised and sent to rescue this problem. With the balance after this power was connected to the McLean Boys dormitory.

Opportunities have been created, visions realized and the dreams comes true to all those whose hope have been lost over time. We are always hopeful and we continue praying for the challenges to be turned into opportunities.

We salute you all for the efforts you put in over the years to make our activities continue with simple hitches.

On behalf of the Rubaga Youth Development Association (RYDA) Board and secretariat staff and the beneficiaries for championing our cause for all this period. Let us single out St Margaret Uniting Church, St Johns of Cowes, Singularity choir, education institutions, Rev Arnie Wierenga, Black Douglas Educational Services to mention but a few.

May all your work of your hands be rewarded with many blessings.

Keep smiling,
Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune
Executive Director-RYDA

Here you see the government power supply connected to the new dormitory building. Your recent donation of $US2,336.97 paid for this after first purchasing the replacement laptop, software and internet connection.

The floors in the two smaller rooms of the building have been finished. Only the floor in the main building remains to be completed. However for now the building cannot be occupied.

Join us in one of next fund raising activities and help RYDA to complete this much needed boys' dormitory.

Singularity Sings for RYDA (Twice!)

Popular A Capella choir Singularity has performed annually to support RYDA for several years. No one has every been disappointed with the afternoon. If the crowds are big enough this year, RYDA will be able to finish the McLean Family Dormitory.

A Capella choir Singularity, in costume, will present The Merry Widow in concert at:

  • St. Margaret's Uniting Church
    Sunday June 4th, 2017

  • St. John's Uniting Church
    Saturday June 10th, 2017

View or print a poster for your event.



This is an afternoon not to be missed.
Which event will you attend?

How Many Students at RYDA

In April RYDA completed the intake of 153 new students. With the 56 continuing students that's a total of 209 orphaned or vulnerable teenagers living and learning on site. Boys are currently living in converted classrooms while their purpose built dormitory waits to be finished.

Say Hello to Bashir

Bashir Kayiwa is 14 years old. He dropped out of school after he lost his parents.

He was referred to RYDA Vocational Institute by a community CBO to be assisted to acquire skills in hairdressing. He has managed in the short time to grasp his english, both spoken and written.

He will this year sit for modular assessment exams in November 2017.

Other RYDA Activities

Building and construction students preparing bricks for the mid-term practical exams.

How does your garden grow? Pretty well in the rainy season. Hopefully these beans growing among the matooke will bring a harvest soon. All part of RYDA's efforts to improve its food security for the dry season.

June 2017

The Spirit Moves

Yvonne sent this message after receiving the previous edition of RYDA eNews:

Hi Doug,

I have just read the previous news of 2016 and 2015. So much has happened in those two years - the words in my balloon still stand. Thanks be to God!!! What an amazing God we worship and who looks after his sheep!

Love and blessings,

Yvonne prepared this balloon for the 20 year display and reflection at St. Margaret's in April 2016. (See May 2016 in Previous News above.)

Singularity Sings for RYDA ... Twice

On the first two weekends in June volunteer choir Singularity delighted the people of Mooroolbark and Cowes with a thoroughly enjoyable, playful and wonderfully musical presentation of The Merry Widow by Franz Lehár. These talented and generous singers, their leader, pianist, costume director and various helpers give their time freely so the organisations they sing for can raise money for their chosen charity.

The few photos below illustrate why everyone had so much fun ... and the grand total raised for RYDA at the two events was...


$434 at Mooroolbark and $1440 at Cowes

Thank you to everyone who supported this excellent result with your attendance, your afternoon tea contributions and your gifts. A special thank you also to the Cowes family who gave one very large donation included in that sub-total. We understand that each person gives equally from the heart what they can, but anonymous friends, your gift significantly increases the usable dollars at the RYDA end.

A transfer will be made to the RYDA account as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing how the total is used.

Learn more about Singularity

August 2017

Recent Funds Transfer

On your behalf, St. Margaret's transferred
USD 1908.67
to RYDA on July 14th.

This was made up of the proceeds of the Singularity concerts, the steadfast, regular donations of people like Helen who have organised an automatic payment each pay day, on-going small amounts often in the 'RYDA Box' at St. Margaret's church and numerous heartfelt donations from a number of people in St. Margaret's and St. John's congregations and beyond.

Donation Acknowledged - Work Waits for Exams

On July 21st RYDA acknowledged that the funds had arrived in the RYDA account and Director Geoffrey Kyeyune sent thanks to 'all those who supported this cause.'

Planning has begun to proceed as far as possible with the McLean Family Dormitory, the new boys' accommodation building, but the actual work has to wait because all staff and students are currently deeply involved in the examination season.

10th August
Dear Doug,
We have postponed the building and the reason is that we have been busy with exams and preparing for this year's graduation ceremony scheduled to take place on 18th August.
Please I ask for your patience as the process needs my constant supervision.
Your sincerely,
Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune
Contact Details Changed

Our Guest Speaker provides an informative, photo-filled 5 to 45 minutes or more about RYDA's amazing success story for your club, school class or group. Please note that his phone number has recently changed. Contact Doug now using 0401 177 775 or 03 9720 3295. His email address is unchanged as Click the image at the top of the left column for more details.

Any Celebration Gift Certificate

You don't have to wait for Christmas to use a RYDA Gift Certificate. Franklyn didn't. We have an 'any celebration' certificate and he has an 80th birthday coming up. Franklyn asked for several certificates, which we were easily able to annotate for his special celebration. Franklyn is distributing them to family and friends so they know what they can give him for his birthday - their support to RYDA an organisation who's work he deeply values. Use the link to the left to find out more about our certificates.

Wise Choices For Life

Principal Suzan Nabirye has sent a note to let us know that the training in the Wise Choices for Life programme which you supported continues to be put to good use. Recent weeks have been very busy with implementation of new government curriculum and preparation for exams, but RYDA is planning a joint seminar with the local teacher training institute students to share this learning. She comments: We know that the impact already created is vividly felt by young people we have trained so far.

October 2017

Exam Pressure

Any secondary teacher or parent of teenage students knows how demanding exam time is on school staff and children. This year at Rubaga Youth Development Association it has been even more demanding than normal. Since our previous eNews issue Director Geoffrey and Principal Suzan have spent two weeks in government training for new course next year. There have also been practice exams at RYDA and now the 'real thing' is under way.

The whole purpose of RYDA is to prepare orphaned and vulnerable teenagers (OVCs) to successfully earn a government trade qualification and begin the first job of their new career. So, with this demand and the day to day requirements of housing, feeding, clothing and educating up to 300 young adults there has been little time to send news to us.

However, now there is a one week break between exams sets so Geoffrey has been able to bring us up to date.

New Dormitory News

The new boys' dormitory (McLean Family dormitory) is still unable to be occupied due to an expense that wasn't planned. The building is on a hillside and the rainy season demonstrated that run-off from the uphill neighbouring property was causing problems with the almost finished building. Geoffrey writes:

The Mclean Building we needed to do the Excavation before anything else. That was needed urgently to prevent water flowing from the teacher training college to damage the dormitory. This was not budgeted before so we used some of the July donation to carry out. Also created enough space to construct a better bathroom and a washing bay. The old pit latrine was in the way of the excavation. It was almost full and it needed to be demolished to avoid the odd smell and poor health condition.

The funds which was sent so far? We have used only half of the funds to the excavation. The half which is remaining will be enough to buy the aggregate stones and enough sand to do the floor.

Finishing the floor will bring the building very close to being habitable. Here's how the building looked in March and December 2015.

Photos below show the recent excavation.

We are getting there!

Visiting Professor

A recent visitor to RYDA was Professor Holger, a former chief of the Africa division of DANIDA. DANIDA is the Danish International Development Agency, a section of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The professor comes yearly to work at Makerere University, Kampala, and this year was encouraged to visit RYDA by the Deputy Uganda Ambassador based in Denmark.

The purpose was to see if he might be interested to be of a help to RYDA. (Find out more about DANIDA here.)

Following the visit, Deputy Ambassador Danny M. Ssozi wrote to Geoffrey:

I am extremely gratified by the visit of this great friend of Uganda to RYDA. Prof. Holger is a source of wisdom and rare to find. His visit to the Institute is a blessing and when he comes back to Denmark, we shall meet and compare notes.
How Does Your Garden Grow?

Very well actually. Beans, cabbages and green bananas all growing well.

All the bananas served at the August graduation were picked from RYDA's own garden. RYDA is working towards food self-sufficiency - a huge endeavour; please keep praying for success in this objective.

RYDA Reaching Out

  • Last week RYDA Hall hosted a Youth conference for young Christians which involved 5 neighbouring schools and Buloba Teacher Training College.
  • In two weeks from now RYDA has been requested to host a central region workshop for Non-formal Skills Providers. It is scheduled to take place on 10th November 2017.

November 2017

Recycle & RYDA

Do you remember Chloe & Jorja?

They featured in the April 2017 News which you can find above.
Mum Naomi has sent this email keeping us up to date with their double-value outreach.
Just a little update about our Terracycle progress for RYDA.
It takes a while for points to add up as we earn 2 points (which equates to 2 cents) per item we send in. But St Margarets is doing great and we're up to 2,216 points (or $22.16).
Not only are we raising a little money for a very good cause, this also means that we have diverted over 1000 oral care and beauty products and packaging from landfill. Go St Margarets!!

Every cent the girls make goes to RYDA.
We have always said the every little gift matters.
This is an example of what we mean.

How Is RYDA Different?

Answer: Its mission is with orphaned and vulnerable youths - 12 to 18 year olds. Up to 300 could be living and learning at RYDA at the one time. They may have been on the street, or in prostitution, or being exploited as cheap labour or in some other way at risk. Those who choose to come through RYDA's gates and accept its rules of conduct are housed, fed, clothed, cared for and trained for up to 2 years to reach government standard certification in one of several trades.

Then they are helped to find their first job.

Equally important is the life skills program which freely examines all aspects of life and living to strengthen each person's power to make better choices.

By improving outcomes for these young people, RYDA is improving outcomes for Uganda.
Just In Time For Christmas
  • When you don't know what to give
    ... give a RYDA Christmas Gift Certificate.

Include RYDA Information (2 page PDF) with your gift so your special person can learn more about the RYDA story.
  • When you don't know what to receive
    ... ask for a RYDA Christmas Gift Certificate.

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.

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

December 2017

Update on Christmas Support

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.

Include RYDA Information (shown in the image to the left) with your gift so your special person can learn more about the RYDA story. We invite you to join the many who annually give RYDA Christmas Gift Certificates, which remind family and friends of this story while simultaneously adding value to the funds RYDA has available for its daily work.

Christmas Message from Solomon

Do you remember Solomon?

He is the eldest son of Geoffrey Kyeyune, the Executive Director of RYDA. Solomon visited Australia with his father in March 2011 at the close of his high school career. He spoke to the Uniting Church congregations at Mooroolbark and Cowes.

Solomon has since graduated from university and become a husband and father. He continues to cherish his father's work and sent this Christmas message to all our supporters:
It's amazing the wonderful work that God has used you to do for RYDA. I am so grateful you have kept the candles of those vulnerable children burning through all the good work that St. Margaret's Uniting Church and its Australian friends are doing. Please send my warm regards to the entire congregation and its supporters. I would like to wish you and each of your families a MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Wise Choices for Life Training Expands

In 2016 our donors raised $700 to send Principal Suzan and staff member Brian Katumba to a WCFL training course. This sexual health and reproduction course has been designed by Australian Marg Docking. In addition to the $700 the White family of St. Margaret's donated an additional $500 for the teaching aids set that accompanies the course. The course is now part of the Life Skills training for the youth at RYDA and stories of success are growing.

At the beginning of December, Suzan was asked to present a talk about WCFL to a conference of over 100 pastors. The photos below are from the presentation. The conference had a tight schedule and her slot was 2pm - 3:30pm, with no opportunity for a workshop approach. It was a 'tough gig', but you can see the teaching aids in use and the energy she is putting in to her presentation.



Suzan writes:

I thank God who has given me the opportunity ... we exchanged contacts with some who are willing to invite us to their churches so that we organize for the church members. We hope, God willing, that will be next year.