May 8, 2017

Schools 53-58 + New BT Videos

Kibwera Current School
Kibwera Current School

School Construction

The Building Tomorrow – Uganda staff have been busy, breaking ground on 6 new primary school sites since our last report! Each new school will provide safe learning space for 315 students; that’s 1,890 brighter futures because of your support!

New schools include:

School 53: Butalangu in Nakaskek District, Uganda         

School 54: Kigarama in Kiruhura District, Uganda

School 55: Kibwera in Kiruhura District, Uganda

School 56: Mutyekula in Lyantonde District, Uganda

School 57: Mulemba in Kyankwazi District, Uganda

School 58: Abangi in Masindi District, Uganda 


Construction Update: Sooko + Mukuru

In our last report, we shared the exciting news that work had begun on the future Sooko Primary School (#51) and Mukuru Primary School (#52). We're thrilled to report that work is nearly finished at these two school sites! Roofs, windows and doors have been installed on both schools. Both communities are working hard to finish construction of the latrines and nursery classrooms. 


Build-a-School Night

Our 10th edition of Build-a-School Night our most successful yet! Over 240 Building Tomorrow supporters joined us for silent and live auctions, dinner and a keynote from BT’s Uganda Country Director. We are still tallying some gifts coming our way, but so far we're well past our goal with over $250,000 in net proceeds from the evening. When was the last time your Friday night plans included building eight schools for 2,600 students? Not a bad start to the weekend, right?


Three New BT Videos

We debuted three new short videos at Build-a-School Night. The videos follow BT student, Phiona, on her journey to school. Let Phiona introduce you to BT Fellow, John, who has spent two years supporting her school and working to transform the quality of education Phiona and her peers receive. Watch all three videos online here:

Sooko: water for school construction
Sooko: water for school construction
Build-a-School Night
Build-a-School Night


Jan 27, 2017

We may be over the hill but we're better than ever

Cohort # Fellows
Cohort # Fellows

Ah, it seems like 50 was only yesterday. But we are over the hill and on to schools 51 and 52. Building Tomorrow closed out 2016 with much celebration at the groundbreakings of Sooko Primary School (#51) on December 30th, and Mukuru Primary School (#52) on December 31st!

And we’re starting the new year off right with eight new school openings on the first day of the new school term in February. School openings include: Kyenshande, Karama, Rwebishahi, Danda, Somba, Kasorora, Kyakatarangi, Bulyabushenyi. The addition of these eight schools brings the total number of open Building Tomorrow schools to 41! 

Work is ongoing at eight additional school sites: Buremba, Buyanja, Rwemirando, Kabuyanda, Kyambogo, Mukuru, Sooko, and Butalangu.    


Building Tomorrow Fellows

Last month, we on-boarded our third and largest cohort of Building Tomorrow Fellows. This cohort, made up of 30 enthusiastic and dedicated young people, will soon be deployed to 120 primary schools in rural areas of Uganda. Over the course of two years, they will help head teachers implement school improvement programs, to achieve the following:

  • A participative and supportive classroom and school environment
  • An established, efficient management structure
  • An independent, financially sustainable school
  • Clear and open lines of communication between all stakeholders
  • Increased linkages, support and accountability between schools and communities

To date, 20 Fellows have supported 80 schools and enrolled 6,491 out-of-school children in school. Over 29,250 students have been impacted by Fellows' efforts to improve the quality of education at schools across 400 rural Ugandan villages.

The Fellows’ impact is, perhaps, best explained by stories shared by communities and Fellows themselves. Fellows like Ruth who, after realizing that children were coming to school barefoot and at times missed school entirely because their feet had become infected, making the journey to school nearly impossible, created Shoes that Inspire. The social enterprise enlisted the help of local men and women, who she trained to collect old tires and then turn those tires into shoes for children who could not otherwise afford the luxury. Or stories like those from Walukunyu Primary School, where Fellows taught girls and boys how to sew reusable sanitary pads, so that girls would have equal ability to come to school each day. By effectively utilizing local materials and mobilizing community members, Fellows are able to create locally supported and sustained initiatives to keep students in school and learning.

Thank you for your continued support!

+The BT Team 

Sooko Groundbreaking
Sooko Groundbreaking
Mukuru Groundbreaking
Mukuru Groundbreaking


Nov 1, 2016

Celebrating 10 Years of Building Tomorrow and 50 Schools

Against the backdrop of colorful dresses reserved for special occasions, the drums blared, the community sang, and the kids eagerly listened for the details of when they could begin enjoying classes in their Building Tomorrow primary school in Kyambogo, Uganda. The celebration-commemorating the ground breaking on the organization's 50th site in Uganda-was full of exuberance, jubilation and reflection.

Ten years in, Building Tomorrow, along with its partners, has undoubtedly made an impact here. More than 10,000 students have been enrolled or re-enrolled in primary-level studies as a result of the organization's efforts in construction and through our Building Tomorrow Fellows program. These milestones are a testament to a relentless and resourceful team wholeheartedly convinced education has the potential of altering the trajectory of underserved children.

Yet I can't shake a line I learned five years ago sitting in a similar situation. Henry, our head Community Development Officer, delighted upon hearing that we would soon invest in some light construction equipment, looked at me with a smile so wide and vivid I can still see it.

"Thank you, but more."

Today, it is a line Henry and I will often joke about each time we see one another. But sitting amongst our team at Kyambogo, it hit me that it's a line we must find a way to help the world to take more seriously. Especially the end. But more.

For some time, organizations like ours have been pressed to 'create an impact.' We replaced annual reports with impact reports, we track data sets that prove our intervention's success and we relate anecdotes from the field. We've scaled our growth by many measures and as a result have reached even more communities. And at the end of the day, when the dust settles, 'creating an impact' will forever be a mere rest stop on the way to actually solving a problem.

The problem, this problem-ensuring access to quality education for every child-must be one of humanity's greatest silent crises. Worldwide, 123 million children are out of school, half of those in sub-Saharan Africa. Over 250 million children who've been in school for a thousand days can't read, write or do basic math.

It gets worse. In Uganda, a recent study by the Uganda National Examination Board found that roughly 80% of graduates at the country's teacher colleges are illiterate and are not proficient in basic numeracy skills. A shockingly high 71% of students who enter primary school never complete a full cycle of schooling. In addition, more than 700,000 children are believed to be out of school entirely.

Solving this problem requires much more. It requires more investment in public-private partnerships, more political will on the part of leaders at the local and national level, and more heels digging in for work unable to be achieved overnight. It demands more acceptance of education as a human right to be afforded every child no matter their gender or disability, more priority as a global key to prosperity, and more support for a field that currently receives less than 2% of all humanitarian aid.

For every community such as Kyambogo that we reach, we estimate there to be dozens more without access to even the most of schooling. And while starting work on Building Tomorrow's 50th school brings great joy to a proud team, there's far, far more work ahead.

Ten years, 50 schools, and 10,000 students later, the message is quite simple; thank you, but more.

George Srour
BT Founder & Chief Dreamer


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