Showing posts with label kasese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kasese. Show all posts

Saturday, 4 October 2014

KHPS Building New Chicken Coop

The new chicken coop is miles ahead of the original one.
Bwambale Robert, School Director of the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda, has been updating us on the progress of school construction at the new permanent site at the school's Facebook page. By all measures, this is a great success.

One measure is the chicken coop. Back in 2012, this blog along with help from other blogs sent the school enough money to build their own chicken shed. The structure is a smart wooden box -- two stories of chickens.

The original wooden chicken shed at the original leased railroad KHPS site.
Well, since then, with the help of donors, the school has managed to buy its own land for a permanent site and has constructed permanent brick structures for classrooms, latrines, kitchens and training centers. Well, now construction is progressing well on a new chicken coop -- a much bigger one that will allow the school to move towards self-sufficiency.


Bwambale's update:
KHPS coop construction update in photos. Floor slabbed, meshing exercise in progress. Two doors fixed, gable plastered, one front metallic door procured and to be fixed soon at the main entrance.
As for the old coop, it will not be wasted. The timbers from this older structure are still fairly new and will be recycled to build chairs and desks for the new classrooms at the new site.

Take a look at the whole picture set over at the Kasese Facebook page! There, you'll also find out about how a charity has recently sent a shipment of used shoes to the school which has already been distributed to those in need of them.

Remember you can support this effort over at the Atheist Alliance International donation page.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Update From Kasese Humanist Primary School

Kasese Humanist Primary School student, Christine (source).
Wow, it's been awhile since my last update about the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda. I went ahead and emailed School Director Bwambale Robert to get the latest news. Here's the response I got.
Am okay and all is moving on fine. Atheist Alliance International sent in funds amounting to 2.7 K and much of it were mega donations of 2K from Australia. I also received funds from private donors who wish to remain anonymous who gave me funds to finish up the chicken coop at the school site, this time the coop is more spacious and permanent.

Like I told you some months back, upon completion of this new coop, all the chickens we have in the other wooden coop will be transferred in this new one and the timbers from the old coop will be taken to the vocational workshop at the school to make school furniture for the classrooms, there will be nothing lost in this.

Construction kicks in early next week as funds for all these activities are already on our side. As usual I will keep all of you posted on what is going on. Many thanks for your efforts Sean plus of-course all well wishers, supporters and partners.
This is great news. Nice to see the old coop, which this blog helped construct, being put to good use! As you can see, Atheist Alliance International is a huge help to this school. Since the beginning, they have helped collect and send funds and the school has prospered over the past few years -- sending money to Uganda can be quite a struggle, believe me, so this is a huge service they are doing!


You may be wondering who the beautiful smiling child is at the top of this post. That's student Christine and she was one of the students who received a letter from their pen pals in the USA. The letter writing program is being made possible by KidsHeartKids.

Here's Bwambale's update over at the school Facebook page.
It was an exciting moment today 10th September at the school as children participating in the Letter Exchange Program received their return letters from their friends in the USA courtesy of KidsHeartKids Charity. In the package received were also a Soccer cleat and some pairs of socks.

Delivering the package, the School Director Bwambale Robert thanked all participants in this program to keep the friendship strong and encouraged children to always stay in touch with their counterparts as it will help them so much in learning from each other, know what is happening in other countries plus the students improving their skills in letter writing which is a way of communication that brings people together. He told them that we now live in a small world where now the world is a global village.
Go check out the post to see more pictures of happy kids.


Children show some of the gifts they received inside their pen pal letters from the USA. This service is brought to you by KidsHeartKids (source).

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Kasese Humanist Primary School Construction Update!

Open doors of the newly painted and floored Vocational Center.
It's been awhile so I thought I'd share this update on the construction of new classrooms over at the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda. Here are some snippets from School Director Bwambale Robert's latest email to me.
Hi Sean,

It’s long since I updated you plus our readers on what is going on at Kasese Humanist Primary School. We are almost a week to the start of the third term which marks the end of the academic year.

In an effort to ensure we keep our candidates class brains strong, children in this class are having revision classes running as they are having very limited time towards sitting for their Primary Leaving Examinations which is a nationwide done examinations scheduled to take place in November this year.

As per the constructions, for the last two weeks I have been dedicating my time to complete up the vocational center and the school library which had been unroofed for some months. Am happy to inform our followers that the completion of these structures is almost done. I am passing over to you some images of the structures I have been working upon.
Below, is another photo of the newly painted Vocational Center.


Edit 2014-08-31: If you read an earlier version of this post, you'll know that there were two visitors working on a upcoming project for the school. Bwambale informed me just after the post went up that they would actually prefer to keep the project under wraps until it is nearer to completion.

I apologize. I had thought it would be alright to post this here as one of the visitors had posted some information about this on her Facebook so I got the wrong idea. I will talk to them and release news as soon as I can in the future!

The local community is also taking positive notice of the school and the good work and development it is providing for the community. There is already potential interest from families outside of Kasese region and the idea of putting up dormitories (hostels) is being floated hypothetically.
The locals are complimenting my works and are giving me a go ahead; some are even commenting that what am doing is what they would expect to be done from their local leaders like prominent politicians, Member of Parliaments or famous rich men of the area.

These guys are not doing much in the eyes of locals who expect much from them. Such comments comfort me and motivate me to go ahead with what I am doing and a section of people are advising me to put a hostel at the school site to accommodate children from far-away places that might get interest in joining the school. The question is .... where can I get money to put up a hostel facility? Is anyone out there ready to kick start the campaign to build up a hostel at the school.
However, for now the goal is to finish off enough classrooms (10) to be recognized as a full fledged school by the government. As there is also petty crime in the region, there is motivation to wall the school in for protection of goods.

If you want to see more photos and updates, check out the school's Facebook page.
As plans are still in the pipeline as I search for funds to finish up 3 more classrooms and fence up the western side. I appeal to our friends and partners of the school to join me and we fence up the school so that the only entrance to the school buildings is a gate. This is very important to keep safe school properties and children in one place. More works to be done are the walkways, roundabouts, playing materials for children and a talking compound.
Remember you can support this effort over at the Atheist Alliance International donation page.

Painting and shuttering outside facing wall of library building.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Childrens Book About Uganda With Kasese Humanist Primary School Students

Two students wearing their Kasese Humanist Primary School uniforms. 'Good Day Uganda' was written and is being developed by Russell Appelt in Victoria, BC, Canada. (Illustration reprinted with his permission.)
'After breakfast, while it’s still cool, kids from Kasese will walk to school. They’ll learn their lessons and be nobody’s fool. Good morning to Uganda.' 
Awhile back Russell Appelt, from Victoria, British Columbia, came up with the story for a picture book about Kasese Humanist Primary School. Interestingly, he did this by imagining Raffi singing a song about Uganda. He hadn't done anything like this before and isn't an illustrator, but didn't let that get in his way. Much like other volunteers helping this community-supported school, he jumped in and started the project and things are coming together.
I'm not an English major, just a nurse aid working at Aberdeen Hospital here in Victoria. I was doing my own illustrations at first but they were not professional enough. So I decided to hire an artist from Malaysia and I'm very pleased with what he's been able to do so far.
Russell sent me several illustrations and they are all incredibly vibrant and extremely bright and colourful -- like the pictures of Uganda in the summer season.

A Kasese Humanist Primary student wakes up with the Ugandan flag flying outside his window. This is an image from an upcoming childrens book 'Good Day Uganda' being developed by Victoria BC's Russell Appelt. (Illustration reprinted with his permission.)
'Raise the flag, black, yellow and red. Everybody wake up and get out of bed. There’s work to do, don’t be a sleepy head. Good morning to Uganda.'
Although some text is prone to change as the story gets refined, the version of the book I read uses delightful rhyming verse to tell the story of humans, animals and plants on a sunny school day in Uganda. There is no direct mention of science, save for a reference to chimps, the closest living relative to humankind. This book instead instills a wonder in the natural world by referencing the fauna of the region along with some local geographical features.

Russell and his girlfriend Elsie.
Russell hopes to have the project done sometime in 2015. Meanwhile, there will likely be some editing. He would like to add a Fun Facts section to the back of the book with some trivial about the country and a recipe for matoke (plantain stew with meat), which is referenced within the story itself.
Perhaps Bwambale Robert could send me a deliciously authentic one.
As a Humanist parent of a four year old, I really appreciate books like this and hope more will appear. There is a real need for more childrens media in our community.

I'll keep you all posted about the development of this book. If you would like to contact Russell directly, then you can email him at russ.appelt@gmail.com.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Construction Continues at Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda

So much has been going on at the Kasese Humanist Primary School over in Uganda and it's been awhile since I've posted about it. They've resumed construction after a large private donation and School Director Bwambale Robert has been sending me pictures and updating his excellent school Facebook page.

Due to time constraints, this post will be light on narrative and rather picture heavy.

The most recent construction has been on the vocational center and the freethought library. The vocational center will be used to train people within the school and surrounding community with useful skills. It will have a workshop where transparent sheets will be used on the roof to allow extra sunlight to penetrate into the building. Both will be shuttered, ventilated and concrete flooring will be poured. Like the other buildings, strong metallic doors will be installed to keep vandals out.

Here are some pictures of the freethought library construction.

Inserting brick gables into roof of the new freethought library building. Wooden roof beams are treated against rot.

Newly roofed freethought library building. I believe that's the nursery nextdoor.

Windows and doors installed in front of freethought library building.

If I am not mistaken, this is the back of the freethought library building. Strong shutters are installed to keep vandals out as this wall faces the outer perimeter of the to be walled-in school complex.
Here are some pictures showing how the vocational center and workshop is coming along. Remember, this was added as an extension to the nursery building.

Vocational centre and workshop is an extension of the nursery building.
Interior of the vocational centre and workshop building. You can see the side of the nursery.

Roofing completed on the vocational center. Notice the plastic panels to allow light into the room.

Plastic corrugated roof panels provide nice light into the vocational center's interior. Support beam is temporary.

Shuttered vocational center with metal door.

Closeup of vocational center windows and door.
More finishing work  like coats of paint and floors to come. In the meantime, why not support the school by making a donation to Atheist Alliance International?

Also follow the school's excellent Facebook page which is managed by School Director Bwambale Robert himself.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Construction Resumes at Kasese Humanist Primary School

Vocational centre timbers for the roof in place.
Here's a really short post to pass on the word that construction has resumed on the new site of the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda. This was made possible by a large donation of funds by a private donor.

On a Facebook page update, School Director Bwambale Robert made the following update:
... the work am doing right now aims at finishing up the free thought/computer room and vocational center buildings which have been at wall plate for the past month or so. This exercise is likely to take 2 weeks to have both structures complete and habitable. I have already placed orders for the shutters of the two units, booked the iron sheets. The carpenters have already fixed the roof timbers on the vocational center and are likely to put the iron sheets in 2 days, Plastering works is in progress on the free thought library and tomorrow the Computer room section and library interior will be fully plastered. A provision for sockets and switches have also been placed in the rooms for easy electric installation. More works continue in the next few days.
Awesome news, since the structures were standing roofless for awhile there, which isn't so good for the walls.

You can see more pictures of construction of the vocational centre on the Facebook update itself.  If you are not already following the school Facebook page you should be!

Edit 2014-08-05

Just as I went to press with this, Bwambale released another update on the Facebook page. Go check out this post which includes more information on the construction effort along with some great pictures. Here's my favourite picture of students using one of the newly constructed classrooms at the new Rukoki site. It's nice to see the new facilities in use!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Recent Developments At Kasese Humanist Primary School

A preacher speaks to the students. At KHPS, students are exposed to as many points of view as possible.
Kasese Humanist Primary School Director, Bwambale Robert, sent me an update a few days ago about what's going on at the school. There are interesting things afoot, including a visit from a local pastor who tried to preach the Good News to the children.
Well, all seems to be moving on well at the school. This being a games and sporting season, as far as the Education Ministry, in regard to the Primary School Curriculum.

Our school has also participated in it and in order to keep our school team fit, we are seriously doing lots of training and engaging our children to host friendly matches with nearby schools. We have met Railway Primary School twice and Aisha Preparatory School once.
KHPS team training at the soccer pitch sporting newly donated jerseys from KidsHeartKids.
The competitions will be held in Nyakasanga Playgrounds on Friday 11th this month, the usual venue for such functions. We remain optimistic that our school netball and football teams perform better. A special thanks goes to KidsHeartKids for spicing up our team and donating balls and sporting jersey for both teams.  In the Friday’s events our school emerged as winners where in Soccer we scored 3 while Aisha Preparatory School scored 1 goal, in netball ours was 14 out of 6 shoot in’s.
Football is, of course, soccer. Netball is a very popular game I've heard of which seems to resemble North American basketball. It seems like a game has already been played last Friday. The school won which now qualifies them for today's game -- which will probably be done by the time I get to post this. Pictured below is likely past Friday's game with Aisha in red. (I cannot help but comment on the name of the school, Aisha, which does have some 'interesting' connotations for me.)

Netball match with Aisha Preparatory School over at old KHPS Railroad location.
Also on Friday was a debate with the topic Have Women or Men Spread HIV/AIDS the Most? Both sides were defended.
Such debates are common at the school as they expose the children to be free to communicate freely, express themselves in front of the audience and attain skills in critical thinking and oral communication. 
This sounds like a pretty heated debate, indeed.

Debate about HIV/AIDS transmission.
Aisha children in their yellow and red school uniforms at debate about HIV/AIDS transmission.
Teacher Joelyne facilitating debate.
Friday was a very busy day for the school, because in the morning hours, just before the Aisha children arrived, a Christian preacher offered to evangelize to the students (see first photo at top).
In the morning hours of Friday before arrival of our visitors, we also received a local pastor who came to the school with an intention to pass on to the children “Good News”.  Such people do come to the school and as it’s a school policy to tolerate people’s beliefs, we do give them a platform. Sometimes others come thinking that we will chase them away and they begin their drama but as free thinkers, we always reason beyond them and speculate what might happen.  We assembled all the children to listen to this young man who addressed them and picked several scripts from the bible. After he had addressed them our children started asking questions which of course were their right to know.
Apparently the questions were too much for the preacher and he left in a sudden.
Unfortunately, some questions were so hard to be answered by the Pastor and in general he failed to answer correctly all the questions. The meeting ended prematurely and as the Pastor was going away he did share some views with the teachers who also blamed the Pastor for his failure to give the children genuine answers that are not biased as we now live in the era of access to information. The Teachers told the Pastor that Kasese Humanist Primary School is one of the few schools that embraces science and believes in Evidence so next time the Pastor surfaces at the school again, he should be in position to back everything he says with evidence.
As for the classroom construction project, which is building a new permanent school for KHPS on land that it owns -- it currently rents -- it is at a standstill until further funds are raised. Three more classrooms are required for the school to meet the national requirements to be considered a valid nursery and primary school.
As with the classroom constructions, work is at a standstill as I wait for more support from my international connections. Work stopped after fencing off the Northern, Western and part of the Southern end. So far on the property, we are remaining with only 3 classrooms to accomplish all the 10 classrooms to cover the Nursery and Primary Section which of course we shall achieve before this year ends. A vocational center, Computer and Free thought  Library, an extra classroom plus the Permanent Poultry coop stand at wall plate and await to be roofed and finished while the school hall awaits for funds yet to come in from Humanist Canada.
You can help by making a donation to Atheist Alliance International. Be sure to select the correct section in the donation form.


If you're Canadian you can support via Humanist Canada. Agan, be sure to select the Ugandan Kasese School radio button on the form.

Student Singa Sharif with camera tripod.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Quick Insight On How A Humanist School Is Perceived In Uganda

Some KHPS students at a recent visit to Red Cross Offices in Kasese. (source)

While in a group email correspondence with Bwambale Robert, Director of the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda, my friend Meredith Doig asked how the school is perceived in the local community. I've been asked similar questions, most recently on the radio programme Ask an Atheist. I'm certain that this question comes up in the minds of quite a few donors given the very religious nature of Uganda and recent documentaries like God Loves Uganda.

So here's Bwambale's response.
The local authorities have no problem with my venture and our existence on the ground because the last four years has been a testing time to evaluate my activity. The perception people had of us when we began has changed from worse to the better as they (at first) thought maybe we posed a danger of derailing the children to immorality. What we have always done is to explain what we are and what we stand for and we have been found to be harmless. One police officer told me that the government was secretly making underground checks on the school but one thing they found with us was that we stood for evidence.  The police officer said that they couldn't close down our school after realizing that we are for science advancement and evidence. However our lack of faith still raises some eyebrows but still this is something they will continue to be gradually accustomed to over time.
I think it brings some insight on a nuanced local situation. The best way to gain acceptance is to come out (if possible) and show the world that you can be good without God.

Remember you can support the school's classroom construction project over at Atheist Alliance International.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Happy World Humanist Day!

(source)
Despite what some friends and acquaintances may claim, I do indeed consider myself human - a condition of which I am sometimes embarrassed. With our long history of bad behaviour and the daily news, it's often rather easy to get down on humanity.

But we've come a really long way though. Out humanity is a good thing and the goodness comes from within. That's why I'm a Humanist Human and that's why June 21st is a good day: World Humanist Day!

There are funds that remain to be raised for the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda, so I'll be spending my Humanist Day trying to make some progress at getting some kind of fundraiser rebooted.  The previous fundraiser platform changed their billing company forcing me to shut down the original fundraiser prematurely - although, $10,000 was raised!  I'll be exploring WordPress themes, so it could result in pretty.

You should also let Google know that this event really deserves a 'doodle!'  If you're on Twitter, it's recommended to post something like this.
Anyway, I hope you do something really human - it a good way, of course.  The IHEU gives some examples of what you can do today and some of the international events.

As Carl Sagan would have said: Happy 'Yew-manism' Day!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Update From Kasese Humanist Primary School

It's been awhile since I posted about how things are going at the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda. Here are some highlights from a recent email I got from Bwambale Robert, School Director. He also sent some pictures, which are below.

The school now has two campuses, the original Railroad Station campus and the new Rukoki campus which is still under construction but has at least one functional Nursery building on it. In total enrollment is at 356 pupils.

Recently, a representative from the Uganda Red Cross recently visited the school.
Recently at the school we hosted an official from the Uganda Red Cross who encouraged our students to join the Red Cross Society as members and our children were happy to learn that the founder of the Red Cross, Henry Dunant was someone who had similar vision and way of thinking just like Humanists do. Several students at the school have joined the Red Cross and we are proposing to set up a Red Cross club at the school.
Bwambale also shared news about the Poultry Project, which readers of this blog helped build through a fundraiser. It seems the original chickens have gotten a little older and have gone through menopause!
There have been some new developments in regard to the poultry project where the original chickens housed in the coop became off layers and could not lay eggs anymore so we restocked the coop with 70 one month old chickens some weeks ago and these chicks are growing up steadily. KidsHeartKids is currently helping out in periodically sending in funds to aid in purchasing of the feeds. We have been facing a problem of fluctuating poultry feeds prices and this has been straining the school budget. A permanent chicken coop is to be constructed on the school property soon and building materials for this are already at the site.
Ongoing funds are required to maintain the coop and pay for feed. If anyone out there knows of some kind of Patreon type program that allows people to pledge some small amount per month I believe much of these expenses could be taken care of nicely.

The Kasese United Humanist Association (KUHA) owns land which has been transformed into a plantation.
The school plantation in Muhokya is now supporting some corn and cassava plants which are soon to be harvested. The food harvests are utilized at the school in feeding the school staff and a section of children. After milling the corn, the peels or shaves commonly known as brand is mixed with the layers feed to add value and volume on the foods at the disposal of the chickens. 
Bwambale also let me know that KUHA is interested in any possible partnerships with international organizations, private or public, to sustainably develop and utilize land. Obviously, such development would have to be a net positive to KUHA and the local economy.
It should be noted that the Muhokya land is among the big chunks of land owned by KUHA measuring 8 Acres, some other spaces are the Kasese Humanist Botanical Gardens (12 acres), the KHPS permanent home (9 acres) and another prime piece of land in Lyemibuza  (8 acres) overlooking the Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake George. Kasese United Humanist Association feels great owning these parcels of land, as land is a vital factor of production. These lands are available to be utilized fully to create change in people’s lives and in this regard the organization welcomes either private or organizations interested in setting up joint viable projects on these lands.
Finally, construction continues at the new Rukoki campus at an excellent pace.
As for the classroom construction, work so far on site is promising as all the required 10 classrooms for a fully functional school as per Uganda standard is now reached. Some work on classroom finishing is ongoing.  The vocational workshop, school library/computer room plus an extra classroom still lack roofs and will be finalized upon funds' availability.

Some few weeks back, Atheist Alliance International (AAI) sent in some $2750 to aid in the constructions.  These funds aided us in adding an extra classroom onto the already 3 classrooms attached to the School Hall which also now connected to the school kitchen. The funds were also used for plastering works on the outer side of the school library and vocational workshop.

In an effort to curb trespassers on the KHPS Property, the buildings have been constructed in such a way as to form a perimeter-like fence. Right now, the northern side and the eastern side are sealed off and plans are underway to seal off the western side and put an entrance gate at the southern end.

Thereafter, general finishing work, painting and walkways will be embarked on. At some point all the classrooms will be fitted with electricity from our house one which is electrified. 
A giant school logo will be crafted on the wall beside the gate and Humanist Principles for a rational world will be written on the southern wall.
Exciting times! Remember, more funds are required for the school to be completed. Right now, the target move date from the old campus to the new one is January 2015. Once this is done, rent will no longer be paid at the old location and, with construction mostly complete, more funds will be available for day to day operations. Until then, you can help the construction by sharing the word and with the links below!

• Atheist Alliance International at http://atheistalliance.org/support-aai/donate

• Humanist Canada at http://humanistcanada.ca/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=3

And here are some pictures Bwambale sent me of the work.

Back view of KHPS.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

KidsHeartKids to Provide Raffle Basket & Prints of New Painting to Help Ugandan Humanist Schools

Lylah Mouton posing next to painting (in-progress) by her mother Deanie Mouton.
Lylah's wearing a KHPS school uniform (see graphic on right sidebar).

A couple of days ago, Mario Mouton, father of Lylah Mouton - an amazing seven-year old who has been raising money for Humanist charities in Uganda - got in touch with me with a couple of amazing ideas to fundraise for Uganda Humanist causes while having fun.

Well, both Mario and I will be attending the Humanism at Work  conference in Chicago in July and Mario has arranged to have a table where we'll be promoting the Kasese Humanist Primary School, the Uganda Humanist School Trust, the Pathfinders Project, KidsHeartKids (of course!) and other worthwhile Humanist causes. I expect that seeing firsthand the explosion of secular charities will be an uplifting experience!

Although we'll all there to promote the Pathfinders' Sustainable Water coffee "Grounds for Humanity", Mario decided to also include some of this coffee in a Raffle Basket to be won at the event.

But, as they say in the late night adverts: "That's Not All!"  Mario, his wife Deanie Mouton and Lylah set up a website, KidsHeartKids.com to help fund Humanist education in places like Uganda. Since its founding, Mario has been buying books on atheism and skepticism and attending conferences to have them signed by their authors. Other authors either donated some signed copies of their books (Michael Shermer) or offered very reduced prices of their autographed books (Steve Wells). These books are then sold to raise funds for Humanist charities.

So the raffle basket - so far, at least! - will be:
  • Signed copy of Steve Wells' Skeptics Annotated Bible
  • Signed copy of Richard Dawkins' "Appetite for Wonder"
  • A Humanist T-Shirt (design to be unveiled)
  • Some Pathfinders Grounds for Humanity Coffee

You see? You'll have enough coffee to read both books in a single sitting. You have your t-shirt should you require a change of clothing do to lack of showering or having spat coffee out of your nose when reacting to your acutely humourous, witty, sarcastic or infuriating bits of the literature at hand. Said t-shirt could be used to wipe any resultant stains off your signed books. (Disclaimer: Signatures may not be signed with coffeeproof ink.)

But wait! There will be more!

Mario's very talented wife, Deanie Mouton, is working on a painting - it's 25% - 50% done but already looks fantastic! Prints will be sold at our table at the conference. All funds raised will go to support the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust.

The woman in the painting is Jamira, school librarian at the Mustard Seed Humanist School in Uganda.

Honestly, I think this conference will be a blast. If you'll be near the Chicago airport area July 18th - 20th, you should sign up! I'd love to meet you!

Lylah Mouton helping out with some of the early stages of the painting.

Edit 2014-06-05: Corrected incorrect information about signed book copies. They are not all donated.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Interesting Essay on Humanism in Uganda

Photo by Wendy Webber (source)
If you have a chance, I strongly recommend you go check out a guest post by Pathfinder Wendy Webber over at Applied Sentience.

THE PATHFINDERS IN UGANDA: HUMANISM, SCIENCE, & COLONIALISM
There were a few things that confused me as our time marched forward at KHPS. One of the teachers was evangelically humanist and very vocally anti-religion. Yet at lunch he prayed and told us he was talking to “the one who knows.” He told me a story about the mountain god – the god of his tribe (the word he himself used). When the god was angry his tribe suffered from droughts. When the god was happy it rained. How was this behavior coming from a man who is an avowed humanist scientist? How are these beliefs coming from a man who is constantly asking his students, “Where does God live? Have you ever seen him?”
Wendy draws a clear and highly thought-provoking picture of what Humanism might mean in Uganda. Although it is not quite the same as the Humanism Canadians understand - there appears to be an underlying anti-colonial element - it is still Humanism and still good.

After reading her post, I began to think about Canada's own First Nations (Native American) community and how they are very predominantly Christian - in part, the result of forced abduction and religious education of their children and wholesale cultural genocide. I wonder if Humanism would take a similar vein if it were ever to take root there.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Construction Update from Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda

Masitaki Tresor the painter and employee ar KHPS

Here's the latest update on what's happening over at the Kasese Humanist Primary School over in Uganda.

Here's some sections of an email Bwambale Robert, school Director, sent me on May 25th.
I broadened the vocational workshop with an intention of connecting the units together in my attempts to form a perimeter wall around the school property. I am going to do this to curb trespassers and wrong elements who disguise as people going to River Nyamwamba to bath or collect water but instead having motives to spy around to look for anything handy to steal.

I will soon be stretching the wall from the just painted building to the school kitchen then in that regard I will have beefed up the eastern side of the property.
The school is also waiting for funds from Atheist Alliance International (AAI) and Humanist Canada to hopefully finish off the remaining partially built buildings. Please visit these to help this project out!
I know our followers might be asking themselves why am not putting the glasses (windows) on the already finished structures but the point is I will tackle this after I have sealed the units together however i plan to put first on our initial building soon.
Bwambale has also singled out one excellent employee at the school who has truly gone the extra mile to help this project become a success, Masitaki Tresor. You can also read some correspondence and more he's written to me in the past. THANK YOU Masitaki Tresor!
I am getting to you images of the School Hall and the 3 classrooms for the primary section which has just been painted and in this regard, I think Masitaki Tresor, the guy who looks after the KHPS poultry coop deserves a BIG THANK YOU! He has actively done a lot as far as KHPS classroom constructions and indeed I appreciate his service. He is the guy behind the painting works of the nursery block and now the School Hall plus the 3 units. I am attaching his photos showing him in action and I think the followers would be very happy reading about him.
Now here are some selected attached images.

Under coat painting in progress.

Masitaki Tresor applying paint.

Painting works in progress.

School Hall.

Mining sand along Nyamwamba River.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

$10,000 Goal Met! Thank You!


Because of funds coming in from other sources and Causes.com is forcing all fundraisers to shut down May 23rd,  I brought my goal down to $10,000 and put out an appeal to donors to help me reach it. I was at around $9,000 at that time, so this would be one last push to the finish line!

Well, the donors came through!

Here's the Victory email I sent out to the donors just a few minutes ago.
VICTORY! $10,000 Goal Met! Thank You!

Less than a year ago, I started up this fundraiser with the goal of raising enough money to build classrooms on newly acquired land in Uganda for the Kasese Humanist Primary School.

The original goal was an ambitious $35,000, but donations began to pour in directly through Atheist Alliance International's donation page as well!

I would like to thank bloggers like Hemant Mehta of the Friendly Atheist and Veronica over at Canadian Atheist; musical contribution by Australian singer Shelley Segal; moral support by Noam Chomsky; radio support by the folks at Ask An Atheist; parallel funding by KidsHeartKids; parallel support by Swinburne University; recent parallel funding by Humanist Canada; a recent donation by the Rationalist Society of Australia (which put us over our goal!); Atheist Alliance International for tirelessly wiring the funds to Uganda (all funds I collect go to AAI); Pathfinders Project; all organizations I've no doubt forgotten, and of course our 117 private donors! THANK YOU!

The new campus is now more than half complete and some buildings are already in use and serving the community.

As you can see, we're well on our way to making this new school a reality. Our original goal was $35,000, but this got adjusted down to $26,000 because of funding from the above external sources. However, there was another motivation as well.

This fundraiser also has to be shut down May 23rd because Causes.com is switching its payment system on that day and all fundraisers in my class will be affected. When I learned this, I was at just over $9000 and so decided to shoot for $10,000 and our donors came through!

This means there is likely more fundraising left to do in the future. It depends on how much parallel funding comes in from other sources: Atheist Alliance International (which is where this fundraiser feeds into) and Humanist Canada. I will continue directing anyone within earshot to these excellent organizations.

Remember, I regularly update about progress over at my blog: http://www.mysecretatheistblog.com/search/label/kasese.

Although this fundraiser was a resounding success - THANK YOU! - there is still work to do to help spread a rational, science-based approach to education free from dogmas. By building this school in Uganda, we can plant seeds of freethought for future generations.
Thank you donors and helpers to this cause!  Over the next few days, I'll be redirecting my landing pages for the banner on the side and other places to point to ongoing donation pages to the project. Construction is not yet finished and there are still more funds needed. I'll also be evaluating other platforms for fundraisers and networking with other fundraisers at Humanism at Work this summer. So I'm not done yet! Watch this space.

But for now, I will likely take a short breather!

If I factor in the chicken coop fundraiser (~$2,500), the electification fundraiser (~$600), the new land fundraiser (~$7,500) and this most recent fundraiser (~$10,000), our motley crew of bloggers and podcasters has managed more than $20,000 of funding to build educations for hundreds of children! Breathtaking! Good job, everyone!

Thank you everyone for your donations, spreading the word and other help! Together we can make this world a better place for free inquiry and unfettered reason-based learning!

Remember you can still help by donating directly to Atheist Alliance International or at Humanist Canada!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Construction Update From Kasese Humanist Primary School!

Here's another update from Kasese Humanist Primary School Director Bwambale Robert about the ongoing construction of classrooms at their new permanent school location.

The school is opening a new wing with vocational skills training that may benefit the community at large. I'm especially interested in the new recording room for videos which could mean better quality video updates in the future. And if students are taught how to think critically and use reason and logic to examine the world, just think how effective they could be at spreading the word when they master new media tools.
I am attaching more fresh images on the looks of the library/computer room. I also added an extra classroom on the space that was between the Nursery block and the pit latrine and it will serve as a vocational skills training room.  It will house as well a store and a recording room for my videos to the international world. Will ensure the recording room is soundproof.

Am working on finishing up the three classrooms and School Hall outside. When  funds come in from Atheist Alliance International,  I will do the flooring of all three classrooms but right now all I can do is to apply a coat of paint on that building.

The library and computer room is at wall plate (height) while the vocational workshop is to get the ring beam today.

Local youths are also trying they best to get involved in building the school by offering to work on leveling the playing field. Check out their photo as they remove the trunks.
Bwambale also stressed how the best way to help the school is to get the word out!
As always, you can help out at these links:
http://atheistalliance.org/support-aai/donate 
http://humanistcanada.ca/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=3

And help me get my fundraiser to its $10,000 goal: http://tinyurl.com/humanistschool

As always, Bwambale sent some nice pictures of the progress! Scroll down to the bottom photo and you'll see that the campus is really starting to look like the real thing.

Library computer room under construction.


Local youth removing the trunks as they prepare the playing field.


Shuttered School Hall.


Technology center.


Vocational skills room.


KHPS site photo from a distance. Starting to look impressive.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

KHPS Parents: Kibikwamu Alfred

Kibikwamu Alfred is father of three students at the school, one of which is also sponsored by a generous donor.

In this week's letter from Kasese Humanist Primary School, we hear from Kibikwamu Alfred, who has three children attending classes. The children's letters are cute and inspiring but the parent letters can let us know how the school is helping them raise the next generation of Ugandans.
I thank the management for having organised a school here in our village. This school have helped most of the parents around the school for the best performance of the school rendering to our children. The management has recruited well-trained staff which has enabled out pupils to perform better in education and behaviours.

I have three children in school in classes P.2 (Muhindo Kevin), P4 (Bwambale Trophy), P5 (Mumbere Kendred) respectively with one sponsored by the school sponsors/well-wishers and they are performing well in classes.

I thank the school management who chose one of my children, Bwambale Trophy, to be sponsored by one of the well-wishers/sponsors which has enabled me as a parent to pay for the two (other) pupils smoothly.

I further thank the sponsor of Bwambale Trophy very much for giving him education. And I wish to meet him physicially one time to thank him in person.


You can get information on how to sponsor students:


Also check out how you can help the school's ambitious construction project!