Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID) is a registered NGO based in Kampala, founded in 2007 by young Congolese refugees living in Uganda.
YARID unites urban refugees through avenues like sports, English classes, and vocational skills training in order to address social issues like ethnic conflicts, unemployment, public health, and lack of access to education.
Refugees that YARID serves mainly come from the Great Lakes Region: Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Others come from Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
To empower refugees, Asylum seekers and other displaced persons around Africa to overcome the burdens of deprivation and vulnerability to become healthy, educated, self-sustaining and contributing members of society.
Our Story In 2007, Sedrick Murhula fled political unrest and conflict in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) and resettled in Uganda. As a refugee, Sedrick witnessed first-hand the struggles of his fellow refugees and after living in Uganda for less than one year was motivated to address some of the common barriers to refugees in Ugandan society. Sedrick soon connected with Kefa Mushaga who also was just starting a new life in Uganda from the DRC. With three years’ experience in community development and project planning in Congo, Kefa helped develop YARID. Later Robert Hakiza joined the team and contributed to further development of YARID.
The group was inspired to help other young refugees who had no work and who often turned to crime or drugs and prostitution. At that time there was little support from international organizations, and refugees living in Kampala, or urban areas generally, were thought to be able to find jobs themselves. Without jobs, refugees could not receive permission to stay in Kampala, and were forced to live as illegal immigrants or move to rural settlements.
Football match was the first activity of YARID, since the football pitch was the only public space available to gather in. The intention at that time was to use sport as a tool for uniting people together. The leaders believed that once people came together there were more opportunities to work together to help one another. In turn, this would lead to innovative solutions to the challenges faced by refugees in the community. In the first two weeks, the football games attracted over 350 people, including both refugees and Ugandans from a diverse of background. The games united people where before there had been some social conflict. People would stay to talk after the game, providing a space to speak to one another about any issues they faced in their daily lives.
A common issue raised by the young refugees partaking in the football games was that the language barrier between them and the national population prevented them from finding jobs or fitting into their new society. As a result the team decided to dedicate their mornings to providing English classes for free and open them to all refugees in the area. One of the leaders had received English classes from an international organization and led the teaching with his new skills. A pastor of a local church allowed the group to use the church community hall to host the lessons. YARID was overwhelmed by the number of people wishing to take part in the lessons, with the first lessons attracting over 100 students for each class. From there, YARID has expanded its programming to include a wider range of activities aimed at meeting other needs refugees spoke of.
YARID’s activities evolved in stages: progressing from soccer (community) to English (language) to sewing (livelihoods). The soccer changed the mood, gave hope, and connected the community. The free English classes helped empower people to participate in the wider community. Vocational training programs, have offered opportunities for economic self-reliance.
Our Core Values
The values that shape the way we seek to make a difference in the lives of those we serve:
- Transparency and accountability
- Integrity: We work with honesty, responsibility, reliability and trust as we carry out our mission. We value the trust of our stakeholders.
- Partnerships: We believe working collaboratively with all stakeholders fosters a positive change in people’s lives.
- Empower refugees and displaced persons with employable skills so that they can become self-reliant
- Promote gender equity and equality through women empowerment
- Enhance community space for refugees to improve their lives
- Promote behavioral change and good health through sports for development