About six years ago, Brian Hickey ’16 met a Ugandan woman who had traveled to Boston for specialized medical care. Her journey was sponsored by Engeye, an NGO based in Ddegeya, Uganda, that strives to improve the lives of rural Ugandans through health care and education. The woman was staying with family friends who were involved with the organization and had offered to host her while she recovered. “After I met her, I began to think about what she would do when she went home,” says Hickey. “What opportunities did she have?”
Engeye, named after the co-founder’s Ugandan clan, has a fully staffed medical clinic, and its Scholars Program sponsors the education of more than 50 students annually. Eager to become involved, Hickey took the first steps of creating a website for the program and sponsoring a student. He then co-founded the Engeye Teen Connection to raise funds and awareness in the U.S. for rural schools in Uganda. Before visiting Ddegeya in July 2011, he led a fundraising campaign for textbooks, which he delivered that summer. While there, he taught primary school students about U.S. culture and met with people in local communities to research strategies for business opportunities.
Hickey, who has been a member of the Scholars Program advisory council since 2010, also is involved with Engeye’s business and training program. He is helping raise funds to build a center for business and vocational education and entrepreneurial programs. Hickey says, “The focus of the center is to identify locally controlled and self-sustainable business opportunities. The goal is to initiate development and put an infrastructure in place so projects will not rely on outside support.”
While a first-year student at Babson, Hickey was a member of MixItMug, an FME business that developed and sold a self-stirring mug. After Hickey introduced his teammates to Engeye and its goals, the team decided to donate its profits to the organization. Engeye received more than $5,200 from MixItMug and used the funds to purchase land for the center.
During summer break, Hickey traveled to Kenya on a three-week service trip as one of five winners of Microsoft’s competitive YouthSpark Challenge for Change. His winning essay, about his work to empower the people of Ddegeya through economic opportunities, also resulted in prize money that he donated to Engeye’s future business center. While in Kenya, he helped build a primary school, and he learned about local cultures and lifestyles as he traveled to nearby communities to meet people and visit their businesses.
Hickey will take the knowledge gleaned from his experience in Kenya and apply it to his work with Engeye. He says, “Babson has taught me how to look at global issues and create an impact.”—Sharman Andersen