KAMPALA, UGANDA | 2 November 2010
More than 200 community members, future students and local dignitaries officially opened the Building Tomorrow Academy of Sentigi, supported by the University of Notre Dame in the rural village deep inside the Wakiso District of Uganda. Classes will begin at the new Academy in January 2011, in conjunction with the start of the academic year.
Plans to begin construction at Sentigi commenced in the winter of 2009 when local leader Gerald Kasibante offered nearly three acres of his own, private land to construct the BT Academy. Parents, guardians and local leaders provided more than 20,000 hours in unskilled labor to clear, build and beautify the site. “You people are saying you build tomorrow,” said Prince Herbert Wasajja representing Wakiso District. “…We thank you very much for walking the talk.”
The BT Academy of Sentigi features seven classrooms, an office, library and teacher staff room, as well as a 10-stance pit latrine.Working in conjunction with the Vice President of Uganda, Professor Gilbert Bukenya, teacher housing has also been constructed on site to provide a safe environment for the seven teachers and headmaster who will work at the Academy.
Nearly ten local officials spoke throughout the four-hour ceremony as future students filled the air with song and dance in celebration of the area’s first permanent school structure.
“This was an incredible opening ceremony, indicative of the resolve this community has demonstrated throughout the entire construction process,” said George Srour, Director of Building Tomorrow, Inc. “When it rained, we moved inside, and when the sun came out again, we moved back outside. Nothing could stifle this celebration.”
During the 2007-08 academic year, students at the University of Notre Dame, working through the student organization ND-8, raised over $45,000 to fund the eventual construction of the BT Academy of Sentigi. The Sentigi site is the first of two Academies funded by student-led efforts at the University of Notre Dame. Work on the future BT Academy of Kyeitabya began in May 2010 with a scheduled opening in mid-2011.