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

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!



Monday, 5 May 2014

My First Time on Radio... It's For a Good Cause.


There is likely only one thing more nerve wracking for a quiet soul like yours truly than being on the radio for the very first time. No wait, actually there is. Listening to myself on the radio is excruciating! 

Ask an Atheist: XL: Pay Attention

Maybe it's actually healthy I don't enjoy hearing my stammering. Right, I'll stick with that.

The very good people over at Ask an Atheist gave me a chance to speak about all the amazing progress over at the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda over the past couple of years and where the school would like to be in the future.

I also tried to thank the atheist and Humanist community out there, Robert Bwambale and all the amazing bloggers who've helped spread the word! In the end, I'm just a dude sitting in front of a computer.

Anyway, if you do give the episode a listen, be gentle please. I was a little nervous. You'll also get to hear an excellent interview with Director for International Programs for the Center for Inquiry Bill Cooke.

So go ahead. Press the shiny candy-like button.


Saturday, 3 May 2014

I'll Be On "Ask An Atheist" Tomorrow!

I'll be appearing on Ask An Atheist tomorrow to talk about my involvement with the Kasese Humanist Primary School!

The show airs tomorrow at 3pm Pacific (Tacoma Time) over at KLAY 1180 AM.

Don't live in Tacoma? I think you'll be able to listen to the live stream right here.

The first half, we’ll hear about a variety of folks putting Humanist ideals into action in some high-impact ways outside of North America.  

This is my first time ever on the radio. I'm a little nervous about that.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Students of Kasese Humanist Primary School: Katusabe Ritah

Katusabe Ritah
This week's letter from Kasese Humanist Primary School is from student Katusabe Rita. She wrote this upbeat poem about what Humanism and a Humanist school mean to her.
My name is Katusabe Ritah. I study at Kasese Humanist Primary School. I am in primary seven class. I have a poem about our school.

Humanist! Humanist! Humanist!
Humanist is one of the private schools in Kasese.
Humanist has good teachers.
Humanist has good students.
We study well at humanist.

Humanist! Humanist! Humanist!
Humanist has computers and computer knowledge to pupils.
Humanist is a school that has free thinking students and so does other schools.
Humanist has all good things like computers, books and freedom to learn.

Humanist! Humanist! Humanist!
Humanist has a library and access to information.
Humanist has a school logo and so does other schools.
Humanist has the school's anthem, a rational message to all personalities.

We have sponsors at humanist, we write to penpals in USA and so we are always at school.
We study productive lessons at Humanist.
We study humanism every Wednesday.
What a good school Humanist is!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Humanist School Fundraiser Closing In May. Please Help Us Reach $10,000!

(source)
Back in July 2013, I embarked on a rather ambitious fundraiser to help build a permanent home for the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda. The initial goal was $35,000 but with extra funds coming from other sources, like Atheist Alliance International and other private donors, that amount went down significantly.

So far, with a lot of help from generous people and those with much more well read blogs than mine, the fundraiser has reached $9,155. However, it's been holding steady at this number for awhile.

Well, a few days ago I received the following email from Causes.com, the site that hosts the fundraiser.
Over the coming weeks, we will be switching our donation processing to Stripe in order to allow political campaigns, international organizations, and 501(c)4 nonprofits to raise funds on Causes. In addition, we will continue to support 501(c)3 nonprofits.

What does this mean for you? By May 23rd, your fundraiser will expire and you can create a new one, provided your nonprofit completes the transition to Stripe. If not, we'll work with you to find another nonprofit for your campaign. You don't need to do anything at this time.

If you have any questions, please contact us at support@causes.com.

Thanks,

The Causes Team
This means the fundraiser will need to be shut down by May 23rd and I don't have any choice in the matter. So I've decided to make one last push before it all ends. If I adjust the goal down to $10,000, you'll see we don't have much further to go. We'll still have made a huge difference.



Just $845 will bring me to this goal. After that, I may recreate this fundraiser. If I do, it's likely to be on a different fundraising platform that would allow me to offer perks for donation amounts.

Of course, I will continue to promote the school every way I can and to encourage people to visit the website and donate via Atheist Alliance International or Humanist Canada. You'll still see regular updates about the school and how you can help!

Want to help me reach $10,000? Check out the fundraiser page!


Even Noam Chomsky wants you to donate.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Kasese Humanist Primary School Director Answers Some Donor Questions

Nursery Block.
Bwambale Robert, Director of the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda, sent me the answers to a couple of questions he got recently. He wanted me to pass the answers along and so here they are.

How much does the school pay in rent for their current location, the abandoned railroad station and surrounding buildings?
Bwambale: Some weeks ago, I received a request from a child sponsor who wanted me to tell her about how much we rent the Railway properties for monthly. In the interest of other donors and supporters of KHPS here are the numbers.

We pay 280,000 UGX a month, which is equivalent to 111.55 US$.  This means annually we part with 1338.6 US$.  This fee to a school like ours is extremely high and in addition, we have to meet other needs like teachers salaries, school stationery and scholastic, water and electricity bills. Hope you will include this in your next blog post.
That last sentence was for me and so I include his answer in this post. The next question was from yours truly.

What kinds of benefits do families in the region get from the school, not just limited to the education of the children?
Bwambale: Other than us educating the children, some parents of KHPS benefit from the school by getting odd job employment. Some serve as carpenters, electricians and workers on the school farm. Since we initiated the classroom construction project in Rukoki, some  parents have managed to generate funds to cater for their home needs plus paying tuition for their children at KHPS and in some other institutions of learning.

A section of local students though have benefited from usage of the school library  and computer room.
I have a strong sense there are more benefits. Some of the children are actually orphans and affordable education with exposure to computers could be a valuable ticket out of poverty.

Like always, here are some links to help out with their new construction project. When complete, the school can stop paying rent to the railway and these funds can be diverted to help children and families even more.




Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Construction Work Update From Kasese Humanist Primary School.

Classrooms attached to the School Hall.
It's been awhile since the last time I posted about construction over at the Kasese Humanist Primary School. So here's some information from School Director Bwambale Robert.

April 19th:
First, I have been working on several things at the site including crop planting, tree planting, purchasing and fixing shutters to the lower primary classrooms attached to the School Hall. Verandas too have been made all over the School Hall and entire lower Primary Block. All the rooms have been shuttered and finishing made.

I spent close to three days in the cold at night together with teacher Solomon and Tresor, safeguarding the shuttered metallic doors and windows as thugs sometimes remove them when the cement is still setting. Also, the fact that they were fixed during the Easter season, most jobless youths try to achieve money the hard way and end up stealing whatever valuable they come across.
Here are some photos Bwambale sent me on the 19th showing this work on the School Hall. This update is quite image heavy so I'm putting it below a cut.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Staff of Kasese Humanist Primary School: Masereka Solomon

KHPS staff member Masereka Solomon
Here's another letter sent to me by Kasese Humanist Primary School Director Bwambale Robert. This time it's not a student but a staff member, Masereka Solomon. He is a graduate of an Information Technology program and is helping to educate students and staff at the school to prepare them for the very real 21st century need of computer literacy.

You might remember Solomon from a previous post on this blog about the awesome KidsHeartKids penpals program last December. I quoted some comments from volunteers at the school about the program and his was one of them. KidsHeartKids are an awesome supporter of Kasese and other Humanist schools in Uganda.

Here's Solomon's letter.


My name is Masereka Solomon a graduate of Information Technology giving a helping hand to Kasese humanist Primary School. I love the company of the teachers and pupils at Humanist. It is a school with a great difference. Freethought culture is what I feel when am at school. 
A lot can be noted about Kasese Humanist School by both teachers, pupils, visitors and well wishers internationally. At Humanist I see women empowerment as most of the staff are women. 
Personally I have a lot to note, since I joined the school I have more humanism ideas and knowledge. The global rational world principles are my principles. I share my technology skills with the pupils and the teaching staff. What a great school Kasese Humanist School is! 
The school has projects that expose the students to the modern world like penpals to the pupils are writing back to our pupils, sounds of electric bells for time management, unique football and sports wear uniform and material for learning are all at this school. 
A charity organisation in the USA called kidsheartkids is giving a warm hand to the school and progress can be noted, what a rational world. We appreciate the support everyone has given to our school and welcome you all to the humanism movement. 
It's better (I) am at Humanist Kasese! 
Regards,Solomon
 Why not support the school's new project to build a permanent home?



Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Students of Kasese Humanist Primary School: Baluku George Conrad

KHPS student Baluku George Conrad
Awhile back, Kasese Humanist Primary School Director Bwambale Robert sent me some letters written by actual students along with pictures. I posted the first letter last week. Here's the next letter written by Baluku George Conrad.

My name is Baluku George Conrad 
I am in primary Six at Kasese Humanist primary School in Uganda. I joined Kasese Humanist School in 2011 when I was in P.3 class. I have a sponsor who has been kind and I have kept in school for the last three years. I am very grateful of this. 
I like the school very much. I has nice teachers and we are kind to them. I prefer Humanist to other schools I have attended. At Humanist we study interesting subjects like Humanism, Science, Social Studies, Mathematics and English language. I love my school for "with science" we ca progress. 
Thank you!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Canadians, Make Tax-Deductible Donations to Kasese Humanist School Through Humanist Canada!

Humanist Canada logo (left) and Kasese Humanist Primary School logo (right).

A special thanks to Director of Humanist Canada Kevin Saldanha for writing about the Kasese Humanist Primary School in the Spring edition of their newsletter!

My vain side would also like to thank him for the mention of both me and this blog's fundraiser to build new classrooms at the school.

But the real big news is that Humanist Canada have pledged to help with the construction of the Main Hall. The idea is to raise $5,000 in this effort.
We have pledged to help raise funds towards the costs associated with the main school hall, a basic requirement of the Ministry of Education for a permanent school. The HC board of directors recently made changes to our website that enables us to accept donations for this cause. We encourage you to participate in this effort by making your donation to the Kasese School through the donation page on the HumanistCanada.ca website.
Here's where you, fellow Canadians, can donate!

Humanist Canada Online Donation Form

In the Where would you like your donation directed? section choose Ugandan Kasese School.

This is big news! It means that for the first time Canadians can donate to the school and get a tax receipt for deduction.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Students of Kasese Humanist Primary School: Kunihira Anifar

KHPS student Kunihira Anifar, 13
Some students over at the Kasese Humanist Primary School have written letters about Humanism and the school they attend. So, over the next few weeks, I'll post them for you.

If you're new to this blog, you may wonder why students at a Ugandan school are writing me letters. Well, they're not really for me but readers of this blog along with all the many donors who have helped the school along over the last few years! Chicken coops, new land and electrical hookups have all been funded thanks to your help!

As I've mentioned before, a new school is currently under construction to help better serve students and the community. See how I shamelessly plug my fundraiser?

Hopefully these letters will directly communicate what a difference this school is making in the lives of children. In a week or two, I may also have some letters from parents who might go into some of the economic and community benefits of the school as well.

So, here's the first letter from 13 year old Kunihira Anifar. It's in the form of a kind of poem or anthem for the school, complete with refrain Humanist! Humanist! Humanist!
Humanist! Humanist! Humanist!
What a good school is this! 
My name is Kunihira Anifar.
I am in P7 class. I have 13 years old and I was born in 2000.
I go to school at Kasese Humanist Primary School.
Oh humanist it is a good school. It was introduced by (?) 
Humanist! Humanist! Humanist!
How good are you 
You give us knowledge.
You give us a logo badge.
You have good teachers like Director, head teacher and other fellow teachers. 
I like studying science, english, math and humanism. 
We learn humanism on Wednesday. 
Humanist! Humanist! Humanist!
Oh a wonderful school is this! 
We study humanism in order to know how living things
and non living things are made. And humanist means
being a rational human being.
Humanist is a freethinking school,  a school with freedom
I like my school humanist. We say with science we can progress so come and join us.
Here's the original letter which I very likely mis-transcribed somehow.



I think a couple of things are worth mentioning even if I'm sure most people probably get it.

First off, remember this letter was written by a twelve year old who may not be a native English speaker (she mentions taking English class and her region appears to speak Bantu dialects). So keep this in mind.

Secondly, some may not appreciate Anifar's thankfulness at having a school uniform. It's probably a pretty big deal in a community where some children may not own very many if any nice clothing of their own.

Anyway, I'll post another next Wednesday!