Archive | November, 2010

Building Tomorrow…for the holidays!

29 Nov

I have decided on behalf of the Ball State chapter that I would do something a little different for Christmas. Usually, I send my family a list of things I need or want. This year, I’ve decided to send them my “holiday wish list.” The purpose behind this idea is to ask my family and friends to “purchase” items to help Ball State raise money toward rebuilding a school instead of purchasing me tangible gifts. The goal is to raise $500 this holiday season, but l hope to surpass that small amount.

Someone asked why I would do such a thing, why I would “ruin” Christmas for my friends and family who wanted to give me presents. The answer is simple. I can go without gifts. I have more than the essentials needed to live and these children don’t. I have the capability and resources to attend a good university, these children are lucky if they receive an education beyond the 3rd or 4th grade. So, why not use this holiday season to remind myself and others about the issues that surround these children every day. It may be out of sight but it shouldn’t be out of mind.

So I ask you to put yourself in the shoes of Esther, George and Ventril.  Without the help of Building Tomorrow and its supporters the academies in Gita, Kiyamba and Lutisi would not have been built. Esther, George and Ventril’s lives have been changed because of Building Tomorrow and I am asking you to join our mission and help change the lives of many more children in Africa.

Happy Holidays!


How are we Building Tomorrow?

15 Nov

This video was posted on the Building Tomorrow headquarters’s blog. I found it interesting and I hope you do too! Joseph Kaliisa, BT’s Country Director in Uganda describes many of the ways he and his staff are Building Tomorrow for the under-served children and communities throughout rural Uganda.

What can we (the Ball State community) do to make a difference?



11 Nov

For the past four years my Dad has had my family watch a Heartland Film Festival film on Christmas day. I normally dread the idea of all of us sitting around watching some film with subtitles, knowing it will talk about something far more significant than the gifts I had received just hours before.

Most times, I have just grabbed a warm blanket and would “accidently” fall asleep during the film. This time was different, the film, WAR//DANCE was brought to life in front of me, and my normal routine of naptime was cut off.

For the past 20 years, Northern Uganda has been at war with the rebel forces, the Lord’s Resistance Army. The greatest victims in this war have been the children. These children were not only victims of the rebels, they were also the rebels. The rebels abducted the children from their families at night. They were as young as five-years-old. The children were forced at gunpoint to beat their family and neighbors. The boys became soldiers and the girls were forced into sexual slavery.

Among all the violence and the children’s sorrow, voices are heard—children singing, without fear. These children dance about their culture, family and future. They dance to be children and they dance to win.

WAR//DANCE follows the students of Patongo as they participate in Uganda’s biggest event of the year, the National Music Competition where 20,000 schools compete.

Patongo is a school in a refuge camp. The war in Uganda has stolen the children’s parents from them, their homes and a normal childhood. These children have no running water, electricity and a safe place. There are bullet holes in their school walls; two years earlier the L.R.A took 29 of the students from the school to join their rebel forces.

Each child has a story to tell. Stories that will be hard for you to hear them tell.

But, through their school in the refugee camp and the music competition, the children have something to look forward to. They have a change to leave the camp and see life outside of their war torn region.We see the children practice and pour their heart and talent into the music competition in the film. We see their desire to rebuild their lives. The children carried themselves in a light knowing and remember what happened to them. They knew through their school and the music competition that there was a hope and a future outside of war.

We are building schools because of this hope. I am Building Tomorrow because of the lasting impact these schools have for these children providing them a voice and a future, learning and living without fear.

Join us on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 9p.m as we watch this powerful movie together!! Once we know the location, we’ll let you know!



Made in Uganda: BT Shirts

10 Nov

Happy Wednesday everyone!

After ordering my own BT shirt, I wanted to let everyone else know how to get their own…

There are t-shirts (100% organic cotton and made in Uganda) for sale on the Building Tomorrow website. All proceeds go directly towards building academies. It’s a donation in itself, and you get something great to wear in return – a simple way to spread the message!

You may have spotted the BSUBT exec board wearing them around campus already. =)

Check out shirts and other BT-supporting merchandise here.


P.S. >> Happy birthday to our fabulous VP of Outreach, Meredith McCaskill!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

8 Nov

At the opening ceremony for the BT Academy of Sentigi, the entire community joined hands and formed a circle around all of the kids. The kids then shouted the one thing they want to be when they grow up (pilot, engineer, teacher…). The outer circle then shouted the one thing they were going to do to help the kids get there.
(photo credit: Eric Prugh)

When I think back to my childhood, I remember all the possibilities were endless. One day I was going to be a contractor, the next a ballerina. For these children the options are not endless and that does not sit well with me.

Please join team and help us start to make change and give these children all the possibilities in the world!



6 Nov

In my kindergarten classroom, there was this poster, framed and hanging up; it was titled “Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten.” I’m sure everyone’s heard of this and i think it’s really true. Everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarten. In the corner classroom at St. Vincent’s there were cardboard blocks we could build houses out of. I learned to share and to ask someone to be my friend and to ask someone for forgiveness, even when it was hard. I learned to love books and that when you add two pennies to the two pennies you already have, suddenly you have four pennies!! I learned that the drop from the monkey bars really isn’t that far and I learned that I can be anything I want to be and I learned to be curious and ask questions and discover. I felt the exhilarating thrill of a new discovery, something I could do, another word I could recognize and spell, 26 letters that I could recite in order–the alphabet!

I don’t know about you but my kindergarten teacher was the very best kind. She was soft in all the right places and had curly, gray hair in a nice old lady bun and she smelled good; her granddaughter was in my class and was my best friend, so it was almost like my own grandma was teaching me how to say my ABC’s and not throw things. Mrs. Gallagher–‘ll never forget her.

But imagine being five and waking up, not to put on your Mary Janes with the frustrating buckles and to put on your backpack with the sharpened pencils that smell so good but instead waking up and having no kindergarten to go to. No Mrs. Gallagher, who gives the best hugs, no classroom, where once you cross the threshold of the door, suddenly you’re on your way to being president, an astronaut, a doctor.

It’s not that Uganda doesn’t have thousands of kids who would love the chance to learn, or a thousand Mrs. Gallagher’s ready to teach, love, and inspire. They have the desire, the willpower, the dreams, the heart.

We have the power to give that dream a place to grow, give them a corner classroom, where they can start to be who they’re supposed to be.

They believe. Let’s build.


If we don’t tell you.

3 Nov

“It’s difficult for people to believe our story.
But if we don’t tell you, you won’t know.”

Check out this trailer for the amazing film War/Dance, which BTBSU will be hosting a viewing of soon!

Set in Northern Uganda, a country ravaged by more than two decades of civil war, WAR/DANCE tells the story of Dominic, Rose, and Nancy, three children whose families have been torn apart, their homes destroyed, and who currently reside in a displaced persons camp in Patongo. When they are invited to compete in an annual music and dance competition, their historic journey to their nation’s capital is also an opportunity to regain a part of their childhood and to taste victory for the first time in their lives.

Can’t wait to watch this film with you all and learn more about the children that we are believing in.

We’ll keep you posted on when and where the screening will be!