Posted by Ben Lowry

Last Friday, our group was lucky enough to hear from Charlie Roscoe, a longtime CPA in Portland who, after his formal retirement in 1995, has begun on a journey to help others in Maine and well beyond, with his most recent travels and passions taking him to Uganda (which actually has the highest percentage of Rotarians, per capita, in the world). After mentoring and befriending a Ugandan refugee named Bosco Oringa, who attended Portland High School and the University of New England, where he received a master’s degree in pubic policy, Charlie's fascination with Bosco’s plight brought him, in 2008, to the equatorial nation that sits just below Lake Victoria in central Africa. It was during this visit in search of Bosco’s mother that Charlie observed the conditions that awaited the thousands of refugees who flooded across the northern border of South Sudan into the small villages just south of the equator. 

With an obvious need to educate these tens of thousands of young people, Charlie came back to the states and set up a 501(c)(3) and began collecting monies, mostly from his golfing buddies. What was once a fledgling dream has become a glorious reality, with 236 children attending the kindergarten and another 537 students in the primary school. With UN help and lots of volunteers in the local communities, the budget of $45,000 per year is barely able to keep up with the needs of these voracious students, most of whom attend classes of over 80 children. Now, with electricity going in to power limited computers and tablets, 2000 children are on waiting lists for this powerful and, oftentimes, life-saving school. 

Charlie is living the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” and has forever altered the lives of thousands of young people in an area of the world that so needs this type of help.  It is worth mentioning that they did find Bosco’s mother and after a seven-year delay, they live happily together in Houston. A warm story for a brisk Spring day!






(Photo L-R:  1st VP Amy Chipman, Charlie Roscoe and President John Curran.)