Our Mission and Story

OUR MISSION is to empower children and youth in vulnerable situations by improving access to quality education, by strengthening families, and by facilitating a platform of support and dialogue among, and for, young people.

At BULA, we view education as a key tool for empowerment, one that is most effective when vulnerability is diminished. We also understand that a fundamental contributor to vulnerability is the widespread institutionalization of children and youth in orphanages and children’s homes. By breaking the cycle of institutionalization, by supporting the alternative care framework, and by providing support to young people transitioning out of care, we can reduce vulnerability and strengthen our educational support initiatives.

Empowerment with education and reduced vulnerability with alternative care are the guiding principles of BULA’s mission. Through our programs, these principles give voice to the young people they support, while protecting their right to privacy. With that in mind, our fundraising initiatives and advocacy campaigns serve as a platform for their voice, giving rise to improved global awareness and a stage to influence the narrative on global education and childcare policy.


 began in 2007 when Melissa Fricke founded BULA after her time spent volunteering in Uganda.  Founded originally to build a school for the children she taught, the organization has grown into a formidable NGO in Uganda making a lasting impact on the children served.

The organization continues to prioritize educational support to  vulnerable children, but has also shifted into the field of child protection, advocating alternative care solutions for orphaned and vulnerable children, and implementing and monitoring care solutions for such children.

BULA is run by a team of volunteer staff based in the US, largely in the NY-metro area with its home office on Long Island, NY.  In Uganda, there are two operating staff persons, implementing all programs and projects on the ground.