How it started.
Sedrick Murhula and Kefa Mayange lived as refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo in the urban neighborhood of Nsambya in Kampala, Uganda. After living the everyday struggle and observing the same of their peers, they decided to rise up and make a change in their community.
In 2007, YARID was founded with the hope that young refugees living in Kampala can make a great impact in their communities and live successful lives despite the challenges of being refugees. With only one soccer ball and a passion to “be the change,” Sedrick and Kefa hosted their first event uniting refugees from Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi on the soccer field in Nsambya. This is where they started discussing issues related to their lives, offering motivational speeches, and communicating hope to improve the lives of refugees in Kampala.
The soccer program grew quickly, and many refugees expressed their challenges with communicating in English. Next, Sedrick and Kefa opened free English classes in a space offered by the J.O.S Church, where hundreds of young men and women joined. YARID programs grew rapidly as community needs arose.
In 2008, Robert Hakiza, also a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, joined Sedrick and Kefa’s efforts and helped bring the vision of YARID to life. Kefa and Sedrick invited Robert to join them as a co-founder and together they built one of the first refugee-led organizations in Uganda. The team grew with committed volunteers, including local Ugandans and other refugees, who joined YARID to contribute to the mission to serve refugees.
At the end of 2009, Kefa moved to join international humanitarian responses in the DRC, Sierra Leone, and Niger to develop his expertise in the context of conflicts, natural disasters, and epidemics with a focus on protection and humanitarian response management.
In 2012, Sedrick was granted refugee resettlement and moved to the United States where he continued his career in refugee advocacy and social innovation. Sedrick remained involved with YARID overseas organizing fundraisers, sharing the story of YARID, and supporting staff and programs from afar.
Since 2012, Robert has faithfully served as the Executive Director for YARID Uganda growing the organization and expanding partnerships through research and public speaking engagements.
Today, 15 years later, YARID is one of the best-known refugee-run organizations in Uganda with 130 employees (60% Refugees and 40% Nationals and 50% men & 50% women on staff). In 2022, we directly served over 8,000 refugees across three field offices in Kampala, Kyaka II, and Palabek refugee settlements addressing access to education, sustainable livelihoods, refugee protection, and continually advocating for the rights and opportunities for refugees.
Sedrick hosting a community meeting.
Early days on the soccer field.
Robert in YARID's first office.
YARID served 8,500 individuals in 2022.
Where We Work.
We seek partners that value our grassroots foundation and deep connection to our community. Our approach is innovative and led by refugees. We expect partnerships to be equitable and meaningful, recognizing that a localized agenda means adapting outdated humanitarian systems to better respond directly to community-identified needs. We are grateful to the donors and partners that provide resources for us to serve our community.