Messages from Uganda

Written by Molly MacCready, Executive Director

Since July 1st, I've been working for CROSO full-time and I am loving it! I have been anticipating this shift for a while and there were some things I knew would happen, but others that have really blown me away.

Dreaming with our CROSO Scholars!

Dreaming with our CROSO Scholars!

I'll start with the things I expected:

  1. I'd have more time to be organized. I recently moved into a new office space and have loved the constant access to all of my CROSO materials. It's amazing how much that has increased my productivity and helped keep me on track.
  2. I also knew having more time would allow me to be more connected with our donors and to reach out to new donors more easily. In July, I spent a few days in Ohio where we hosted our first CROSO fundraiser and laid the groundwork for another event in October. We've had several donors in the Chicago area express interest in individually sponsoring scholars, so I've been able to touch base with them about that.
  3. My final expectation was that we would be able to be more supportive to our scholars. We accepted our largest class of scholars yet-- NINE new students! -- and I look forward to working with each of them in the years to come.

The piece that has been the most surprising to me in this new role is the increased communication that I'm able to have directly with our CROSO Scholars and graduates... and I am LOVING that!

Because of the 8 hour time difference between Uganda and Chicago, I regularly am greeted in the morning with new emails and WhatsApp messages from our CROSO Scholars and graduates. The messages vary from excitedly sharing that they have reported to campus for the first time to questions about funding for specific aspects of their studies or internships. The messages that leave me in the highest spirits each day are when scholars share a story of how they're putting into practice something new they learned in their classrooms. I'll tell a few of these stories with you so that you can share in this feeling of joy!

  1. Just last week, I received a WhatsApp message from Pamela. Pamela will be starting her third and final year at Uganda Christian University this fall and is studying Business and Business Administration. During this short break between semesters, Pamela will be helping at C.R.O., which is not uncommon for our scholars. The piece of the story that IS uncommon, is what she told me next. She said that she has started a small business in her neighborhood and that she was inspired to do this by her entrepreneurship professor. Pamela recognized that her business is quite small now because she didn't have very much capital to start, but believes it will grow with time. What an incredible opportunity for her to gain additional real-world experience with those entrepreneurship skills before she begins her final year of studies!
  2. Earlier in the month, I received an email from Awali. He's just completed his bachelor's degree in law and he has already found a way to put it use! While on campus at the Islamic University in Uganda, Awali and some of his classmates had the idea to start a nonprofit organization. Because of Awali's law background, he offered to be helpful in taking care of all the paperwork necessary to get established. They became a legal entity over the summer and it was in large part due to Awali's application of his law knowledge that they were able to make that happen!

These are just two stories of many that could be told. Our CROSO Scholars truly are making the most of their education both in and outside the classroom and I couldn't be more proud of them!