On May 25, 2013, four University of Chapel Hill students joined families, students, community leaders, and Ministry officials to open Building Tomorrow’s 11th primary school in Uganda – the BT Academy of Kidula. The Academy was funded by the BT chapter at UNC-Chapel Hill (one of 30 college-based chapters) namely through Bike to Uganda, their signature event, a week long bike-a-thon raising over $45,000 in its first two years. Sarah Piscitelli (UNC ‘15), Erin Owenby (UNC ‘13), Catherine Edwards (UNC ‘13) and Amanda Wall (UNC ‘13) were there to celebrate alongside the community of Kidula.
In opening, the BT Academy of Kidula has the capacity to serve 325 children with access to a quality primary school education. Since the ground breaking in December 2011, community members have donated over 20,000 hours of labor towards the project.
But they aren’t done giving yet. During the opening ceremony, the community pledged to raise the funds needed to build teacher housing on site. Each family will contribute the sale of a hen (20,000 Ugandan Shillings or approximately $8 USD) while one family has committed to give 100,000 Ugandan Shillings ($40 USD) to jump-start the project.
The Ugandan Ministry of Education was also present at the opening ceremony. The Minister of Higher Education addressed the community about the importance of educating their children. He also personally promised to give 1 million Ugandan Shillings ($400 USD) to provide additional classrooom resources for the school.
Piscitelli said after the ceremony, “It was amazing to see the Academy complete and meet the community members who have partnered with our efforts. I cannot wait to get back to UNC and tell all the students about the people I met and the structure that now stands because of them. Education is our future and now these children will have the opportunity to learn.”
The BT Chapter at UNC is currently fundraising for a second academy. One-fourth of the way towards their goal and with another Bike to Uganda event scheduled for the Fall, they hope to be partnered with another community in Uganda to build a second primary school very, very soon.