A Conversation of Global Change

6 Apr

There’s a new student organization at Ball State University called Building Tomorrow.

According to the World Bank, in order to accomplish the Millennium Development goal of providing Universal Primary Education for children worldwide by 2015, humanity must undertake the largest building project the world has ever seen – constructing more than 10 million new classrooms throughout 100 countries.

Building Tomorrow (BT) has joined in that task by empowering young people in the US to invest their time, talents, and resources in supporting the construction of primary-level academies throughout sub-Saharan Africa; each providing learning space for 325 children.

Joseph Kaliisa, BT’s Country Director, works directly with communities in Uganda, ensuring a cost and responsibility sharing model for the construction of each BT academy.

Through Joseph’s commitment to human rights and the rights of the children of Uganda, BT has successfully leveraged the power of community engagement: BT broke ground on its 10th academy in Uganda last summer.

The Building Tomorrow team at Ball State personally invite you to see Joseph Kalisa, Building Tomorrow Uganda Country Director, speak in Indianapolis on April 11, 2011 at 6 pm in The Anthenaeum Foundation. Following the event we will all grab a bite at Yatz! Don’t worry about travel, rides will be provided.

Email us at and let us know if we can count on seeing you at the event!

Let’s start building tomorrow together,

Kenzie, Katelin & Kelly


director’s take: Uganda’s presidential election

23 Feb

As elections have consumed Uganda over the last few weeks, many supporters and colleagues have inquired as to my thoughts about the elections and who I may/may not be supporting. Followers of Building Tomorrow know that we work hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Education and the Vice President of Uganda’s office to successfully pull off our model which heavily involves both local communities and government authorities in the form of paying for the cost of some materials and teacher salaries.

The incumbent President, Yoweri Museveni (or M7 as the Ugandan press refer to him), won the election with just over 68% of the vote according to the Ugandan Electoral Commission. Kizza Besigye, M7’s former personal physician and three-time opponent in presidential elections didn’t fare well, finishing with 26%. Many advocates for change, perhaps too optimistically, were hoping that M7 and Besigye (the most prominent challenger) would each register under 50% of the vote, forcing the two into a run-off.

I’m a believer that no matter who is in power, the government, through the Ministry of Education, is a key stake-holder that must be involved in the work of Building Tomorrow. Many Ugandans have seemingly grown anxious as neighboring countries such as Rwanda have made significant strides in attracting outside investment and strengthening their infrastructure.

Unfortunately, the free and fair election bug hasn’t quite reached East Africa. Kenya’s most recent presidential elections were mired with massive amounts of violence, last year Paul Kagame claimed another seven-year term in Rwanda with 93% of the vote and M7’s recent numbers clear the way for him to be the longest ruling leader in Africa through 2016. I’ll be among the many applauding free and fair elections when they arrive, but in the mean time, BT and so many others must continue to find ways to work with those in power to advocate for positive social change.


(via George Srour, founder of BT)

What can you do with one dollar?

20 Feb

onebrickIn 90 seconds, we can make one brick in Uganda.

In time, we’ll make 24,000 bricks.
And 24,000 bricks builds a school;
that empowers a community;
who raises a generation;
that can change the world.

And it all starts with $1, one brick, and you.

If you’ve ever wanted to get involved with Building Tomorrow, here’s your chance. Join Building Tomorrow’s OneBrick campaign and 100 percent of the money you raise will go towards the construction of a new school in Uganda.

Sell bricks in your classroom, at a football game, in the dining hall, in your local coffee shop, in your school’s bookstore, in the library, to all of your classmates, outside of school, door to door, … you name it. One dollar buys one brick and supports the construction of a new school for 325 students in Uganda….100 percent.

There are still millions of children throughout sub-Saharan Africa with a desire to learn and no place to do so.
We are Building Tomorrow to change that. Want to help?

Introducing the Academy of Jomba!

20 Feb



After cutting the ceremonial ribbon to officially declare the new Building Tomorrow (BT) Academy of Jomba open, Vice President of Uganda Gilbert Bukenya strapped on his dancing shoes and joined the singing and dancing led by a chorus of future students to celebrate the completion of the area’s first permanently-built school structure.

The BT Academy of Jomba will first welcome students on Monday, February 21 with the capacity to eventually house 325 kids in grades Primary One through Primary Seven (US equivalent of 1st-7th grade). The Academy, a 10-room structure constructed with the support of the City of Indianapolis and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls becomes the first permanently-built school structure in an immediate area serving students from the villages of Jomba, Kibone, Kitinda, and Kawooya. Jomba-outside

“What has been done here is a very wonderful thing,” Bukenya said. “And today I pledge to pay for the construction of teacher’s quarters at this very place, with funds of my own.”

The Vice President’s commitment, similar to one he made to construct teacher’s quarters at the recently-opened BT Academy of Sentigi, was met with great excitement by community parents and guardians who have made good on their own pledge to provide 20,000 of unskilled labor to construct the Academy.

“The first time I came here, we sat under that tree and had a meeting,” BT Uganda Country Director Joseph Kalisa said. “And today we see the excitement of this place and these people for the opening of this very, very strong academy.”Jomba-thanks

Students at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls have raised over $15,000 to support the construction of the Academy through a host of events ranging from “The Big Event,” a homecoming concert headlined by award winning singer Shawn Mullins to BT’s signature on-campus philanthropy, Bike to Uganda.

BT Academies are constructed out of all local supplies, including over 50,000 hand crafted bricks, local timber and other aggregate materials. BT partners with the local ministry of education to fund the ongoing costs related to teacher salaries and provides continuing teacher training for BT Academy staff.


(via Buildingtomorrow.org)

Our Top Ten List

16 Feb

Here are the top ten reasons why you should join the Ball State chapter and help us rebuild schools in sub-Saharan Africa!

ten things to know about BT.

  1. Building Tomorrow currently works in Uganda where over half the population is under the age of 15.
  2. Each BT academy consists of  10 rooms: seven classrooms, headmaster’s office, reception area, library, toilets & a soccer field.
  3. Nationwide BT chapters and supporters provide challenge grants to communities in need equal to land and construction materials for a new academy.  Community members and family & friends of future BT students volunteer over 20,000 hours of labor to complete construction.
  4. BT academies are build in areas that do not currently have a formal school in operation, giving many children their first opportunity to learn inside of a classroom!
  5. The Ugandan Ministry of Education covers teachers’ salaries and operating costs.
  6. BT works with 25+ colleges and universities, has a partnership with Key Club International (the world’s largest high school service organization), a network of young professionals through the BT Social Investment Council and a growing network of elementary, middle and high schools taking part in Sit for Good (BT’s K-12 service learning campaign).
  7. 100% of the money raised by BT chapters goes directly towards program costs in Uganda.  BT’s administrative costs are covered by private donations and grants.
  8. BT was named one of the top 20 up-and-coming social change organizations in the world in 2007 by Echoing Green.
  9. BT has built classroom space for over 1,750 students in Uganda.
  10. BT is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Sounds great, right? We thought so too. Contact us and find out how you can become a part of the work that Ball State is doing. Start. Building. Tomorrow.


Get to know us

2 Feb

our mission.

Building Tomorrow at Ball State University (BT@BSU) is an international social-profit organization encouraging philanthropy among young people by raising awareness and funds to build and support educational infrastructure projects for under-served children in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, we are focusing our efforts on the villages in Uganda.

our model.

BT chapters and supporters provide challenge grants to communities equal to land and construction materials for a new academy while local community members and family and friends of future BT students volunteer 20,000 hours of their time to construct each academy.

BT currently works in Uganda, identifying areas with, quite simply, the greatest number of children with the least access to a primary school. In these areas, BT purchases a plot of land and, with the help of the local community, constructs a new primary academy.  Committees of residents and local leaders are established to oversee the construction process from start to finish.  Upon completion of the academy, the building is leased to the local government to manage day-to-day operations under an agreement with BT.

Each BT academy is equipped with seven classrooms (P1 through P7—or the US equivalent of kindergarten through 6th grade), an office, a library, meeting space, toilets and a soccer field and has classroom space for 325 students.

our network.

BT works with students at over 30 colleges and universities throughout the US and Canada, has a partnership with Key Club International, the world’s largest high school service organization, and has a growing network of young professionals through BT’s Social Investment Council.

BT also recently began to work with students of all ages through Sit for Good–an all-inclusive service learning program targeting elementary, middle and high school students. BT’s goal is to have 1,000 classrooms around the world Sit for Good this year.

our success.

Today, BT has opened five primary academies in Uganda and has classroom space for over 1,750 students.


Interested in what you’ve read? Email kmgrob@gmail.com to join the Ball State chapter!

bricks > coffee

3 Dec

This video is of community volunteers making stabilized soil bricks for Building Tomorrow Academy of Kyeitabya.

This holiday season, I would love if you would consider donating $25 to Building Tomorrow. That $25 purchases 225 bricks for a school! That 225 bricks brings us one step closer with providing students with an education.

For me , I’m replacing my coffee budget with bricks. I find it very easy to just walk down the steps in the library and pull out the $3 for a cup of coffee to keep me awake for the evening. Instead, I could just make the coffee at home and save those extra dollars. My goal for the rest of the semester is to do just that and save that money to donate to Building Tomorrow. When I think about it, a child’s education is far greater than my desire for coffee.

Join our holiday campaign for Building Tomorrow.

– Katelin