Ten years ago this evening, two friends and I embarked on a mission to deliver a Christmas in Kampala. With a wad of travelers checks and a load of faith, we set out hoping that all of the arrangements we’d made to surprise a school of 400 kids would come to fruition. Eighteen months later, Meeting Point Kampala opened the doors to a beautiful new school and inspired the work of Building Tomorrow as you have come to know and support it today.
So it seems fitting—perfectly so, in fact—to share with you tonight our newest initiative, the Building Tomorrow Fellowship. Over the next two years, Building Tomorrow Fellows will work with four rural schools each, coming alongside headmasters and school management committees to improve the quality of leadership and instruction at a total of 40 schools throughout rural Uganda. Chosen from a pool of more than 100 deep, our in-country staff spent four days interviewing and getting to know a handful of shortlisted candidates to arrive at the inaugural class of 10 Building Tomorrow Fellows. Last week I had the chance to hang out with them and one thing was quite clear…
They’re awesome. Really, really awesome.
Some hail from rural villages, others the urban core. Some are art majors, others math. Some can’t hide their excitement, others are more reserved. All are fiercely committed, united by the belief that every child should have access to a quality education, no matter where they live.
For two hours, I sat listening to the crew talk at length about why the Fellowship was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up. Their passion is palpable.
“I faced hurdles getting an education myself,” Obed said. “I don’t want my children, nor anyone else’s to face the same.”
“Last week we went to Luwero, where some of us will work,” Leah said. “I had never been out of Kampala. I have read so much about rural Uganda but was seeing it for myself for the first time. Seeing what a headmaster does each day was eye-opening. A big thing is about to happen, and we are all about to be a part of it.”
“My friend told me the interviews were on Tuesday, and I said ‘no, they must be on Wednesday,’” Daisy explained. “Then I realized. There were many of us. So when I made it, when they picked me, and I see this group here, I get it. Character is more important than intelligence—but this group has both. Everyone of us at this table is special in some way. And that’s what’s up.”
Over the next five years, we’ll bring on board at least 150 Fellows to work with a total of 600 schools. It is our biggest, boldest expansion to date, one that we bet will totally change the way in which schools are run, leaders are viewed, students achieve and impact is made in some of the hardest to reach communities. Our inaugural class will commence their work in January.
Leah closed out our time with an observation I’ve continued to recall. Speaking of the Fellowship, she said, “commitment has a family, and we are now a part of it.”
Thank you for being a part of our family, allowing us to continue our commitment 10 years down the line in making tomorrow brighter for thousands.
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