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January 2024

2023-2024 BYU-Pathway Worldwide President's Report banner image

African woman sitting at a desk in her home with a laptop and an notebook.Things were looking up for Grace Ninsiima, a single mother of four from Uganda. After escaping a toxic marriage, she had found The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and started an online bachelor’s degree from Ensign College through BYU-Pathway Worldwide.

Then things took a turn for the worse when Grace was diagnosed with kidney disease. “I was afraid of how I would handle taking care of my kids and paying for the expensive medication,” says Grace.

Finding a New Path

Grace was raised in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Her father was a water engineer who taught at universities across the country, and Grace was fortunate to attend international schools and receive a quality education.

When her father died unexpectedly, Grace had her education cut short, and she was forced into an arranged marriage at a young age to an abusive husband. After suffering silently for many years, Grace left her husband and took her four daughters with her to start a new life.

Grace worked tirelessly to provide for her children. While walking home from work one day, Grace met two Latter-day Saint missionaries. She readily accepted the gospel, and she and her daughters were baptized into the Church.

Sometime later, Grace was at her church building when she overheard a group meeting of BYU-Pathway students. She was intrigued by the discussion and began participating in the gathering even though she was not a student. She eventually enrolled, and in April 2024 she will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in communication.

“My inspiration is my children. I want a better life for them, and I never miss the chance to let them know how BYU-Pathway has changed our life.”

Throughout her studies, Grace has continued to work full-time to support her family. She also serves in two church callings: district Primary president and institute teacher.

“It’s not easy juggling all these things at once,” she says. “But since I have joined BYU-Pathway, I have been more resilient. My inspiration is my children. I want a better life for them, and I never miss the chance to let them know how BYU-Pathway has changed our life.”

Working Toward Self-Reliance

One month after Grace learned about her kidney disease—and the costly medical care that it would require—she was blessed with an opportunity that would help her through her trial. 

With the help of BYU-Pathway, Grace received an offer to work remotely for Sandbox Industries, a Chicago-based venture capital firm that invests primarily in healthcare. The job makes it possible for Grace to afford her medication and send her daughters to better schools. 

“It’s amazing how the Lord was able to come to my rescue at this very daunting time,” says Grace. “Heavenly Father knew what I needed and when I needed it. I feel so grateful that I can provide for my daughters and help them have a better future.”

Grace works as a research analyst, reviewing financial reports and other data and producing investment briefs for company executives. In addition to paying higher wages, the job also gives Grace opportunities to apply the skills she is learning in her college classes.

“Grace has the ability to catch on quickly and deliver consistently,” says Sandbox co-CEO Matt Downs, who is also a BYU-Pathway donor, service missionary, and member of the Career Advisory Board.

“Having this job has been a life changer for my family,” says Grace. “We are learning to be more self-reliant, which has helped us to stay rooted in the gospel and in magnifying my callings.”

Leading Others

The blessings that Grace has received through work and education have made her an example to others. She is often invited to meetings to speak about work, personal responsibility, and BYU-Pathway.

“As I share my experiences, I have seen people join or reenroll in BYU-Pathway,” says Grace. “My example has inspired hundreds of hopeful students. This means so much to us in Uganda. We hope for a better life with better jobs and affordable education.”

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