After cutting the ceremonial ribbon to officially declare the new Building Tomorrow (BT) Academy of Jomba open, Vice President of Uganda Gilbert Bukenya strapped on his dancing shoes and joined the singing and dancing led by a chorus of future students to celebrate the completion of the area’s first permanently-built school structure.
The BT Academy of Jomba will first welcome students on Monday, February 21 with the capacity to eventually house 325 kids in grades Primary One through Primary Seven (US equivalent of 1st-7th grade). The Academy, a 10-room structure constructed with the support of the City of Indianapolis and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls becomes the first permanently-built school structure in an immediate area serving students from the villages of Jomba, Kibone, Kitinda, and Kawooya.
“What has been done here is a very wonderful thing,” Bukenya said. “And today I pledge to pay for the construction of teacher’s quarters at this very place, with funds of my own.”
The Vice President’s commitment, similar to one he made to construct teacher’s quarters at the recently-opened BT Academy of Sentigi, was met with great excitement by community parents and guardians who have made good on their own pledge to provide 20,000 of unskilled labor to construct the Academy.
“The first time I came here, we sat under that tree and had a meeting,” BT Uganda Country Director Joseph Kalisa said. “And today we see the excitement of this place and these people for the opening of this very, very strong academy.”
Students at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls have raised over $15,000 to support the construction of the Academy through a host of events ranging from “The Big Event,” a homecoming concert headlined by award winning singer Shawn Mullins to BT’s signature on-campus philanthropy, Bike to Uganda.
BT Academies are constructed out of all local supplies, including over 50,000 hand crafted bricks, local timber and other aggregate materials. BT partners with the local ministry of education to fund the ongoing costs related to teacher salaries and provides continuing teacher training for BT Academy staff.
BT is an international social-profit organization encouraging philanthropy among young people by raising awareness and funds to build and support educational infrastructure projects for underserved children in sub-Saharan Africa. BT works with a college network of nearly 25 chapters nationwide and has a partnership with the 245,000 members-strong Key Club International, the world’s largest high school service organization. The BT Academy of Jomba is the seventh location built and opened by the organization, which now has space to accommodate over 2,400 students throughout Uganda.
Check out the video link attached to see footage of the Academy and celebrations from the opening!