September 21, 2023
By Christie R. House
ATLANTA – The Rev. Claudine Leary was one of a few children in her Rwandan village to attend primary school through high school. But the year she entered Rwanda National University, civil war engulfed the country and a time of horrific genocide ensued. Leary survived by fleeing the country, residing in different refugee camps for years. There was no opportunity for completing her education in the camps, but she found a way. Today, Leary serves as the director of development at Methodist Theological School in Ohio and is also involved with a nonprofit she co-founded to resource and advocate for the education of children living in refugee camps in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Rev. Olga Maria Raimundo Choto grew up in Chipongo, a rural area of South Mozambique. Her parents were farmers who never had the opportunity to attend school, but they worked hard so she could attend. As a pastor and single parent, she says she experienced many situations of gender injustice and found the path to becoming an independent adult to be challenging. She is studying to perfect her research skills to begin a major project on gender-violence and the status of women and girls in her country.
Christian Love Daroy-Gagno, the fifth of seven children in her immediate family, grew up in the Philippines, where her father served as clergy for The United Methodist Church. She studied business administration, but then joined the UMC young adult mission program and became a mission intern. After mission service, she worked for one of the church’s mission institutions, Kapitiran-Kaunlaran Foundation, Inc. (KKFI), where her life course took a new direction. Today, she works with the Indigenous community of T’boli in South Cotabato, Philippines.
These are just three of the average 50 scholars who receive United Methodist scholarships for higher education through the World Communion Sunday offering each year. World Communion Sunday is a United Methodist opportunity for connectional giving presented annually in October. The lives these scholarships impact and the dreams and aspirations they fulfill are not just those of the scholars, but of the many people reached by them as they complete their studies and develop ways to fulfil God’s calling in their lives.