2015: A Year of Service & Education

What an incredible year for the buildOn Movement! In 2015, buildOn made a tremendous impact in the U.S. and developing world, taking significant steps toward breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. We’re celebrating the impact we made by looking back at some of our favorite moments of the year.

In the United States

buildOn’s U.S. Service Learning Programs empowered more than 18,000 U.S. students to give more than 209,000 hours of service helping the most vulnerable people in their communities. In the Bay Area, Boston, Bridgeport, Chicago, Detroit and New York City, young people gave selflessly to transform their communities by…

Caring for the homeless and feeding the hungry…

Tutoring and mentoring younger children…
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Compassionately serving their neighbors with disabilities…
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Offering companionship to senior citizens…
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Cleaning up their cities and helping the environment…

Advocating for important community issues…

Ending the violence in their schools and communities.

To date, buildOn students have given 1,622,481 hours of service to their communities!

Service not only helped these students’ communities thrive – it also helped these students succeed in their own lives. In 2015, 93% of buildOn students graduated and went on to college from some of the most underserved high schools in the country.


In the Developing World

In 2015, buildOn broke ground on 180 schools in communities in seven of the world’s economically poorest countries – a 50 percent increase from 2014. Throughout the year, more than 110,000 children, parents and grandparents were educated in 864 buildOn schools.


buildOn broke ground on 180 schools in 2015, including our 85th school in Haiti.

Much of our school construction success was made possible through the service of selfless volunteers. In villages with staggeringly high poverty and illiteracy rates, local villagers contributed more than 250,000 volunteer work days building schools that are transforming their communities. Additionally, nearly half of buildOn’s 2015 schools were built in partnership with close to a thousand dedicated volunteers who raised funds and traveled from America and Europe to build school with us. This group included hundreds of students from buildOn’s U.S. Service Learning Programs, buildOn Chapter members, corporate partners and teams of compassionate individuals.


Raphael from the Bronx was one of hundreds of U.S. students who traveled with us to build schools in 2015.

buildOn’s international impact in 2015 went beyond building schools. In countries like Malawi, Mali and Nepal, buildOn launched Accelerated Learning Programs to get out of schools children caught up and back in class. This new Out of School Child Program served 213 villages with 3,898 children who had not been attending school. In 2015, buildOn’s Adult Literacy Classes enrolled 2,739 new adult students, 78% of whom are women. These classes have given thousands of parents and grandparents the tools they need to build a better life for themselves and their children. Additionally, buildOn and the SolarCity Give Power Foundation completed 106 large scale solar power installations that are bringing invaluable light and electricity to buildOn classrooms. To date, SolarCity has provided nearly $250,000 in in-kind contributions to these solar power projects.


A Nepali woman learns in an Adult Literacy Class illuminated by solar-powered light from SolarCity. Photo Jesse Dittmar

2015 was also a year of expansion for our school construction programs. buildOn expanded into new regions of Burkina Faso, Nicaragua and Senegal. Our first secondary school opened in Mali, and a new comprehensive community development project in Haiti included two school blocks, toilets and water pump, and Adult Literacy and Accelerated Learning Programs.

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buildOn expanded to new regions in 2015, meaning more children like these kids in Nicaragua will have access to quality education.

International development is always challenging, but 2015 proved to be an especially tumultuous year. In Nepal, a devastating earthquake followed by political instability presented unique challenges. Continuing conflict in Mali threatened the country’s stability, while a military coup thrust Burkina Faso into turmoil. Throughout these events, buildOn continued to construct schools and administer education programs because we believe education is the key to defeating widespread poverty that often causes or intensifies conflicts and disasters in the developing world.


We continued to build through conflicts and natural disasters because students like these kids in Nepal deserve to learn.


Building a Foundation for the Future

In 2015, buildOn supporters from all walks of life rallied together to ensure that our mission will continue.


The scene from the buildOn Gala at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City

None of this would have been possible without the compassion and support of members of the buildOn Movement like you. We can’t wait to share the impact we’re making together in 2016. It’s going to be another impactful year!

Photos: Guest of a Guest, Jesse Dittmar, Srijan Tamraaz and Lucas Turner

Posted January 11, 2016 in News by buildOn

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What an incredible year for the buildOn Movement! In 2015, buildOn made a tremendous impact in the U.S. and... https://www.buildon.org/2016/01/2015-a-year-of-service-education/

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