Yimba Uganda  - Equipping Ugandan youth with sustainable, income generating skills
Jul 09, 2019
Emmanuel Kusasira Edwin, and Anne-Marie Reddan
Yimba Uganda - Equipping Ugandan youth with sustainable, income generating skills

Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world, with young people making up the highest percentage of the population, majority of which are unemployed. 

Yimba Uganda (meaning sing Uganda) is a Uganda based non-government organization that equips Ugandan youth with sustainable income generating skills through vocational training and education.

Established by Emmanuel (Emma) and Anne-Marie in 2013, Yimba Uganda works to break the cycle of poverty in Uganda by providing vocational training and education to Ugandan youth who have grown up in vulnerable communities like Emmanuel, in order to reduce unemployment rates and empower the next generation to be economically independent and self-reliant.

Supported by Brighton Rotary Club and several other clubs, as a youth focused vocational training centre that trains Ugandan youth in a wide variety of diverse income generating skills and trades, they have already commenced a highly successful Tailoring, Fashion and Design course, a Music mentorship program and an Agriculture and farming project. As Yimba Uganda grows, it will continue to develop and offer more courses to Ugandan youth, so they are able to utilize their talents, and passions to pursue a promising career in their desired fields.

Consistent with Rotary’s focus for 2019-20 of connecting the world, Emma has epitomised this initiative through his remix of Essendon Football Club’s theme song:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkq6iATWbl4

The inspiration for Yimba Uganda developed from Emmanuel’s life experiences growing up. Emmanuel grew up in the slums of Katwe in Kampala and had a first-hand experience of the difficulties and hardships people living in such places face every day.  Due to the hard work and determination shown by Emmanuel’s parents while he was at school, Emmanuel and his family were able to move out of this area. He went on the complete a university degree in Social Sciences at Uganda’s most renown University, whilst building his career as an established Gospel artist. As his music career grew and he became more known and respected in society, Emmanuel never forgot where he came from and has utilized his standing and voice in society to advocate and address the needs of these communities close to his heart, in particular the youth.

Growing up in a Christian household in Buxton, Anne-Marie went to primary school at Marysville before completing high school at Alexandra, Healesville, Mt Evelyn Christian School and Ringwood High.

She fell in love with Uganda and its people when she first visited at 16 with her family and returned for six months during a gap year in 2012 working initially with the Village of Hope project with Hope Builders. It was her time at a Ugandan orphanage during her GAP year that changed everything and has led to a lifetime of community projects in Uganda.

It was through her work in the community that she met Emmanuel, stage name Coopy Bly, a successful gospel and reggae singer in Uganda.

Recognising Emmanuel’s same vision of working with youth in disadvantaged communities, Anne-Marie found they were very like-minded in terms of the programs they wanted to develop and their dreams of what Uganda could be like.

“We spent a lot of time together building the organisation, and you know how these stories unfold — we fell in love.”

Along with her now husband Emmanuel, Anne-Marie co-founded Yimba Uganda.