buildOn’s goal is to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. By mobilizing rural communities that have never had adequate school structures to build new schools, the organization empowers entire villages in Burkina Faso, Haiti, Nepal, Nicaragua, Malawi, Mali, and Senegal to increase their own access to life-changing education and literacy. More than 1,400 buildOn schools have been built to date. Across the U.S., buildOn empowers youth to transform their neighborhoods from within through intensive community service. These students have contributed nearly 2.2 million hours of service in the U.S. and helped build many of the schools abroad.
With the ability to read, write and do basic math, individuals are able to improve health conditions, develop more efficient farming techniques, and gain a stronger voice in society. buildOn’s mission to empower people through service and education goes beyond their school-building and domestic programs. Through the buildOn Adult Literacy Program, taught in the evenings, parents and grandparents are given the education they need to build a better life for themselves and their children in the very same schools their children attend during the day.
Participants in the program spend three years with buildOn gaining knowledge in reading and math, health and nutrition, and agriculture and income generation. The classes are taught by literate community members who are themselves trained by buildOn. These facilitators know the communities intimately, and, after the first 6 to 12 months of teaching reading and writing through the lens of health, agriculture, and relevant life skills, go on to teach topics relevant to the participants’ daily lives. To date, 90% of all participants have completed the Adult Literacy Program and 70% of the participants have been women.
LuminAID has partnered with buildOn to send solar lanterns to these very Adult Literacy Programs across the globe, allowing classes in often under-electrified areas to go on even after the sun has set. buildOn works in underserved rural communities in Burkina Faso, Haiti, Nicaragua, Nepal, Senegal, Malawi, and Mali. These communities often lack access to electricity, and the schools buildOn builds are rarely electrified. The LuminAID lights sent to buildOn will allow adult literacy classes to be scheduled with more flexibility, so that the participants can finish important tasks at home while the sun is still up, and learn by the light of a LuminAID after dark.
With the light of a LuminAID lantern, a woman can learn the math skills she needs to make correct change and start a business; she can learn to read and write letters to keep in contact with her family members; and she can learn the skills she needs to become a voice for change in her community. When you purchase a Special Edition Give Light, Get Light Package, you’re helping us make this image a reality for more and more women around the world.
In this edition of Notes From the Field, we check out the Rainforest Trust, an international conservation organization dedicated to creating protected lands around the world.