Let’s Build A School

Lena Baunsgard, Director of Planet Changer

Nakalado needs a new school.

In this classroom 50 children sit on the dirt floor of an old pig pen to attend classes. There are hundreds of children in this community who attend this school. We at Planet Changer have been a presence in this community for over 10 years, as they were selected as one of the first to receive one of our cistern wells (pictured below still running clean, image taken Feb 22, 2024). We have brought several groups of visitors and they have been extremely hospitable. When the head teacher presented to us their students and their joyful welcome, he also shared their plea, they are long overdue a new school building and latrines for students. This message was echoed by many.

When we entered the newest of their classrooms (presented in image above where I am speaking), I knew it had not changed in the past 4 years since my last visit. I also could see on the teachers faces a fear that my words would be empty. We even visited their dying elder of the community, a man I remembered as having been in better health 4 years ago, and he made the same request, “Build us a school and latrines!”

My friends, the time is now. There is no reason why this community where there are hundreds of healthy children trying to learn, a place where they have had clean water for over a decade, there is no reason why they shouldn’t have a nice school. It doesn’t have to be outrageous or fantastical. It needs to be clean and functional. They need to not sit on dirt floors. They only ask for meager wooden desks, simply and locally made. They deserve chalkboards that are not broken. They deserve lesson books for students (which literally cost $5 a piece). They are asking to demolish the old pig pen their kids are learning in and put up a solid and “modern” structure that can provide protection from rain and empower learning.

Wouldn’t you want this for your children?

Let’s come together and inspire hope for this beautiful community. The teachers work hard. The students desire learning. The families want hope for a better tomorrow. We will soon have the figures available to plan funding, but we are tentatively asking to raise $40k. Together we can get this project started and we can show this community that they are not forgotten.

Giving Tuesday – Make Twice the Impact

Planet Changer has an incredible opportunity with a matching grant to help make twice the impact! All donations through November 29, 2017 will be matched, up to $5,000 for a grand total of $10,000!

When you partner with us financially, you are helping to combat poverty and inspire hope. You are supporting family preservation as well as orphan prevention and trafficking prevention. You are helping the communities we work with directly to make lasting change, allowing them to thrive.  You are helping to save lives.

We need your help to ensure we receive these critical funds. Every donation received will be matched dollar for dollar, so every donation (no matter what size) truly does make a difference.

Thank you for your support and partnership! We could not do this without you.

These are some of the faces that directly benefit from your generosity. Join us to change their reality. Decrease mortality rates while increasing health, education, and opportunity. Thank you!


giving tuesday donation

Inspiring Hope in Cambodia


cambodiaPlanet Changer is very excited to announce a new partnership with a grassroots movement to inspire hope in villages near Siem Reap, Cambodia!

While our work will continue in Uganda, it has always been Planet Changer’s goal to grow, and inspire hope, when carefully evaluated opportunities that fit our model arise. Cambodia was on the initial prospective list of countries mentioned in Planet Changer’s very first Vision Meeting, nearly seven years ago and before incorporation.

With this new partnership, Planet Changer will help empower villagers to improve their lives and support them in creating lasting change. By partnering in this way, we will be actively engaging in the prevention of human trafficking, promoting family preservation by keeping families together, increasing literacy and education, and eventually offering trade education and business opportunities for villagers.

“In January 2017, two friends (one Khmer, one American) sat down in Siem Reap, Cambodia to share dreams with each other. As it turned out, they had the exact same one: they wanted to build libraries for kids in villages. With the Khmer friend’s knowledge, research, and hard work, and the American friend’s connection to people in the States who wanted to help financially, the first Bamboo Library was opened in June 2017. Libraries #2, #3, and #4 quickly followed in the next few months.

The villagers – kids and adults alike – are thrilled with these beautiful new additions to their villages. Kids are reading and learning and growing, and the libraries have quickly become the most popular place in the village to hang out with friends and learn. We have big dreams for what is next – English classes, vegetable gardens, fish ponds, bamboo farms. And you can be part of it!” – The Cambodia Team

Library 4
The American Friend, and Khmer friend, standing with the Village Chief (in green) where Library 4 is located.

We are honored to partner with the team in Cambodia as they continue to invest in the villages to inspire hope and empower the people to thrive.

Learn more about the Bamboo Libraries, and how you can get involved or how to follow along, here.

Thank you for your continued enthusiasm and support! We appreciate you!

Friends and Clean Water

These are my new friends. In order of their pictures – William, Patience, Jean Luke, Alex in his purple school uniform, Makaledo carrying a large bag of flour on her head, Solomon, Andrew, Oli giving me a “bonga” (fist bump), and finally, Mike and Elisha who desperately wanted to know what my strange skin felt like. These children, and the hundreds of others I have met in the rural farming communities of Uganda, have stolen a large piece of my heart.

As the delegated photographer on this trip, I’ve had the privilege to document the state of natural springs and then turn the camera to these sweet faces who were intensely intrigued in the “Musungu’s” who have wandered into their backyard. Though they are growing up in a whole different world than I did, their infectious joy, endless giggles, whispers to friends, and goofy faces are something that we have in common. Each of these pictures is the result of me saying, “Do a silly face!”

It is easy to forget the reason that we are here while my attention is on them… These kids, and thousands of others, have no other option but to use the unprotected water springs (in the second to last picture) to drink, cook with, and bathe in. Water constantly pours out from the earth but has no other option than to pool up in the dirt where bacteria and parasites breed and dangerous animals come to drink.

Seeing this reality firsthand has made all other things in my life seem strangely dim.

Planet Changer is inspiring hope in these communities by aiding and empowering them to make changes that have a tangible and life-altering impact in the lives of their families. (Protected water spring in last picture) Be part of the movement… Like and follow Planet Changer on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more updates, or check out our website –planetchanger.org. #waterislife #planetchanger

-Baly Botten


I Am Not For Sale Concert

Planet Changer is partnering with Not For Sale to bring you the I Am Not For Sale Tour: Working to end slavery.

Join us for an evening of live entertainment and activism through music and a multimedia presentation. This Concert is FREE to the public and an inspiring call to action for all who attend. Invite your friends!

Join us, rock out, and connect with NFS representatives who will explain how YOU can make an impact on the modern-day abolitionist movement.

Sunday, September 23 2012. 6:00pm, held at Snoqualmie Valley Alliance.

The Wrecking, a New England Rock Band, is headlining.
Ithaca, a local favorite, is opening.