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Frequently Asked Questions

How did Building Tomorrow get started?
Founded in 2005 through the generous support of the William E. Simon Fellowship for Noble Purpose, BT is a continuation of Christmas in Kampala (CIK), a 2004 fund-raising campaign at the College of William & Mary that raised nearly $45,000 for the construction of a new school in Kampala. Meeting Point Kampala, the beneficiary of CIK, opened in April 2006 and currently serves 350 kids.  Visit our history page to learn more. »Why Uganda?
The simplest answer is because that’s where we got started.  Beyond that, Uganda is a country in a unique position: it is the youngest country in the world.  More than half of Uganda’s population is under the age of 15, making the demand for classroom space at a premium.  Furthermore, over nearly ten years of working in Uganda, we’ve developed a model that is uniquely in tune with policies & programs specific to the country; from their commitment to Universal Primary Education to our shared-funding model. And in late 2014, we launched a project to construct a total of 80 schools and provide direct capacity building support to at least 450 additional schools by 2019. Visit our about page to learn more.What is Educate51k?
Educate 51k is Buildling Tomorrow’s five year, $12 million plan to provide a safe, local, permanent, quality and supportive learning environment for 50,980 out-of-school children in rural communities across UgandaHow are BT schools sustained after they are built?
Building Tomorrow’s schools are community supported and government-aided. Once a school is open, under the Universal Primary Education Initiative and through a Memorandum of Understanding with Building Tomorrow, the Ugandan government pays for the salaries of teachers and administrators at our schools. By working within Uganda’s education system in this way, Building Tomorrow schools are not reliant on funding from us as an organization to sustain their operations. Parents and families of our students also contribute financially – at a level subject to their own discretion – to support the hiring of a nursery teacher and provide supplemental resources and daily meals. To learn more about how our schools operate post-construction, read “Building Tomorrow – from access to learning“.We have problems in the US. Why work abroad rather than in our own backyards?
We get this question a lot and, after much discussion, we think the best way to answer it is for you to do a little research of your own…  We challenge you to try and find someone working with us (or working with any international development organization for that matter) who hasn’t also, at some time or another, volunteered in their own community.  Why can’t we do both?  AND – As our Honorary Chairperson Desmond Tutu says, “We are all members of one family…the human family.”  Why does it matter where we live? Plus – research shows that investing in global education is in your best interests, too. »What makes BT different?
Two things.  1.  We don’t give hand-outs.  We partner with communities in Uganda and make an investment in them.  Ultimately, we provide them with the tools they need to help themselves and then we take a backseat…  2. We aren’t trying to guilt-trip you into action.  Rather, our goal is to empower you and help you realize how big of an impact you can and do have on the world and how you can make a tangible difference simply by using the resources and tools already available to you.Who constructs each school? Can I help?
Aside from the 4 or 5 skilled masons that we typically have at each build-site, it is the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings and friends of future BT students, along with local community members and local leaders who volunteer approximately 15,000 hours of their time to construct each school.Can I visit a BT school?
While we’d love to have the means to facilitate every site visit request, given our limited staff and time/scheduling constraints, there are instances when we, or more specifically, our team in Uganda, will be unable to handle a site visit.

If you are headed to or already in Uganda and wish to visit with our staff and/or visit one of our sites, please contact us with the following information:

– Purpose of your visit
– Dates of your visit to Uganda and, specifically, when you will be in Kampala
– Are you able to furnish transportation in-country?

All requests must be sent to and will be jointly coordinated with our US office.
How does BT work with the government in Uganda?
Under the Universal Primary Education Initiative (UPE) and through a Memorandum of Understanding with Building Tomorrow, the Ugandan government provides funding for teachers’ salaries and classroom furniture/resources.Does BT have staff in Uganda?
Yes!  Building Tomorrow has a growing, full-time staffin Uganda.  Check out our ‘Meet the Staff‘ page for more information »What are community members’ impressions of BT? Are they supportive?
Simply stated, BT only works in communities that invite us in and become an active partner: by donating land, volunteering unskilled labor, and making financial commitments to support construction and the school’s ongoing success. What does a BT school look like?
It varies. The first BT school (Meeting Point Kampala) is a three story structure that was built in partnership with a number of other organizations.  BT essentially paid for the first level of classrooms.  BT’s second, third and fourth schools were constructed according to this blueprint.  BT’s fifth school (The BT Primary School of Gita) was designed by architecture and engineering students at the University of Virginia (the school was also funded by students at U.Va.).  The BT Primary School of Kyeitabya was designed by architecture students at the University of Notre Dame (ND students funded the school’s construction as well). And, in 2009, BT partnered with Architecture for Humanity for the 2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom – an international design competition – and the design for our NA Barakat Primary School of Nakaseeta is thanks to the folks at Gifford LLP in London, UK.

That being said, while changes in location and topography dictate a need for modifications in the design and/or layout of each of our schools, we realize that having a new design for each is not a reasonable solution. We’re a young organization and we’re constantly learning and, with the help of a number of advisors, piecing together the “best” pieces of all of our designs to come up with, hopefully, the best overall design for our future schools.
Are BT schools only for kids orphaned by the AIDS epidemic?
No. Children with AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa are regularly ridiculed and stigmatized, so Building Tomorrow encourages all children in need of an education to attend our schools in order to prevent any further alienation. Not all of our students are orphans either. If a child is in need, it makes no difference if they have parents or not.Are donations tax deductible?
Absolutely! Building Tomorrow is a 501(c)(3), and with every donation we send you a letter of acknowledgment, which can be used for tax purposes.Where are BT’s headquarters?
Our headquarters are in downtown Indianapolis – check out directions to our offices if you are planning a visit. »Can I start a BT chapter?
Absolutely! Check out our current chapters to see if there is already a BT chapter near you.  If not, we’d encourage you to apply for our BT Ambassadors program to start a chapter at your school!  Questions? Email kate@buildingtomorrow.orgHow much does my chapter have to raise to build a school?
With support from our partners, for just $30,000, you can facilitate the construction of a ten-room primary school for 315 kids (complete with seven classrooms, an office, a library, toilets, & a soccer field).  On that note though, we think one of the most exciting things about BT for students is that starting a chapter, fundraising and breaking ground on a new primary school supported by your school, all before you graduate, is ENTIRELY possible!  We’re here to help.How is the money raised and what does it pay for?
BT has a wide variety of fundraising campaigns, “packaged” and ready-to-go!  Whether you want to lead your campus in a week-long bike ride to Uganda, sell paper bricks in your student center or challenge people to see how far they’re willing to walk for an education…we’ve got you covered!  Our staff has put together a WIDE variety of resources to make your job easier: fundraising guides, how-tos, flyers, posters, template letters, check-lists, t-shirt designs, hand-outs, and more! AND – As mentioned above, the money pays for the land, construction materials and a few skilled laborers.What percent of the money I raise will go towards a BT school?
100 percent. We mean it.  We work hard to ensure that 100 percent of the funds raised by our student chapters goes directly towards program costs in Uganda.I’m not a student. Can I still be involved in Building Tomorrow?
Absolutely!  Whether you want to fundraise, make a donation, volunteer, or start a chapter, we’ve got something for everyone! »I want to collect classroom resources & materials to send to BT schools. How should I do this?
In all honesty, we’d prefer that you didn’t. Reason being: for us, the cost of collecting and transporting materials (books, pens, pencils, paper, toys, etc.) to Uganda far exceeds the cost of simply purchasing all of these materials IN Uganda. Plus, we’re big on being “local” and that means investing in our partner communities by purchasing things locally, too.