1.2 Million Reasons to Smile


One awesome evolution of the Building Tomorrow model has been the willingness of communities to make significant investments in the idea of a community supported school. At our first few sites, Building Tomorrow paid for the land on which our schools were constructed. As our Uganda team says, no one had any real good reason to trust an organization that didn’t have much of a track record. Oh how that’s changed.

Nearly a three hour drive outside of Kampala–and just about 50 miles, to give you the sense of ‘remoteness’–Edward, Joseph and I visited the village of Bugabo. There, adjacent to a grass-thatched classroom ‘temporarily’ set up some five years ago were scores of parents and children who had been waiting on our arrival most of the morning.

In typical fashion, the Commissioner of the sub county stood up and welcomed everyone. After the customary thank yous, he tipped his hat to the parents of the six nearby villages. Together, each village chipped in to raise 1.2 million Ugandan shillings–roughly $500–to finalize a donation of land with the Ministry of Lands and ensure the gift of three acres of land for the construction of a new Building Tomorrow Academy.

In a matter of weeks, Building Tomorrow, with funding raised through the support of student chapters at Davidson College and Virginia Tech will break ground at Bugabo and the sub county’s first permanent school. And as it should be, the community’s parents will be the leaders, heroes and champions of Building Tomorrow’s newest academy.

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