Last week, our very own Financial Optimist, Liz Braden, traveled to Uganda with BT for the first time to check on our academies and put her construction skills to the test. Prior to joining the BT team full-time, Liz was an active member and part of the leadership team of the BT chapter at the University of Virginia (UVa) for four years.
Sometimes, I’m an idiot. Sometimes, very easy concepts don’t seem to hit me until years later. Sometimes, I just don’t see it.
Last week, driving into the village of Gita, Uganda, I finally realized something. In working with the BT chapter at UVa, I partnered with a community in Uganda to build a school – a real, physical, standing, beautiful school.
I had known that we had raised the money and that the school had been built – I’m not that big of an idiot. But that day, watching the students learn, meeting the teachers, and seeing the hundreds of kids in their navy and orange uniforms, I finally saw the complete picture.
The BT Academy of Gita, a ten room school with seven teachers, a head teacher, and students in all seven grade levels, P1 – P7, is a real school – that functions and will continue to function for years and years to come.
Every day, students wake up and go to school there. Teachers teach there. Soon P7 students will take their leaving exams, hoping to become the first alumni of the Academy.
I’ve always thought of the efforts of myself and my fellow BT-ers at UVa as a project of the past, filed away in the back of my head as “my college years.” The reality is that the school is real and present. And because of the commitment of the Gita community, it has a continuous impact. They’ve taken on the responsibility to ensure the school benefits the community and that the students have the best opportunities possible.
It was so encouraging, in a weird way, to see the Academy existing outside of the BT chapter of UVa. Yes, its true that UVa funded the construction of the project, which was vital. But now, its simply a school, where students learn and dream and strive to one day be nurses, doctors, lawyers, and engineers. And while I’m excited to see the school continue to succeed, I’m also excited that I can sit in the background and watch; that the one piece the BT chapter at UVa provided happened four years ago but is still having an impact. An impact that will continue for years and years.
How awesome is that.
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