Poverty and street life has led Pamela to do outreach to others less fortunate than her. Raised in the Namatala slum, Pamela and her family of thirteen, squeezed in a small grass-thatched house. One night, their father came home and unexpectedly kicked Pamela, her mother and sisters out of the house. With no money, as her mother could no longer work, it became strenuous to find meals. Pamela, with her younger brother on her back, took to the streets in search for food for the family. Fortunately, C.R.O. found her in 1999 and “took over her life”. She has been thriving since.
With C.R.O.’s help, Pamela was taught to read and write. She made friends with other students there and even lived with two of them before university. She was fond of singing and dancing, participated in football, and even loved to debate (of which she received an honorary certificate). At C.R.O., Pamela was a very active helper. You could find her in the kitchen serving food, washing dishes, supervising children, cleaning offices, and even leading morning devotion. Pamela was also an active volunteer at Red Cross and the orphanage by her school in Gangama, where she and a few friends donated supplies they had gathered. As a C.R.O. peer educator, she went back to the streets to advise children to go back home and attend school, and also advised parents of children’s rights.
Pamela's CROSO Scholarship
Pamela was accepted for the CROSO Scholarship in 2015 and began her studies at Uganda Christian University's Mbale campus. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Business and Business Administration with a desire to become an accountant. During her time as a CROSO Scholar, she has had the opportunity to learn from her classes and from her professional experiences out in the community.
During her second year, Pamela interned with a government office about four hours away from Mbale. While she was grateful for the skills she had the opportunity to apply in practice, Pamela's strongest take-away from the experience was actually to be immersed in the work life for several months and to better understand work culture. One unfortunate experience she had while interning was to witness corruption in the work place. She was unsure how best to handle it given her role as an intern, but eventually chose to include the experience in her written report which was submitted to her academic supervisor and her supervisor at the local government office.
When CROSO staff and board members have met Pamela, they have been impressed by her professionalism, her clear dedication to her studies and her proactive approach to next steps beyond graduation. Pamela took an entrepreneurship class as part of her studies and was inspired to start her own small business. She began purchasing vegetables and fruits in the market in larger quantities and then returned to her neighborhood to sell small quantities at slightly increased rates. Through this practice, Pamela has been able to increase her capital slowly and therefore continue to increase what she sells. Since she is doing this while studying, she typically goes to market once a week and sells the goods in the afternoons after class. She has learned some great practical lessons from this and plans to continue this as a side income after graduation.
Pamela is expected to graduate in November 2018.