Student spotlight: Chris Martin ('18), Accounting and Philosophy Double Major
You have had a unique college experience, dedicating much of your time to helping the people of Masese, Uganda, through your microfinance project with Dr. Peter Garrity and your work with HELP International/Uganda. How did you become involved and what has that experience been like?
During my sophomore year, through the honors program, I was a microfinance intern with the Partnership for Global Justice, which is an NGO that is involved with the United Nations. I was able to learn about microfinance which is giving small business loans to entrepreneurs. In developing countries, these loans can be anywhere between 30 to 100 USD.
While I was interning, I had Dr. Peter Garrity for Quantitative Analysis and learned that he was involved with HELP International/Uganda. Dr. Garrity and his wife, Delia, helped start a primary school in a refugee village in Masese, Uganda. After seven years of hard work, the school has 550 students and provides students two meals a day.
One day after class, I approached Dr. Garrity and asked if he would be interested in creating our own microfinance project in Masese. In the last two years since our initial conversation, I have been lucky enough to travel to Uganda three times. We have launched our microfinance model, given loans to 15 women, and started the Molloy-Masese Partnership, which is a club on campus that gets more students involved in the project.
The Molloy-Masese Partnership offers Molloy students a tangible way to make an impact on the world. Club members are responsible for assessing loan applications from entrepreneurs in Uganda and fundraising for our project.
My experience in Masese has been incredibly transformative and I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with Delia and Peter Garrity. This student-professor collaboration would have never been possible without the small, welcoming atmosphere of Molloy College.
If we are interested in supporting HELP International, what can we do?
HELP international/Uganda is a wonderful organization that is truly giving marginalized people the opportunity to thrive in the world. In order to help raise awareness for this awesome project, we currently have a GoFundMe and are raising money in order to shoot a documentary about Masese and the school. If you are interested in learning more about the documentary or helping out, you can check out Help Documentary. Furthermore, if you want to learn more about Help Uganda, you can visit Help Uganda.
What are your post-graduation plans?
After graduation, I will be moving to Belgium in order to pursue postgraduate study in Philosophy at The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. I will also still be involved with HELP International/Uganda and our microfinance project.