As most of you wonderful, regular, BWB blog readers know – I went to the University of Virginia and loved it. One of the things I loved most was the fact that student activists could use the beautiful Lawn that Thomas Jefferson designed to share our passion and ideas with fellow students.
One week each year dozens of students would spend hours each day riding sedentary exercise bikes on the green grass surrounded by red brick and white columned buildings. They rode these bikes enough miles to figuratively reach all the way to Uganda, where the pledge money raised was helping fund schools through a non-profit called Building Tomorrow.
Now, as the Community Manager at Better World Books, I have the honor of chatting with amazing people on Twitter – such as the Founder and Director of Building Tomorrow, George Srour. The following is a guest blog from George…
A couple times each week, I field a phone call from our Country Director in Uganda, Joseph Kaliisa. He updates the construction progress at a number of our sites and fills us in on what’s taking place at our Building Tomorrow academies. During our last call, he was beaming.
“The parents and the students have started a pay-it-forward fund. This must be a first here.”
The parents and students Joseph was talking about are those from the Building Tomorrow Academy of Lutisi—a nearly four-year-old school that sent its first batch of graduates to secondary school in 2011. Built and opened in 2008 through Building Tomorrow’s unique cost-sharing model between a US donor community, a handful of villages and the local ministry of education, Lutisi has quickly become a model school.
At a regular School Management Committee meeting last week, the families of the 15 students now attending St. John’s Secondary School in Namboole, just outside the capital of Kampala, decided it was time to give back. In a really, really big way.
Each family committed to an annual contribution of 60,000 Ugandan Shillings, about $26 to underwrite the costs of improving the quality of education at the Building Tomorrow Academy of Lutisi. Their donations will be used to provide resources for students preparing to sit for the national Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) and other scholastic materials for their younger counterparts. And that’s in addition to the materials the families have committed to purchasing for their students to attend secondary school.
Now that’s a real return on investment.
As our Honorary Chairman Archbishop Desmond Tutu says,“Education is the key that will unlock the door to eradicating poverty.” In Lutisi, the key is in the door. With the World Bank estimating more than 67 million primary school age children out of school in 2009, you and I have much work to do.
*Note* The above guest post is from the Founder of Building Tomorrow, George Srour. This content does not necessarily reflect the views of Better World Books (as our lawyers make sure we say). We love having guest bloggers and invite you to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in covering a book or topic on the BWB Blog. Thank you, George, we are thrilled to hear and share this success story – keep it up!
Have you experienced a pay-it-forward situation in your life? We’d love to hear about it!