Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU’s first-ever sister school gains support

One of DU’s newest student organizations is up and walking on its own two feet in its journey to educate children in Africa.

Building Tomorrow (BT) is a nonprofit organization that gives college students resources to raise money to build schools in sub-Saharan Africa. 

DU’s chapter is armed with a goal to raise $35,000 over the next two years — 75 percent of the amount needed to build DU’s first-ever sister school, which will operate in Uganda. The local community there will raise the remaining 25 percent.

“I want to emphasize that our chapter is working to build a school both for vulnerable children in Africa as well as DU students,” says Laura Mann (BA ’07), who helped start DU’s BT chapter. “The school will forever be an extension of DU and for years to come our campus and students will be making a global impact.”

After the school is completed (by 2010), Mann says the chapter hopes to incorporate international service learning and study-abroad programs to create “a strong bond” between Ugandan children and DU students.

Mann says the chapter doubled its membership to 20 during the fall quarter.

“Overall, the effort is on target,” she says. 

George Srour, BT founder and executive director, says the DU chapter has done a great job galvanizing the campus behind its mission. 

“I’ve been especially encouraged by the chapter’s willingness to take on fairly large events in just their first semester, something that speaks to the heart and commitment that members of this team have for the vision of the organization,” Srour says.

BT held an event to raise funds and awareness in October called 46/46, where 46 students, professors, administrators and staff wore shirts marked with a large X for a day. Each person represented 1 million of the 46 million children in sub-Saharan Africa without access to an education.  

BT has chapters at 10 colleges, and plans are under way for DU students to join some of those other schools in visiting Uganda before the end of next year. Students will stay with local families, help with construction of the school, play with the kids, go on a safari and get a sense of the local community. 

Those interested in learning more can e-mail Mann, visit the DU chapter blog-space or the BT site.

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