Service and Community
By Christopher Martin
Molloy College Class of 2018
I just recently returned from an incredible two-week service trip in Uganda with Dr. Peter Garrity. This amazing experience would never have happened without the help and generosity from Molloy faculty and administration. I am the beneficiary of the environment that Molloy fosters. For two weeks, I stayed in Jinja, Uganda and volunteered in the refugee village of Masese, which is located in the outskirts of Jinja. I volunteered at H.E.L.P. Primary School, which gives impoverished children the opportunity to receive education and two meals a day. Before the school was started six years ago, most of the children did not attend school and they were lucky if they received one meal every three days. Besides tutoring the children and working at the school, I visited homes in the slums of Masese and met many of our potential loan candidates during a "bead buy." For fun, I was also able to teach the children Ultimate Frisbee and donate frisbees from the Molloy Ultimate Frisbee Club team that I am a part of.
This whole journey started when the Molloy College Honors Program offered me the opportunity to intern with the Partnership for Global Justice and the United Nations. The internship was in the area of microfinance, and, based on the advice from Dan McGann, I was assigned Dr. Peter Garrity as my mentor for the internship. Kathleen Reba and Rita O'Rourke were incredible in helping me receive a grant for the service trip, thereby making it possible for me to go; I am incredibly grateful for their help. Molloy enabled me to take my theoretical knowledge and research about microfinance in developing nations directly to the people who will receive the loans. Since Molloy College gave me the opportunity to have such a transformative experience, I would like to bring some of my experience back to Molloy College as well as give students the opportunity to make a difference in the world.
This fall, Dr. Peter Garrity and I will be starting a Molloy College Microfinance Club that will give small business loans to the people of Masese, Uganda. Molloy College has provided students with wonderful opportunities to travel and study abroad; now there is an opportunity for Molloy to have a social impact on a community abroad. The funding for the loans will be managed through the Molloy Club by means of various fundraising strategies. In conjunction with the Ugandan team, we developed a microfinance loan application and a process, which will support the business plan and budget for the loan. Once assessed by the Ugandan team, the loan application will be sent to us at Molloy for our assessment. Based upon approval, funds will be sent to the Uganda team to fund the project. The benefits for the Molloy students will be an insight into the culture of poverty and illiteracy, an appreciation of their fortunate lives, an understanding of how or why a loan was approved or rejected, the satisfaction of helping people out of poverty, and the opportunity of literally making a difference in people's lives.
I want to thank President Bogner for allowing me to have a meaningful experience that gave me the incredible opportunity to work abroad and to make a difference in people's lives. Molloy College was instrumental in my new vision of holding me personally responsible, as a global citizen, to help those who are in need.