Mar 14, 2012

Academies 1-13

How is it March already?

Time definitely flies when you're busy and the past couple of months have kept us on our toes, for sure: we opened our 8th academy (the BT Academy of Bubeezi), broke ground on our 11th, 12th and 13th academies (Lukindu, Kidula, Bugabo respectively) and teamed up with 7 new schools and organizations to fundraise for an additional 7 academies...just to name a few. Not to mention being knee-deep in planning for our 5th annual Build-a-School Night (by the way, we hope you'll join us!).

On that note, we've got lots to share with you & hope you enjoy our latest newsletter! As always, webale nnyo for your continued support!



in the US

"I am a firm believer that bettering our world starts with ensuring that our future generations will be better off than we are."
  -Hayley Swindell, UT-Austin

BT Ambassadors
Since January 1st, we've had students at six colleges in South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and New Jersey - including Sarah Burke at Furman University - apply for our re-vamped BT Ambassadors Program. Their goal? Raise enough to fund a new academy in Uganda.
You can, too.

Bike to Uganda
It's that time of year again! After learning about UNC's successful partnership with the APPLES Service Learning program, and with Bike to Uganda season just around the corner, our student chapter at Indiana University decided that the best way to strengthen their community (locally and globally) was to team up with a service-learning class to plan and execute their largest event of the year. Stay tuned to follow their progress.

And if you're interested in joining the ride at your school, at your office or in your community, visit to learn how.

St. Peters in Katy, Texas
"I love helping kids and inspiring their initiative to learn. My friends and family are very blessed and I feel like I need to give back."
  -Ashley, 8th grader at St. Peters

A couple of weeks ago we got an email, completely out of the blue, from Sydni, a youth director from St. Peter's United Methodist Church in Katy, Texas. She had literally stumbled across us on Twitter and was excited to rally her students behind Building Tomorrow. Today, with support from their family & friends, they're working to raise $60,000 and fund the construction of a new school in Uganda.
Follow their progress...

We've teamed up with CH2M HILL, global leader in full-service engineering, construction and operations for this year's Backboards to Blackboards Challenge as they try to raise $2,000 towards the construction of a school in Uganda. Follow their progress and contact us if you think your company or business might like to team up with BT, too.

Our summer internships are online! We have 7 openings and you need not be based in Indianapolis. Spread the word! Deadline to apply is April 1st.

in Uganda

The Building Tomorrow Academy of Bubeezi, supported by The Engage Network, officially opened at the end of January and welcomed its first class of students at the start of the term last month! [view photos of the opening]

In 2006, Key Clubbers from across the globe rallied together during Key Club week to raise funds for a school in Uganda. In 2008, the Building Tomorrow Academy of Lutisi, supported by Key Club, opened its doors to hundreds of students in rural Uganda; students like Patrick Ssegando. In 2011, Patrick sat for his Primary Leaving Exams. In 2012, the results came in. [find out what happened...]

Five years of BT
In case you haven't heard, Building Tomorrow turned five years old last fall and, to celebrate, threw a big party in downtown Indianapolis. The main attraction was a video highlighting all we have accomplished, in both the US and Uganda, over the past five years. If you haven't seen it yet, we encourage you to check it out.
[watch the video]

Teacher training
"My grandfather was a teacher, my father was a teacher, I am also a teacher."
  -Muhammad Ssemuyaga, Gita Head Teacher

In partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, BT recently launched a commitment to not only construct an additional 50 academies over the next 5 years but to invest in the training of 450 teachers to improve the quality of learning inside our walls, too.

Building Tomorrow students in Uganda are one month in to their first school term. Meanwhile, construction continues on academies 9-13:

Kyeitabya - supported by the University of Notre Dame, the final bricks are being laid and the latrines are complete!

Nakaseeta - supported by the NA Barakat Family, construction on the 3rd and final classroom block is nearing completion.

Lukindu - supported by the Segal Family Foundation, construction on this academy began in Nov 2011.

Kidula - supported by UNC-Chapel Hill, construction began in Dec 2011.

Bugabo - supported by Davidson College & Virginia Tech, construction began in Jan 2012.

In light of our partnership with One Day's Wages, we've launched a #OneDaysEducation campaign & invite you to complete this sentence on Twitter: Education is ...

"Education can give you an opportunity to change your life." - Sarah Burke Sigmon, Furman



college - start a chapter @ your college or university
hs - plan an event @ your high school
teachers - sit for good with your classroom
young alumni - join the social investment council
anyone - donate your birthday via


     © Building Tomorrow 2012

Dec 14, 2011

Boreholes + Mango Trees

7 November 2011—Determined to have a borehole operational before the start of construction on a new Building Tomorrow academy, the village of Lukindu in the Lwengo District of Uganda took the first steps today in turning their ‘dream into reality.’

As a two-man crew worked with only the aid of a pick axe to dig the borehole, community members and future students planted a mango tree to commemorate the official start of construction of the Building Tomorrow Academy of Lukindu supported by the Segal Family Foundation. The academy will begin to take shape as early as this week on a ten acre plot donated to Building Tomorrow.

“We have dreamt of this for a very long time now,” District Minister of Education Saitoti Matovu said. “Many wish for a day like this to come but only few come to know it. It has reached us and we shall embrace it.”

In a brief ceremony attended by local government leaders and district officials, the community, divided into seven committees each coming from a particular village, committed themselves to working alongside Building Tomorrow staff in beginning work on the organization’s 11th site in Uganda. The future academy will open in 2012 with the aim of reaching its full capacity of 325 children in seven primary-level grades by 2015.

“We know you are serious, and we are too,” Building Tomorrow Country Director Joseph Kaliisa said. “Let’s be serious together and ensure our work here is a big success.”

Lwengo District, newly-formed In the beginning of 2011 is located in the Western region of Uganda, approximately 200km from the capital, Kampala. Students in the area have had to traverse a river with the aid of parents in order to attend the nearest public school, approximately 7km away. In rainy seasons, most end up staying home.

As the ceremony came to a close, Matovu added, “let us not only aim to educate the children of Lukindu, let us embark on grooming the future leaders of Uganda.”

digging a borehole


Sep 28, 2011


About a year ago, Building Tomorrow teamed up with the Jukes Foundation for Kids to provide ten scholarships for students to continue their studies following their completion of P7, the final level of schooling offered at Building Tomorrow academies. Of the 19 students who sat for the nationwide Primary Leaving Exam (PLE), 17 passed, and almost all of them earned what is known here as a ’second-grade.’ Two of our students were two points away from first-grade distinction.

Out of context, this might not seem that impressive. But this fall, the Building Tomorrow Academy of Lutisi, the alma mater of these ten students, will become the first authorized test center for the PLE in the sub county. Up until this fall, as a primary-leaving candidate in Namayumba sub county, you had to travel a measurable distance to simply have the opportunity to take the exam.

No more.

This afternoon, Joseph Kaliisa, our Country Director and I, drove out to St. John’s Secondary School to meet with our Building Tomorrow alums. The crew had much to say of their life as secondary school students–the workload, making new friends and seeing more cars in one day than can be counted on both hands.

BT alumniback row: Moses, Alex and Medie & front row: Agnes, Justine, Rita, Bettie

For about an hour we shared a true African experience, talking under an acacia tree under an unrelenting sun. Moses told me of how his grandmother who lives in Lutisi sent word to his family living in the East of Uganda that a new school–and a good one, too–had recently opened in her village. Days later, Moses arrived in Lutisi and was enrolled at the Building Tomorrow Academy of Lutisi.

Agnes talked of being an anchorwoman; Rita and Justine spoke of their ‘excitement’ for the opportunity to read each day and to one day become nurses. Medie talked fondly of the generator–the generator that allows he and his classmates to study, even when it is dark outside. Moses talked about improving his English skills in order to become a lawyer, then asked if he could add one more thing.

“My mother and father told me that if I ever had the chance to say thank you on their behalf, I should take it. Not only have you helped me, but them, too.”

Alex looked up and said, “me too, we are all just grateful to have been introduced to civilization.”

Floored, I stopped taking notes.


Joseph and I looked at one another and let the silence sink in. Wrongly, I thought changing the subject might help soften things up. I asked everyone what advice they’d give their peers when they next go home. Alex lunged forward.

“I tell them to respect your teachers, read your books and reach what we haven’t; get first grades and make us all proud.”

Joseph stood up, later confessing it was so that no one could see his eyes well up. Though fighting the same urge, I couldn’t stop smiling.

“No, you all make us very, very proud.”

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