Sister Schools

Nearing the Finish Line at UMEA Primary School

We have begun one of the last major steps towards completing our partnership with UMEA Primary School, a Sister School of Kennedy-King Elementary School in Brooklyn, New York. This valuable partnership has thrived for over five years. Kennedy-King has helped UMEA to complete the steps necessary to reach a level of infrastructure that qualifies as a Brick by Brick Standard UPE school. This current project involves the renovation of a two classroom block with an office in the center. The renovation will cover the removal of the old iron sheets, plastering, flooring, installing the verandah, painting the walls, as well as shuttering the windows and doors.

As you can see in the pictureEducation.UMEA.Construction.8.9.14.JB, the roofing has kicked off our construction in order to prevent the upcoming rainy season from interfering with future construction. We plan to complete the full renovation in just under a month. The UMEA and Kennedy-King partnership has been incredibly productive and we couldn't be more excited to finally complete all construction plans to reach all appropriate standards of infrastructure.

New School Building Completed at UMEA Primary School

Brick by Brick Uganda has been partnering with the UMEA Primary School community since 2007. During these past six years we have built and stocked a library, renovated multiple classrooms, and addressed the water needs through the construction of rainwater harvesting systems. This month Brick by Brick Construction completed a new multi-purpose building. Now the students and teachers of UMEA Primary School will have a performance space, place to study, and space to meet and hold assemblies. In addition, this beautiful new building will provide much needed classrooms for the 420 students of UMEA. Our work has been made possible through the support of the students, parents and teachers of Kennedy-King Elementary School in Brooklyn, New York. Thanks to Kennedy-King and many matching fund donors we have made much progress at UMEA Primary School.Thank you to all who have made the dreams of UMEA's families a reality. Brick by Brick Program Coordinator Max Ssenyonga with UMEA Primary School Headteacher Ibrahim Ssenkasi

My Pad Project: Empowering Girls with Knowledge and Skills

Brick by Brick Uganda has launched a new project to help girls and young women learn about their own bodies, while creating their own re-usable menstrual pads. In Uganda, as is true in many parts of the world, women often lack access to simple yet expensive menstrual hygiene products. Every month, many female students are forced to miss days of school, with direct impact on their academic progress. In 2012 Brick by Brick Uganda funded a needs assessment to research this problem and inquire from the girls themselves, about a practical solution. Thus, the My Pads Project was born. With assistance from Peace Corp volunteer Aditi Desai, and led by Kalsizo's own midwife and Brick by Brick staff member, Nalango Susan Kyambadde, we are implementing this educational and practical course as an after school program in three primary and one secondary school. So far the program is a smashing success, with great attendance and participation at every session. Our long-term goal is to integrate this program into the work we do at all the schools participating in the Brick by Brick schools program. At each school, teachers are being trained to carry on this program, consistent with our mission of sustainable change. Congratulations Nalango and to all of our partners for making this program a success!Students at Matale Hill Primary School making their own re-useable menstrual padsStudents and teachers at the Uganda Muslim Education Association (UMEA) Primary School learning together

Construction Continues at UMEA Kalisizo Primary School

Brick by Brick Uganda has been partnering with the UMEA Kalisizo Primary School for the past five years. Over that time, we have built a rainwater harvesting system, providing clean drinking water for UMEA's students and staff, constructed a library, built an energy efficient kitchen and renovated multiple classrooms. Now nearing the completion of our work together, we are building a large multi-purpose building that will provide classrooms, a study hall,and a performance/assembly hall. From the beginning, with matching donors, the students, teachers and parents of the Kennedy-King Elementary School in Brooklyn, New York have helped to raise funds for this important work that has literally re-built UMEA. Projected completion date: November 30th! The work beginsand continues

Clean Water Overflowing at Lwamaya Primary School

As the poet Robert Burns wrote, "The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry." After building a beautiful rain water harvesting tank at Lwamaya Primary School in the Lwengo District of Uganda, we discovered that there was a flaw in the roof of the school building, so that water was not being funneled to our tank. With the support of engineers at Matrix New World Engineering and architect Clay Miller of Bergen Street Studio, here in the U.S., our staff in Uganda was able to come up with a creative and low cost solution. The tank is now overflowing with clean, safe water for the over 300 students and teachers to use. 2013 is off to a great start!!IMG_0931


Three School Libraries Completed

Most primary school children in Uganda never know the joy of opening a book. Recognizing this gap in education, Positive Planet started its Library Project, with the goal that each of our participating schools have a working lending library. In 2009, we shipped over 6,000 used books donated by public schools in Long Island. We then met with parents and teachers at each of our schools and developed a cooperative plan to make the dream of a school library, a reality. Last month, with the support of Brick by Brick, we completed three new libraries at Kirumba, UMEA and Matale Hill Primary Schools, including desks, chairs, shelving, and of course, books! This month, we will begin construction of the fourth library at Lwamaya Primary School.

Starting next year, local school administrators who have experience managing lending libraries, will assist their neighbors to ensure that their skills and knowledge are shared fully. For the first time, over 2,000 students will be able to do what we all take for granted, open a book and learn.

Books Sent to Sister Schools

It’s hard to imagine schools without books, but for the over 2,000 students served by Positive Planet programs this is the case. Now for the first time all of these children will know the joy that comes from opening a book and reading. Approximately 6,000 donated books recently arrived in Uganda where they will be distributed to the five schools participating in our program.  The books were part of a shipment that we participated in with two other East African non-profit organizations.  Positive Planet is working with our Ugandan teachers to establish libraries in each of our schools so that all of the students and teachers can enjoy this precious resource.

Positive Planet Leads Trip of U.S. Teachers and Students to Uganda


After a year of planning and preparation, Positive Planet sponsored its first trip, visiting our sister schools in rural Uganda. Representing three of our U.S. sister schools 25 teachers, students and parents embarked on an exciting three-week journey throughout the physically beautiful and culturally rich nation of Uganda. Beginning with a ten-day eco-tour of the entire country, our hearty band of travelers withstood 12 hour drives over mountainous dirt roads to see Uganda’s breathtaking landscape while learning about the everyday lives of the people of Uganda. Visiting Uganda’s national parks we trekked the endangered mountain gorilla (over half the world’s population of 700 live in Uganda) and observed the rich diversity of African wildlife.

After completing a circuit of over 1000km we returned to the district capital of Masaka where we began the work, which was the focal point of our trip. In partnership with Ugandan educators from our sister schools, a three-day Teacher Skills Workshop was held attended by 26 Ugandan and 10 American teachers. Exchanging ideas and experiences, all of the participants discovered that there was much to learn from each other and left with a renewed dedication to deepen and expand our partnership to improve the quality of education for all of our children.

Teachers, students and their parents visited each of our sister schools where we shared our games, songs and dances with one another. As we ended our trip all who participated expressed that the trip was life changing. Life changing in that each of us was moved by the desperate conditions endured by our sister schools as well as the inspiration we received of our Ugandan friends to continue to build bridges between our sister school communities to impact the lives of all of our children.