BuildOn is an organization that works to break the cycle of poverty in developing countries. Typically, we go to countries and villages where other NGOs don’t go, places that they’ve deemed pretty “hopeless” or “high risk” for aid. Currently, we are building schools in Senegal, Malawi, Haiti, Nepal, Nicaragua, and before the coup we were building schools in Mali, but currently it’s too dangerous to send people into the country. All of our schools are still standing and still being attended except for one off the coast of Haiti that was destroyed in a hurricane.

The members of buildOn typically believe that education is a fundamental human right. In the villages we go, students typically don’t attend school, walk miles to the nearest village with a school, or attend school under dangerous or ineffective buildings (school buildings made of sticks, or with scary foundations, for example). The schools that buildOn builds are made of concrete, bricks made by the villagers, and other materials to guarantee that the school will withstand the typical weather of the country and stand for 100 years. BuildOn typically builds a three-classroom school the first time around.

If the schools/countries fulfill their promises to buildOn (providing teachers and supplies, having an equal amount of girls as boys present in classrooms, etc), buildOn will return to build three additional classrooms.

We work with the country’s department of education in a way no other NGO does. To build a school, the country approaches buildOn. They sign an agreement to provide school supplies (or get another NGO to do it), and provide teachers and salaries for teachers. This prevents dependency. Many NGOs that build schools actually hurt the economy of the village by providing teachers and other things that the country then becomes “dependent” on. BuildOn prevents this.

Our L&C chapter is in its fourth year as a club and in the last three years we have built three schools, two in Haiti and one in Malawi. We do this through a process of grant writing, fundraising and outreach. This year we plan on involving ourselves in the community a lot more by volunteer and generally co-working with other clubs on campus. We aim to help people abroad and those within our own community. 

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