WHO WE ARE:
Cornerstone Development is among the longest running youth leadership development initiatives in Africa. Established in 1988, we have had an outstanding track record over the years with schools ranking among the top in each respective country we work in, and graduates now inspiring, influencing, and impacting in nearly every sector of society. All our programs strategically engage under-privileged high-potential young people with a special focus on youth leadership development.
Since our inception, this work has steadily expanded to include thousands of young people each year in a variety of programs that include schools, leadership development trainings, sports programs, group homes, and youth centers, as well as various other mentoring initiatives – all designed for providing love, education, and character formation. Our Head Office is centrally located in our operational context (Kampala, Uganda), and our programs are all locally led by East Africans. With around 250 full-time staff, and a massive network of 1,000+ volunteers, Tim Kreutter (a Ugandan/American dual citizen, who has lived in this region his whole life) continues to serve as the overall director.
Because so many of our young people have come from broken homes or lacked strong family support – we have taken on an organizational culture that can best be described as a big “family of friends.” And, this means we see relationships as primary and tasks as secondary. In other words – what we do flows out of who we are.
WHAT WE DO:
Our core focus is on developing the cornerstones of Africa’s next generation. That is, to raise up future leaders with a shared vision of positively transforming their communities and nations – as an outgrowth of their own personal transformation. Our approach involves creating loving, family-like environments in our schools and other programs for under-privileged young people – while empowering them with education and character formation in order for them to become leaders.
Furthermore, the young people coming through our programs are forming a movement that seeks to make a contribution to the betterment of society while promoting reconciliation across all that is dividing humanity. We as a community are a living model of this kind of unity in diversity – in that we composed of all the different tribes, nationalities, political groupings, cultures and religious backgrounds found in this part of the world. Because, it is these divisions that are behind all the wars and conflicts that have torn Africa apart for years.
In our character development curriculum we teach the timeless, universal principles like forgiveness, honesty, integrity, compassion, kindness, hard work, humility, and service to the less fortunate – as exemplified in the teachings Jesus and the perennial wisdom of all traditions – without affiliation to any one institutional religious group.
Jesus said “when I am lifted up I will draw all men.” We want to see if that can really work across all that is dividing mankind. In the region where we work all the various Christian groups claim to follow him and even our Muslim brothers view him as a great prophet. So we lift up his message and ideas as the common ground – to create dialog, reconciliation and unity across the divides. And, above all he taught that the main thing was to “Love God and love your neighbor as your self.” So we’re just trying to keep the main thing – the main thing.
WHERE WE WORK:
Since we began in Uganda – this country continues to serve as the largest base of our operations. But in recent years we have progressively expanded to the neighboring East African countries with programs in Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, South Sudan, and eastern D.R. Congo.