What a humbling experience it was to have Emma and Anne-Maree speak at last Monday's Club Meeting about their work in Uganda. Emmanuel (Emma) Kusasira Edwin Sserwanga, aka Coopy Bly  – together with his Australian wife Anne-Marie Reddan are founders of Yimba Uganda.
Emma was born and raised in the largest slum (Katwe) located in the capital of Uganda- Kampala.
At a young age, Emma’s father, who was a driver and loader employed at the Airport,  knew that for the sake of his family to have any chance to extract themselves from the slums he had to go to the UK in order to earn a reasonable living.  2 years after his father went his mother too went to the UK leaving their 2 children in the care of their extended family.
Alongside Emma’s education he had a greater passion for music and when his parents sent clothes for him from the UK, he would sell them in order to pay for recording his music in studios. At the age of 12 he released his first single and recorded his first music video at age 16.  Emma’s vision was that music would get him out of the slums. With their support Emma completed his education and went on to University to study in the Social Science field.
His wife, Anne-Marie Reddan, from Healesville in Victoria, as a young teenager, with her parents and 3 older brothers embarked upon an “overseas holiday”- destination was Uganda and the holiday was to help build an orphanage. Anne-Marie completed her high school education and something about Uganda did not leave her- it was under her skin, rather than perusing her original path Anne-Marie chose to study International Development at ACU.
In 2013 Emma wanted to fulfil his vision to do more for the people of Uganda - together he and Anne-Marie formed an NGO – Yimba Uganda. Anne-Marie was just 20 and Emma 24. Emma’s experience of life in the slums was instrumental in how to form a meaningful and purpose driven organisation that would make a real difference. They currently operate three program:
The 1st program they commenced was in the city of Jinja as an Agriculture and farming project aimed at Youth in the area, whereby Goats are purchased (with the earnings of Emma’s concerts and record sales) and provided as a loan to families who then breed with them, selling milk and other goat related products.
The 2nd program and the largest one being a 12-month vocational training course in Tailoring, Fashion and Design. 
The 3rd program is conducted by Emma -  a Music Mentorship program.
Colleen D'Offray from the Brighton Rotary Club then outlined how her Club in conjunction with other Clubs and Districts are combining to support the Yimba Uganda projects.
It was a great experience for all present to hear the presentation by Anne-Maree and Emma and then to have Emma perform his version of the Essendon footy club song