Rosalie Weller — Co-Founder
Have you ever wondered why you have so much, and there are so many people in the world who have so little?
These were thoughts that kept echoing through my head when two “potentially life-altering” family events ended on a happy note. On Christmas Eve, 2001, our middle son’s wife experienced a ruptured brain aneurysm – and recovered with few ill effects. We spent that Christmas at Barrow’s Neurological Hospital. Christmas Day In 2004 was spent glued to the television. Our youngest son and his wife escaped the tsunami in Thailand by 40 feet. Their bungalow was on a cliff. Either event could have altered my life forever.
Why were we so blessed? The only answer I had – we needed to be extremely grateful. We needed to show this gratitude in some concrete way. The world was responding to the effects of the tsunami. But, what about other unfortunate people in the world? What should we do? So, my search began.
The first week Father Robert came to our parish, I met with him. We discussed the cost for providing for a family in his home country. He also mentioned the need to help vulnerable youth in Uganda get an education – a luxury, not a right. As a former teacher, his suggestion clicked. Here was the answer to my search!
After sponsoring Agnes, the first student in the EENU program, I suggested that this become a parish ministry. So, in May 2005, the first steps began for the development of EENU in the U.S.
I have done many volunteer things in my life, in my community and in my church. This was my most daunting dream to undertake. As Co-Founder of EENU-USA, along with help from some very knowledgeable volunteers, this dream became a reality in November 2005. EENU-USA began with 43 students sponsored by friends, family and parish members.
There have been many struggles, fears, challenges and wonders since the initiation of EENU to the people of the U.S. As a mother, grandmother, teacher, and counselor, EENU-USA has been my on-going commitment to show my gratitude by having the opportunity to help those who have so little.
Growing up on a farm in Missouri, I had ample opportunity to witness charity among neighbors. It was a way of life. My mother had died when I was three years old and my grandparents were wonderful models who taught me to give to others. Compassion for the many orphans in the EENU program has been another motivator. Poverty, lack of good medical attention and the necessities of life are evident in the U.S., but not to the degree of the vulnerable youth of Uganda.
My husband of 66 years, and our three sons and their families, have brought much happiness to my life. Also, knowing that we are giving hope to the vulnerable youth of Uganda, adds to the purpose of my life.
I am still committed to the mission of EENU-USA. I was President for several years but have passed the torch to younger and more capable people. I continue to be Sponsor Director and am a member of the Board of Directors. At the present time, we sponsor three students.
Agnes, our first student, is now in her second year of University studies. And, EENU-USA has provided educational opportunities for 145 students. My dream – that many more vulnerable children in Uganda are given these opportunities.