WHO WE ARE
Cornerstone Development was established in Uganda in 1988 to help in the rebuilding and development of the nation as it was emerging from a very turbulent past. In recent years we have also begun work in Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, Southern Sudan and Kenya. Three young American friends: Michael Timmis, John Riordan and Tim Kreutter worked together for seven years during the start-up phase.
Our first project was the construction of Rushere Hospital in Western Uganda. Following that - all our programs began to be directed toward helping under-privileged children - with a special focus on youth leadership development. Since its inception the work has steadily expanded to include over 2,000 young people today- in a variety of programs including schools, homes for homeless kids, sports programs - all designed for providing love, education and character formation.
Our various programs are now managed by Africans while Tim Kreutter (who grew up in Africa - and has lived here 35+ years) continues to serve as the overall director. The total number of staff members is around 150.
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 ARE
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, South Sudan, Burundi, and Kenya.