As a child on the streets of Uganda, Ronald did odd jobs to survive. He recalls that he looked for scrap metal and plastic water bottles that he could resell, ate leftovers that he found, slept on sidewalk outside of shops at night and was “tortured by policemen and other old street boys.”
Now Ronald is on the road to be a lawyer. He has completed a diploma in legal foundations, and in 2017, Ronald enrolled in a four-year program at Islamic University in Uganda for a Bachelor of Laws degree. With this degree Ronald can practice law in Uganda, and in his words “save the situation in our country if given chance and opportunity.”
Ronald grew up with few opportunities as one of 13 children in a polygamous family. When Ronald was 9 years old, his father was arrested (for charges that Ronald believes were fabricated), and was held for 6 years without trial. Without his father’s support, the 13 children and two mothers struggled to make ends meet. Ronald’s mother ended up getting remarried and has since had multiple children with her new husband. Ronald was left with his stepmother who didn’t have the means to support him and became physically abusive. After a year of neglect and abuse, Ronald felt he had no choice but to leave home and live on the streets. When Ronald was 10 he joined C.R.O., a NGO in Uganda that invites children off the streets and gives them the tools necessary to reintegrate into society, including food, counseling, access to medical care, housing, and supports them to attend Primary and Secondary school. C.R.O. is CROSO’s partner organization; while C.R.O. supports many children and young adults through Primary and Secondary school, CROSO provides the most promising students with support to continue their education.
Ronald is one of these very promising students. He has scored excellent grades, and earned admission to University on his own, but needs the support of CROSO and generous donors in the United States to make the most of his opportunity.
Ronald has demonstrated himself to be a leader. Throughout primary and secondary school, Ronald found ways to engage with his peers and was chosen for several leadership roles. He served as the Director of Internal Affairs in the school’s Interact Club, was the Organizing Secretary for the AIDS Challenge Youth Club, served as the Deputy Chief Advisor for the Peer Educators at C.R.O. and played on several football teams. Ronald states that as a peer leader “I advise and counsel my fellow street children through imparting in them positive thinking. I also encourage them to study hard and also reconcile with their parents.”
Ronald puts his faith in the Lord. He writes that “I believe that with God, all things are possible.” Ronald has interpreted Bible scriptures into the local language for children to understand, he won the “Bible Memory Quiz” when he was in Primary school.With the support of CROSO Ronald has already completed a one year foundational diploma program in law. In 2017, Ronald applied and was again accepted as a CROSO Scholar. He is now pursuing a bachelor's degree in law at Islamic University in Uganda.
Ronald writes in his application, “I want to work in the legal field so I can be able to administer justice to all people in the courts of our country, advocate for the rights and freedoms of the minority group of people, fight against corruption and injustices... My father faced injustice in the courts of Uganda, I grew up observing police brutality, the rich grabbing land from the poor and winning the cases with bribes. Such factors propelled me to study hard and achieve my dream of becoming a lawyer.”