BuildOn club promotion at Cleveland Charter High School. (Photo courtesy of Macy Kwon)
Cleveland Charter High School

BuildOn Trek aims to build hope for the future of education worldwide

Under the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution, the equal protection clause requires any state with an established public school system to open all access to education for any child living within that state. Kids are required by law to be granted the opportunity of a basic education, a right that is not available across the entire world.

Education can be the key that changes the world. Yet, in 2015, a survey showed that global literacy was about 86 percent. In some of poorest nations, such as Niger, the literacy rate only reached about 36 percent of the population’s youth.

Even in America, a first world nation, there exists the problem of literacy and advancement in education, in cases of underprivileged families, due to a lack of access to books and school materials.

BuildOn is a nonprofit organization that attempts to use America’s youth to start a movement and create change in education in America and globally. Functioning in a “where there’s life there’s hope” mantra, buildOn not only runs after school programs, but functions on various fields.

After school programs are only part of their local impact. Such programs help with the problem of underprivileged neighborhoods and children in the U.S. Together, about 5,000 students have worked together to establish about 2.2 million service hours toward education.

Beyond this, the organization also works with major companies to team up with high school students to show the impact each group and club is doing in their urban locale.

Part of their movement is to spread awareness of illiteracy, and fundraise as well. They have established Trek trips across various continents, impacting countries such as Nepal, Haiti, Malawi, Nicaragua and Senegal.

Within a Trek trip, a team of students go to the nation over the summer and actually build a school in a village in that country, using the money they fundraised over the school year. After one week, the kids leave, and the villagers finish the project and send updates.

Such a trip helps provide the community with new schools and expands the capacity and opportunity to learn.

Trek not only gives students the opportunity to make a change in the world, but also to be immersed in a culture different from their own and walk in another’s shoes.

It was a life changing experience in more ways than one… The villagers had so little… They were beyond thankful for the gift of the primary school we had funded and were now helping to build,” said Vice President of Development, Community Engagement Erin Hartsough.

Approximately 200,000 adults and children attend the buildOn schools built each year. BuildOn strives to break illiteracy cycles and change the lives of people worldwide. Their motto is an accurate representation of what they try to achieve: build hope.