Kyarusozi. It’s hard to pronounce, and hard to forget.
Six Saint Mary’s students spent their summer in this Ugandan village and the time they spent there inspired them to raise over $5,000 for the village upon returning to school.
The organization, Belles for Africa, raised money by selling T-shirts, hosting a benefit 5K run and running a shoe drive. The group also raised money by orchestrating the “miss a meal” program, in which students redirect the cost of one meal in the dining hall toward food for those that struggle to get regular meals.
As a result of these fundraisers, the group presented a check for $5,431 to the Sisters of the Holy Cross Dec. 11. The money will be allocated to the school and clinic in Kyarusozi for necessary supplies.
The clinic hopes to obtain enough money to build an “operating theatre,” or an operating room.
About 50 Saint Mary’s student athletes were in attendance for the check presentation in the Angela Athletic facility.
Senior Megan McClowry was one of the six nursing and education students who traveled to Uganda for the six-week study abroad program.
McClowry said she will never forget the pure love and happiness that the children of Kyarusozi exuded.
“They had so little,” says McClowry. “But they had so much love.”
After working in a clinic during the day, McClowry and the other students played soccer and Frisbee with the village children.
“I was expecting it to be what I had seen on television. They were poor, but I’ve never seen such joy on children’s faces,” McClowry said.
While McClowry did help teach classes at the local school, she concentrated on medical work. McClowry worked with the clinic to dispense medications, give injections and immunizations, assess pregnancies and work at HIV clinics.
The experience in Kyarusozi encouraged the Saint Mary’s students who participated to find a way to give back to the community and raise money to benefit the village, McClowry said.
In addition to learning about the lives of the Ugandans and performing medical work, McClowry said she realized how far the Sisters of the Holy Cross reached.
“I never realized the connection the sisters had around the world. It made me see how rich the Saint Mary’s heritage is,” McClowry said.
McClowry said she hopes that the Uganda program continues to grow at Saint Mary’s and said she uses fundraising events to raise awareness about the program.
Belles for Africa will host fundraising events throughout the year, including a concert by The Undertones, Harmonia and Bellacapella on Feb. 3.