One of five children, Father John Richard Kyankaaga was born and raised in Kabingo. His father was a builder and traded his skills for Father Richard’s high school education at the Brothers of Charles Lwanga, many miles from their home. After high school, Father entered the Comboni novitiate and graduated from the seminary in 1991. He was ordained as a Comboni priest in 1992. He served in Darfur, Sudan for six years prior to completing his Ph.D. in Sacred Theology in Rome. He is currently the Director of Dar Comboni Institute for Arabic Studies in Cairo, Egypt. The Institute’s purpose is to train Christian missionaries who will serve in Islamic countries.
Father Richard has served the poor in Darfur and Cairo and was witness to the need of his own people in Kabingo, but it was his grandmother who first responded to the outcry of her friends and family. At that time there was no high school in the area and many villagers were dying from treatable illnesses. Three of her grandchildren, Father Richard’s siblings, died of measles. She donated her land with a vision of St. Bakhita Secondary School and St. Bakhita Dispensary, consulted her fellow villagers, and, equally as important, she enlisted the help of her capable grandson John Richard.
With the generosity he acquired from his grandmother and his father’s talent for construction, Fr. Richard built the secondary school, dispensary and most recently a guest house. He now guides and implements the Hope for Kabingo projects with the same compassion, competence, and commitment to his people.