News From RYDA


How to Support RYDA...
Return to Current News...
Return to RYDA index...

February 2018

Your Achievement

It may have been a little bit or a large amount; it may have been just once or on several occasions; it was your gift and you meant it to make a difference. It has, and when combined with donations from others it has mattered even more.
Through this year St. Margaret's transferred


to RYDA.

Mid-January St. Margaret's transferred


to RYDA.

Most of the January amount ($US2478.56) was raised in the latter months of 2017 and the total includes $1920 from Christmas Gift Certificates.

You have been amazing!

Will you continue to support RYDA through 2018?

A Thank You

Following the January transfer, the Executive Director wrote:

Dear Doug / Ann (St. Margaret's treasurer)

I write to acknowledge for the funds which you raised and remitted to the RYDA account on 19th/01/2018. This funds sent to us has been credited to our organization account on 29th/01/2018.

We want to extend our sincere appreciation to all our donors and long time supporters for their continued support and the compassionate heart towards our activities and programmes. The funds received has been used to do the final work on the new dormitory, final roofing of the canteen bathrooms and constructing the new bathrooms for the new dormitory.

Once again we salute our fundraising team and St Margaret's and St. John's Uniting Church members and partners for the work well done. Rubaga Youth Development Association (RYDA) board and secretariat are very grateful for the your continued support.

Your sincerely
Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune

RYDA News Bits

Geoffrey is one of the key leaders at RYDA. The other is Principal Suzan Nabirye.

  • In December RYDA students picked 50 bunches of matooke from the plantation they nurtured through the year. Some were traded, some were eaten, some were stored. And there were still some left on the trees.
  • In mid-December Suzan contracted typhoid. Today that once terrifying disease can be treated with anitbiotics. However as Suzan was recovering she received news on December 22nd that her mother had died. Her mother was buried on Christmas Eve.
  • At the same time Geoffrey was hospitalised with very high blood pressure, ulcers and fever. The culprit was diagnosed as over work. Hospital care began rebuilding his body and at the end of the first week of January he was sent home with instructions to stay away from work until the end of the month. Geoffrey managed to obey instructions for another week; however the desire to complete the new boys' dormitory in time for the return of the bulk of the children on February 5th drew him back.
  • All RYDA students are referred to by the United Nations as OVC - Orphaned or Vulnerable Child. All RYDA students are aged 12 -18. Through the year a member of the RYDA administrative team tries to make contact with someone from each child's family with a view to them welcoming the child into their home over Christmas / New Year. RYDA also has contact with other 'nice families' who will welcome a student through this time. Despite this effort there were still around 50 children living at the centre over the 'holiday period' when both leaders were under stress. We thank those children and the staff who lived with them for keeping RYDA operating through the difficult weeks.
Suzan Continues Promoting Wise Choices For Life
I was invited again to another church to have a seminar on wise choices which I did. That's along Masaka road near to Maye Village before Mpigi town council. I met an audience of about 100 members still from different churches at Friends church that was last week on Tuesday. In addition, tomorrow, I have been invited to Evangelical Pentecostal church in Kakiri for another meeting on wise choices from 11:00am to 1:00pm. Am so eager to meeting them so that I share with them.
Kakiri Presentation

The WCFL training course and teaching aid package which have resourced Suzan to lead these sessions were totally funded by donations through St. Margaret's. Your gift keeps on giving ... and far more broadly that was first imagined.

How Does Your Dormitory Grow?

The new boy's dormitory as we first saw it in March 2015

Shell complete and roof added by December 2015 then to 'lock up' stage by July 2016

Working on the interior August 2016 and unexpected grading to prevent run off water damage October 2017

Sitting beside the smaller old dormitory 25th January 2018, the day the interior was finally finished.

Painted January 31 with paint bought from the January 29th transfer and beds ready to be moved in for occupancy.

What a fabulous achievement brought about by a combination of the faithfulness of RYDA donors and the expertise and resourcefulness of RYDA staff and students. The new dormitory will be named McLean Family Dormitory to recognise several substantial donations to its construction by Don and Margaret McLean of St. Margaret's congregation.
The donations began with a bequest in Margaret's will.

New Sanitary Blocks

A new bathroom / toilet block is being finished to service the McLean Family Dormitory and a new toilet block is being added in the Canteen area of the compound. This is all possible because town water which became available from one tap in early 2015 has now been piped to other areas of the site. Now the toilets will have running water to a septic tank.

March 2018

McLean Family Dormitory in Service

These photos of the recently completed McLean Family Dormitory were taken on March 5th. The building is high on a hill at the top of the RYDA compound. In the front view, on the left of the picture you catch a glimpse of a building on the adjoining property further up the hill.

Painting has made it look a million dollars and the landscaping you see underway in front of it will be grassed level ground for relaxation. The photo of the rear is taken standing against the embankment that separates RYDA from the higher property.

Be happy! After all your fund raising and RYDA's construction over more than 3 years, the building is now occupied by 40 boys in their second year of training.


The estimated capacity of this dormitory is 200 students. 80 additional double bunk beds will be necessary for the building to reach its potential.

The new shower/toilet block stands on the recently graded land behind the building.

It needs to be finished.

How to Support RYDA has details
about donating through St. Margaret's Uniting Church.
New Bathroom Block
Our next project is to help complete this bathroom.
Can you help?

Built with their own hands, this bathroom will house the first non-pit latrine on the site. It will be connected to the town water supply to provide a sanitary system that flushes to a septic tank. All that is needed to complete it is:

  • Roofing
  • Water connection / plumbing
  • Securing new urinals and toilet seats

We have helped to build the huge dormitory. How hard can this little building be?

Let Me Introduce You To...

...these two children who began their RYDA training in February.


Timothy is a special case. He is only 10 years old and RYDA usually only accepts children 12 - 18 years. Timothy is a Primary 4 drop out who has been referred by his desperate parents. He has begun an Art & Design course. In 2015 RYDA made a similar exception for Leon and in our April 2016 eNews we were able to report his success story. Similar hopes are held for Timothy.

Jenifer was referred by Kaliro District which is many hours drive away. She is 13 years old and lost both her parents at the age of two. She has begun a hairdressing course and after just two months the transformation in this young lady is clear to all staff.
How Many Students?

Currently there are 58 girls and 42 boys living and learning at RYDA.
For the most part RYDA offers two year courses to government examination standard then tries to place graduating students in their first job. The current RYDA courses are:
  • Hairdressing
  • Tailoring
  • Art & Design
  • Automotive Mechanics
  • Electrical and Electronics
  • Building & Construction
  • Catering
  • Plumbing
Hairdressing currently has the most students with 22 and Art & Design the least with 7. Students select one of these careers and the curriculum also includes:
  • Local language
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Counselling & Guidance
  • Music, Dance & Drama
  • Business English
Double Diary Date

A Capella choir Singularity will present Iolanthe in concert at:

St. Margaret's Uniting Church, Mooroolbark
Sunday June 3rd, 2018

St. John's Uniting Church, Cowes
Sunday June 10th, 2018

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 2018

Donations Transferred

Last month you read about the need to complete the new shower / toilet block which services the recently completed new boys' dormitory. This month St. Margaret's Treasurer was able to transfer $AU1523.05 from your donations plus $20 towards bank fees in Uganda. In US dollars a total of $US1136.46.

Executive director Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune acknowledged receipt on April 18th.

I write to acknowledge the receipt of these funds. The donor funds have been credited to our account. Once again on behalf of Rubaga Youth Development Association (RYDA) I write to extend our sincere appreciation to all donors for the support they have continued to give this project. It has come at the right period where such support is needed to complete the shower/toilet block.
We join Geoffrey in thanking everyone who has donated so much in such a short time and everyone who prayed for the success of this mini-project. The total was made up from:
  • small amounts regularly given to the RYDA Box which is part of every Sunday offering collection at St. Margaret's,
  • regular salary sacrifice gifts from someone special,
  • generous responses to the opportunity by members of St. Margaret's and members of St. John's, Cowes,
  • and the faithful responses from the members of one family who simply said to each other "The dormitory is built, so we can't have those kids going without a shower can we?" and 'passed the hat around'.
We know this amount will take the shower / toilet block closer to completion. Perhaps it will be enough to finish it. Pray for that and come back next month to see how your prayers have been answered.

Singularity Sings For RYDA

Give yourself a musical afternoon of Gilbert & Sullivan silliness at one of these two upcoming concerts and at the same time give a RYDA the opportunity to keep on doing God's work. Click an image to reveal a PDF for printing.

June 2018

Sickness, Injury & Good Fortune

In the past couple of months Director Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune has not fared well personally. In April he was ordered to rest for several days when malaria took hold again. A month or so later he was involved in a motor vehicle accident which required another week away from the centre. He is still only 50% recovered from serious scalding. Geoffrey writes about the experience:

Oh no, it was very terrible in the middle of the road in the city center Kampala. A tragic accident happened. The RYDA van had a mechanical problem and I was taking it for serving and few repairs. Then its computer which had a fault accelerated itself which led to the hose pipe connecting the engine and the radiator bursting and it locked me in as I was driving. You know the engine of the van is just under the co-driver's seat.

The experience of this was terrible and memorable. If the face was burnt I don't know whether I would be writing to you now. Am nursing the few wounds but am improving. This week I have started working in the office.

Geoffrey was indeed fortunate not to be more seriously injured. Please pray for continued healing of these wounds.

Update on Timothy

We met Timothy in April (see 2018 News). At 10 he is the youngest student at RYDA. He is a Primary 4 drop out who was referred by his desperate parents. We were all concerned how he would fare among all the older boys and girls.

This current photo of him answers the question. Geoffrey tell us with confidence that Kawoya Timothy Grace is an upcoming great ARTIST.

How the April Donation was Spent

The April donation sent by St. Margaret's Uniting Church on behalf of all our donors converted to 3.8 million Ugandan shillings. The objective was to support continuing work on a new shower/toilet complex and an additional new toilet block. Two septic tanks were purchased for 1.5 million each and the balance was spent on installing them, including all the filtering gravel and rock required in and around the buried tanks. These will be a huge improvement on the old pit latrines.

  • The first three photos are of the new shower/toilet complex built to service the new McLean Family Dormitory.
  • The final two photos are of the new toilet (male and female) near a well trodden area at the rear of the compound.

Plumbing, urinals and other equipment still needs to be purchased and roofing and other items are also needed to complete the work.

See below for a sign of hope that these projects will soon be completed.

Meet Alvin and Davis

RYDA's work is with orphaned and vulnerable youth. These two recent students have been welcomed at RYDA. Geoffrey writes:

(The) two are disabled and they are by the names of BESIGYE ALVIN and MATOVU DAVIS. These students were not able to join any other school apart from RYDA, where they have joined the Art and Design department as their desired course. They are doing well. BESIGYE ALVIN is 15 years old from Mubende and he is a son to Nalubega Anet and Kigozi Francis. MATOVU DAVIS is 20 years old from Lugazi, a son of Namutebi Milly and Lubega Stephen.
Meet Alvin
Meet Davis

They are not orphaned but their disabilities made them vulnerable because they have not been receiving an education. As Geoffrey puts it:

The isolation of these children that they can not participate fully in value addition to their lives through school is no more, for now they are being trained in Art and Design.

Iolanthe a Double Success

If you weren't able to enjoy one of the performances of Iolanthe - St. Margaret's June 3rd and St. John's June 10th - then please enjoy the photos below. Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to Singularity for donating their time and talent to provide two wonderful, musical afternoons of Gilbert and Sullivan silliness.

A huge thank you also to all who came along. Some travelled long distances; some walked in 'off the street' after reading shop window posters; some were faithful supporters from the host congregations. Your gifts at the door raised:
$708 at St. Margaret's and $1000 at St. John's

In addition, one person came to the Cowes performance but had forgotten her purse. No problem, she had her phone and immediately transferred ticket price plus more to St. Margaret's. These amounts plus an additional substantial donation from a faithful Cowes family (thanks so much - you know who you are) and other monies given since April mean that


which converts to US1711.36 was transferred to RYDA at the end of June. Thank you for every single gift - large or small or in between they all matter. We look forward to seeing what happens next with the two toilet blocks.

RYDA Presented to UCAF

In early May the annual gathering of the Uniting Church Adult Fellowship in the Yarra Yarra Presbytery was presented with a talk about the history, objectives, success and struggles of RYDA since its inception in 1993. The 45 minutes began with video and was supported throughout by vibrant photos. Many people commented on how interesting the presentation was.

Our speaker is available to present to your church or community group. See more information.

October 2018

It's Been a Difficult Time

In the previous news we mentioned that Director Geoffrey had been burned in a car accident and suffered another bout of malaria during the second quarter of the year. At the time we thought he was on the improve but this turned out to be only for a short while. This email from September 19th explains how things went further down hill.

I have just reported to RYDA office only to be greeted by many emails to answer. Indeed I have been very sick and hospitalized twice more since the fire accident. After recovering for a week I developed severe malaria and I was admitted to Lacor hospital in Luwero District. As this persisted I was diagnosed further only to be told that I am diabetic and was admitted to the same hospital for another two weeks.

So it has not been easy for me to work at the office. Many challenges were prevailing during my absence. Water supply was cut off as the bills had reached 3 millions shillings. Food and salary for the staff was also outstanding what a challenge to start with?

I will write more in the next weeks as am still being briefed by my other subordinates. Children greeted me with a lot of cheers and that gave me the spirit to do even more for the members of staff. It was a sign of relief. This is evident by the smiles on their faces and the continuous clapping as I met them for the first time in the St. Margaret Hall.

We prayed:
  • For Geoffrey's health to improve.
  • For inspiration and resources to overcome the challenges mentioned.
  • For wisdom and guidance in planning transition to a future RYDA which releases Geoffrey from many responsibilities while ensuring continued success for the children.
Geoffrey's health has improved - slowly.

Learning to live with diabetes, which involves a major change of diet and a new medication routine (when the drugs can be afforded), while continuing to recover from the burn injuries and a major bout of malaria is wearing. Geoffrey was only able to return to work part-time and this situation continues. He still needs to take some days rest after every week or two of work.

Thank God for Principal Suzan, Director of Studies Stephen and the other teaching and support staff who each do more during this time when their founder must do less.

Learning Continues

The next communication from Geoffrey was not until October 16th. It is clear that although staff have carried extra burdens through the difficult times, they never lost sight of the future they are guiding these orphaned and vulnerable teenagers towards.

Reference is made to our conversation today on the phone. Am very grateful for the effort you have take to reach me after a long time. This was not intentional but due to the difficulty beyond my control. Since I returned to office at RYDA 1 week ago 100 students had to sit for their non-formal modular examination. Am glad to say that all those who were registered managed to sit for their final examinations.

Today Tuesday, another 50 second year students have started their final Craft 2 Examinations. Then the first year will follow, then we will conclude with the Uganda Technical and Business final examinations. A total of 200 students have to sit for their final exams.

The photos which I have sent you are those for the modular students.

This is the future you are helping to create.

So many students the exam takes place in St. Margaret Hall with volunteer 'clients' from the local area.

Catering & Hospitality
Ponder the output below. RYDA supplies everything that brought it about. All the ingredients, mixing, making, baking, cooking, serving and eating equipment, tables, benches, chairs, water, washing and cleaning needs, uniforms, teaching materials, staff...
  • Where does it come from?
  • Donors.

Motor Mechanics


Art & Design
Waiting to start a written exam and sample Tie Dyeing.

Brick Laying and Concrete Practice
Building Uganda one brick at a time.



  • All the children you see in these photos came to RYDA as orphaned or vulnerable children.
  • Orphaned or vulnerable children (OVC) is an official United Nations category.
  • The UN defines children as persons up to 18 years.
  • These children do not pay any fees.
  • RYDA relies on donations, grants and occasional support from international funding organisations.
  • These students are being prepared for a career in a trade and will be assisted into their first employment.


Electrical Practice

2018 Christmas Gift Certificates
  • 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.

November 2018

2018 Christmas Gift Certificates

Support orphaned and vulnerable youths to learn a trade
and get their first job.

  • 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.

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. Include RYDA Information (2 page PDF) with your gift so your special person can learn more about the RYDA story.

Suzan Takes Maternity Leave

You can see that Principal Suzan Liz Nabirye is delighted to be an expectant mum. She has taken leave from the latter part of November to ensure a safe and successful birth. Her baby is due by December 2nd.

Suzan our prayers are with you. We look forward to hearing all the details.

Geoffrey's Christmas Message

For a man who has through 2018 suffered burns to his upper body in a vehicle fire, been hospitalised at least twice to heal, suffered at least two serious bouts of recurring malaria and been diagnosed as diabetic, Geoffrey Steven Kyeyune, RYDA's Executive Director is looking remarkably well in this latest photo. Keep up the healing Geoffrey our prayers are with you.

The students and staff have been intensely involved in preparation for, and execution of, government examinations through November and this period comes to an end on the 30th. The latter part of this period has, of course, been affected by Suzan's leave, which has added pressure to Geoffrey's role. We hope that December sees the easing of that pressure for a while.

Among it all Geoffrey has found time to remember his supporters and has written the following message to encourage us all as Christmas approaches.

Dear Donors and Partners,

I have the pleasure to write to you all to send our Christmas message to you all. To us this year has been a challenging one but also with some progress recorded. The last exams is being done as am writing this letter to you.

On behalf of the Rubaga Youth Development Association (RYDA), I write to extend to you all our sincere appreciation to all our donors and partners for the support you have extended to our institute for at least 20 years, without which certain things would not have been possible to be accomplished for this period of time. Bravo to all of you wonderful people for your continued support.

Many of the vulnerable children/youth have accomplished the skills training with certificates and diplomas. All the achievements have to be recognized and an accolade given to our partners who diligently contribute funds to meet some of the programme activities.

We wish you all a better Christmas holidays and a prosperous new year 2019.

December 2018

It's A Boy!

Congratulations to Principal Suzan Nabirye. Daniel Frederick was born on November 28th by caesarean section. At 6kg he was a big baby, but we are told he is doing well and mum has recovered and is taking life as gently as possible as her body continues to heal.

Reasons to Support RYDA

Two articles about RYDA were published in December. They remind us that every cent we give and every prayer we pray for RYDA bear fruit in the lives of the orphaned and vulnerable youths who come to live in and learn a trade at the Buloba vocational skills training centre. They are both worth a read.

The Rock
Magazine of St. John's Uniting Church, Cowes
December 2018, Page 10

Newspaper of The Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
December 2018, Page 7

The article below is now published on the Crosslight web site. Click the image to reach the article, which begins with a fabulous photo. Also, at the top right of the article page you will find links to previous Crosslight articles about Rubaga Youth Development Association.

Click the image to reveal a PDF version
for printing or reading on screen.

Last Opportunity for Christmas Gift Certificates

Support orphaned and vulnerable youths to learn a trade
and get their first job.

  • 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.

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.