25 April 2019

Millennium Fellow Chloe Quigley: Founder of Oso Microenterprise

UNAI and the Millennium Campus Network’s Millennium Fellowship helps students design and implement community-level initiatives to promote sustainability and help others in need.

Member of the 2018 Class of Millennium Fellows, Chloe Quigley, has empowered women living with trauma through her organization Oso. Her Millennium Fellowship Project advances SDG 1: No Poverty, SDG 5: Gender Equality and SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth.

Read Chloe Quigley's message regarding her Millennium Fellowship Project below:

At the age of 8, I began serving the community in Guatemala. Specifically, I have been a part of over tens of playground and house builds, medical clinics and sports camps - working in what’s known as the Guatemala City garbage dump communities. These are communities centered around the city’s only trash dump and where over 12,000 people live and work, salvaging raw trash. Heartbroken at the many needs that my hands will never be able to meet, I have spent the past decade getting to know these communities and all of the small ways I can serve them. Today, I’m a Sophomore at Georgetown University majoring in Justice and Peace Studies with a minor in Spanish and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship.

I am also the Founder of Oso - an enterprise that employs 12 women, self-identified as living with trauma, in Guatemala City garbage dump communities to handmake stuffed teddy bears which are sold globally, empowering the women to make double their community’s average income. Oso was spearheaded through a Georgetown Social Innovation and Public Service Fund in the spring of 2018, implemented last August, and has been self-sustainable since October. Oso teddy bears have found their homes all throughout the US and in countries such as Canada, Mexico, India, Spain, the United Kingdom and even to those serving our country. They are each uniquely made, named and numbered and are guaranteed to bring a smile to someone’s face - no matter their age.

Oso’s multidimensional mission allows it to connect unlikely communities, raise global awareness and provide a dignifying and sustainable income and community to a group of women that would otherwise be making their means by sorting through trash. The future of Oso rests on the continued interest and support of global partners that believe that every individual has a right to work and should recognize their potential. As I seek to grow Oso in the future, I want to be sure it remains a program that allows women in Guatemala City to not just learn how to make teddy bears but how to grow in their community - sharing in the trials and triumphs of life and womanhood.

My role is that of an advocate, entrepreneur, learner, servant, student and friend. Of all the causes and places to serve, I have found one that I care about and am willing to dedicate my attention to. It has been far from easy and there has been a lot of learning along the way, but with the right intentions and careful planning, I encourage other passionate students to thoughtfully go for it!

If you are interested in becoming a 2019 Millennium Fellow, apply to the Millennium Fellowship here. First round applications are evaluated on a rolling basis. 

You can learn more about Oso or get into contact with Chloe, visit their website. You can also follow them on Instagram or Facebook @ Oso.zonatres