Happy Mother's Day!
Written by Molly MacCready, CROSO's Executive Director
Namasobo Lydia graduated with her bachelor's degree in 2012 from Uganda Christian University as one of CROSO's first female graduates. While studying at U.C.U., she met the man who would become her husband and the two got married in 2013. In 2015, little Esther was born, making them a family of three. During the 2016 CROSO visit to Uganda, I had the opportunity to meet Lydia's daughter, Esther. This was the first time I'd ever met one of our graduates' children before and I was surprised by what a powerful experience it was for me.
Lydia had brought Esther to C.R.O. (CROSO's partner organization) to meet us there. When the pair arrived, one of the social workers (Liz) who had been Lydia's counselor ran out to excitedly greet Lydia and her daughter and brought them over to introduce us. Lydia shared about the contract work she was doing for an international NGO addressing poverty issues within the community. Having studied public health and read tons of articles about development, I already knew that mothers who have gone beyond secondary school with their education have a significant positive influence on their child's health (including lower child mortality rates and lower malnutrition rates), school attendance record, and academic achievement.
That said, seeing this bright, accomplished college graduate with her one and a half year old daughter, brought that message home to me in a new way. I could immediately see that Esther was healthy, well-cared for, and clearly well loved. Lydia was beaming as she talked about her! The more we talked, the more I realized that we were actually seeing the cycle of poverty break right in front of our eyes.
Through access to higher education, Lydia was able to make not only a different life for herself, but she was able to help her children have a very different childhood than she had experienced. Little Esther will not grow up worrying about whether there will be food that day or whether she will be beaten by the police if she tries to sleep on the streets. She will grow up in a loving household with two university-educated parents, with a mom who sometimes makes them matching dresses (see photo from the following year on the right). She'll grow up learning at home and at school that she has opportunities ahead of her and that if she works hard, she too can follow her dreams.
So as we celebrate Mother's Day here in the U.S., I encourage you to join me in appreciating the amazing gift that mothers can be in our communities. As CROSO continues to support future mothers and fathers of a new generation of children in Uganda, we invite you to make a $20 donation in honor of your mother today! While it may seem like a small amount to you, that $20 donation has the ability to impact an entire community in Uganda!