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

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!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Great Updates From Kasese Humanist School In Uganda!

The Nursery Block is now 95% complete (source)
Remember my last update about the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda where I reported that the Nursery would be brightly painted but kept the colours back as a surprise? Well, surprise! The picture above shows the Nursery block painted in the school colours. The paint is there for both esthetics and for weather-proofing.

The Nursery is the first building on the school's new site to host classes. So far, 22 young children are enrolled there.

School Director Bwambale Robert is busy with school administration tasks these days, so was unable to give me his usual excellent email report. So, instead, I thought I would plug the school's fantastic Facebook page, which contains many more photos and updates. (As well as pilfer some of the photos with Bwambale's blessing, of course!)


and you can support their construction fundraiser:


Here's a shot of the Main Hall, which has just recently been roofed. You can see the electrical pole on the right, which was bought using funds raised by a this site's electrification fundraiser.

Main Hall (source)

Below is probably my favourite picture. The kitchen and storage room is half roofed. I like the little roof which I believe prevents rain from going into the smoke hole.

Kitchen and storage building (source).


Meanwhile, back at the current railroad station site, classes continue.

Children in the computer lab. (source)


Class in the existing railroad station site. What really strikes me is how much more solid the new buildings are at the new site.

Class at the existing site (source)
Breakfast time at Kasese Humanist Primary School (source)
Why not chip in a little to support construction at the new site?


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Update: Kasese Humanist School Construction Resumes!

Some school children standing in front of the the new structures. I believe the kitchen is to the left, while the School
Hall is on the right.

Awhile back, I reported that the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda received new funds vital to resuming construction of their new school on permanent land they own. The funds have been raised primarily via these sources.



The school was in urgent need of money. The looming rainy season threatened to warp exposed wood roof beams. Three structures laid roofless with their insides exposed to the elements.

Well, construction has resumed at full steam this last week. Buildings are now being roofed just in time to save the structures from potential water-related damage!  I'll quote emails I got from school director Bwambale Robert and share some of the pictures.

Nursery Block

Upon receipt of the AAI funds generated from secular communities worldwide, work was resumed. Since last weekend, I have embarked on several tasks. Work on the Nursery Block includes face-lifting the veranda ceiling and final touches on the backside ventilators. 
The veranda ceiling is what we would commonly call roof soffits here in Canada.

Veranda ceiling above. You can see the windows and the ventilation holes above them.

Working on patching veranda ceiling.
Here's another photo of the very smart and nearly completed Nursery. This building is the most complete building of the entire complex, and you can see just how beautiful it is. The next step, I believe, will be a colourful coat of exterior paint.
 
Photo of the nearly complete exterior of the Nursery Block showing one of the ramps onto the veranda. Also note the solid windows and metal door.
Bwambale sent me a detailed list of paint colours for the buildings. The fronts will be painted in the school uniform colours, while the backs and sides will be maroon. I'll leave the details out so you'll all be treated to a surprise later!

School Hall

As for the much larger School Hall building, on the 12th I received this update.
Some work on the School Hall building is in progress and so far, we have just concluded meshing up the veranda ceiling on this unit and we are yet to apply some sand/cement mixture in an effort to create a decent ceiling. 
Sand to cement School Hall, which is pictured here. I believe the black timbers have been treated to make
them more resistant to water damage.
If you look closely at the picture below, you will see a metal mesh being placed on the soffit beams to hold the cement. 

Worker applying a metal mesh onto the soffit (veranda roof) above the veranda.
Below is a photo of how the school hall looked prior to the school obtaining the last injection of needed funds to resume work. There was a fear that the exposed wood roof supports would begin to warp if left exposed to the elements.

Photo of unroofed section of the School Hall.
Newly gabled wing of School Hall. Corrugated roofing also being put on. Notice how much larger
and more impressive the building appears when there are people next to it to demonstrate scale.
Work continues on the School Hall, the largest building in the complex.
Finally, both wings of the School Hall are being roofed!
The School Hall should be fully roofed within the next few days, if all goes well. Bwambale is also making all rooms in the school electricity ready. Currently, just the first building - which came with the land - has a power line running to it, thanks to our previous electrification fundraiser.
In the School hall, it will have a raised stage at one end and the builders have put provisions of power sockets and switches at strategic location within the hall. We have done this also to all the rooms at KHPS site and upon completion, electric wires will be extended to these buildings.

Kitchen & Storeroom


The kitchen and storage room is being plastered.


Plastering the kitchen and storage room.
Further progress plastering the kitchen and store room.


























Latrine

Bwambale also updated me on the all-important latrine The pictures below show that the structure has been roofed.

From the 12th:
I have procured some timbers to be worked on by the local carpenter to make door frames and shutters for the school latrines. It should be noted that the latrine under construction has 8 stances and will be plastered soon.
Latrine has been roofed.
Below you can see the latrine has been gabled with the very important heat (and possible smell) vent at the top.
Latrine gables being constructed.
The third image below is from Friday, some days later than Bwambale's above update. Plastering has begun here.

Plastering has begun inside the latrine.
So, that was a long post because there is lots going on at the school! I hope I'm showing that if you donate to this cause, your money has an immediate and concrete impact. I mean, you cannot get much more direct than this!

Please consider chipping in a little?


Friday, 7 March 2014

Kasese Humanist School Receives Urgently Needed Funds. Construction to Resume!

Nursery class being held at one of the new buildings at the currently developing Rukoki campus. (source)
Last month around this time, I posted an urgent appeal on behalf of the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda. All funds collected up to that point had run out and two buildings were without roofs with the rainy season on its way. An estimated $5,700 was required to finish the buildings enough to be resilient to the oncoming harsh climate.

On February 23rd, nearly two weeks later, I received another email from school director Bwambale Robert urgently requesting $2,000 to allow the construction crew to do the barest minimum of protective measures.
I am just inquiring whether on the KUHA school collected donations, we can secure 2.000$ and it gets wired to us, this may help me roof up the entire school hall building as i am worried the rains have started pouring. 
After this, we can take our time to finalize other works.
Well, I'm happy to announce that Bwambale received a total of $6,500 today! The funds came from Atheist Alliance International, who are collecting money for the school on their donation page and who have agreed to forward all money donated through the construction project fundraiser page at Causes.com!

Bwambale's words when he was informed of bank transfer. (He received the funds today.)
Neil, Thanks for this and am glad that the amount rose to some figure. This will let me accomplish the current tasks on the site and doing paintings on the buildings. as usual i will keep all of you posted when funds are here.
Out of the $6,500 some $2433.86 came from the fundraiser at Causes.com.  This means, I will lower the total amount required to be raised on the Causes.com site by $4,000 to $26,000! This will put us over the 33% mark!

I'm really excited to see some new photo and video updates at the school when construction resumes shortly! Stay tuned to this spot and thank you to all of the donors (and tireless fundraisers) who are making this possible!

Uganda needs science-based education based on free and open rational inquiry and the principles of Secular Humanism more than ever these days.



Monday, 24 February 2014

Pictures From Humanist School's New Nursery Block

Young children at the newly-built nursery on Rukoki campus. (source)
Kasese Humanist Primary School Director Bwambale Robert posted a nice photo album on Facebook that I think demonstrates just how much more sturdy the new classroom blocks are at the school's new permanent location at Rukoki than their current leased location at an abandoned rail yard.
Children at Kasese Humanist Primary School have just concluded doing their beginning of term 1 examinations and today i had chance to take snap shoots of some pupils at the school in both the Railway Campus and Rukoki Campus. Enjoy as you look at the photographs. Special thanks to our generous well wishers, supporters, friends and enemies of the school. With Science, we can progress.
Just take a look at the nice plaster and cement floor and walls in the image above along with the solid metal locking door. Compare it with this shot below of a classroom in their current location at the rail yard where we see only corrugated metal walls and wood.

Older students taking their first of semester examination at current/old rail station campus.

You can even see light shining through the walls and notice the lack of an actual window. Also notice the lack of a floor - well, there's dirt.

When it comes to learning without distraction, I would think the more solid new building would provide a better, more sheltered and secure, environment.

The fundraiser to build the remaining required buildings on the new land and move the school (including the chicken coop!) has just topped $9,000! This puts us just a tiny bit shy of 1/3rd of our ultimate goal, but progress is slow but steady.

For more pictures, check out Bwambale's Facebook album here.

If you would like to contribute to the fundraiser, visit:


- or - 


Friday, 21 February 2014

A Quick Q&A With Kasese Humanist School Director Bwambale Robert

Construction work at the new site of the Kasese Humanist Primary School.

Awhile back, Kasese Humanist Primary School supporter, Meredith Doig emailed some questions she had about the ongoing construction project to School Director Bwambale Robert. I thought others may be interested to know the answers to these questions too. So with Meredith's permission, I'm reprinting it here somewhat edited for grammar, spelling, flow, redundancy, etc.

Before we get to the Q&A, I'd like to remind you how you can support this project:


Now on to the Q&A.

Who are your workers?
My workers are young boys plus a few matures who are categorized into two classes: the trained masons and the porters. The masons are trained to build structures and are skilled in that profession to lay bricks, plaster the walls and flooring work. The Porters are the unskilled guys who do manual work and most of these are young boys, some kids from the school who are currently in their holidays,  a few school staff members and some members of Kasese United Humanist Association.

If it's not too insensitive a topic, would you mind sharing with us approximately how much they are paid?
An experienced builder is paid at the end of each work day and is paid 22,000 Shillings equivalent to $9 while porters are paid $4.

What is 'murram'? 
This is brick reddish soil that has a high capacity of joining bricks together. It serves the same role as cement but its price is relatively lower and is good for those who want to build on a budget. Most houses in Kasese are constructed using this material but when used, they recommend a coat of plaster to make the building stronger and smarter.

Could you please tell us the rationale for including a nursery?
This is the foundation of Uganda’s education system and KHPS has an interest in having school going children to begin their long journey of education at the school. As far as the Uganda Education set up, the nursery institution is an independent entity from the Primary School and each of the two is autonomous but generally this is not the case as most schools normally mix them as a same entity and its generally accepted here.

I noticed when I was in Uganda that new buildings tended to use corrugated iron roofing instead of the traditional thatching. But it seemed to me thatching would be cooler in summer and warmer in winter. What is the reason for using iron as roofing material?
The corrugated sheets are strong, durable and reliable whereas the thatched houses are not durable, can be torched by unknown wrong elements in society and the structure just burns to ashes in no time. Also, where we live our people still have a habit of petty thefts and dismantling the grasses is very easy compared to the corrugated sheets. 

Also, some areas don’t have these grasses.

Have you had any reaction from the surrounding community about the building of the new school?
The reactions have been positive and people are ready to try us and see whether we shall teach their children. The fact that we have been in existence for now 4 years adds value for them to trust us as far as educating their children. They also expect to benefit from other services like computer and vocational skills of their children.

As you can see, there is very little overhead going on here. Money is going more or less directly to the project at hand. Please consider donating:


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Kasese Humanist School Anthem


Bwambale Robert over at the Kasese Humanist Primary School sent me a video of the children singing the school's anthem. I decided to fire up my little Mac Air and try my hand again at video editing.

If you're feeling in the mood for some song from Uganda, why not take a look?


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Humanist School Urgently Needs Help Before Rainy Season

The inside of the Main Hall structure remains open to the elements and the dry season is nearly over.

Usually I try to space my Kasese Humanist Primary School updates to weekly features. I do this so people don't start thinking this blog is nothing more than an elaborate fundraising campaign. But in this case I will make an exception.

The fundraiser seems to have stalled again. This wouldn't be such a huge problem only a month or so ago because there were no half-completed structures sitting around. Well, that's not the case now.

As School Director Bwambale Robert mentioned in my last update, the rainy season is fast approaching in Uganda. It usually comes in around mid-February to mid-March!
One of my main challenges now is to roof the school hall building which needs over 180 corrugated iron sheets and the school kitchen which needs 20 iron sheets to ensure the bricks are protected from the harsh wet season coming up in mid February and March this year. I however tried to plaster the outer part on this building. Roofing it soon will help in giving the building shape and protecting exposed timbers from bending. We are right now still enjoying the hot sunny weather conditions of Kasese but when the rains come things might not be fine.
In fact, recent rainy seasons have been downright violent in Uganda with strong rainfall causing severe flooding just up river in the mountain town of Kilembe.

Bwambale has broken down an expense list of his most pressing needs to make sure they at least protect the investment donors have made so far.


This is a pretty big number, but I'm confident that even a smaller amount will go a long way to at least protect the buildings in the form of a roof or some sort of covering, which I think is the bare minimum here.

Anyway, things are rather urgent here. So if you have a rich uncle or are willing to chip in any amount -- or spread the word! -- please know you're action will be much appreciated and you'll get to see pretty immediate results by following this blog. Not many other charities out there show this kind of tangible effect.


And, why not Do it for Darwin?

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Construction Update at Ugandan Humanist School: Skeptics Digging Septics!

Construction of 8 new latrines.
So a lot of progress has been made at the Kasese Humanist Primary School's new campus construction site since my last update not more than a week ago! As usual, I'll be including extracts from School Director Robert Bwambale in this post.

Also, next week, I will be sharing more information about exactly what's needed in the short term to keep this construction project moving. Because it looks like we're about to hit another lull. If you would like to contribute to this project -- and construction is set to halt again due to lack of funds! -- please chip in whatever you can over at the fundraiser page.


As pictured above, a eight unit (4 on each side) latrine has been dug, cement has been poured to shore up the pit properly and a solid brick structure has been erected. You know, skeptics digging septics.





In addition to the septic tank and latrines being near to completion, the school kitchen and storeroom is also now taking shape.
There has been some construction of the septic tank toilet plus the school kitchen with a store room attached also being put up. 
School kitchen with attached storeroom.
Currently, the least developed (and most ambitious) structure is the School Hall. This building has been started but, due to insufficient funds,  it may have to stand unfinished and possibly suffer some climate damage if it sits for too long.
Also the school hall building has been given a face lift and have tried my best to make good use of the financial resources at my disposal and soon will be giving in my full accountability report. Roof timbers have been added on the roofs of this building and all the chalk boards on this building are complete save one. We're also plastering the entire inside part.
The school hall building still requires a roof, floor and windows.
Essentially, materials need to be bought to roof this large structure.
The builder is telling me that to roof the entire building a total of close to 160 corrugated iron sheets are required to roof the entire place and its like we shall try to roof a small section on this building as we solicit for more funds from well wishers.
Another shot of the main hall, which may have to be put on pause.
As I hinted at above, in a later email, Bwambale pointed out that there is actually some real urgency here. Although the construction began at the beginning of the dry season, the rains are on their way in the coming month and without roofs, the kitchen and main hall risk excess exposure and water damage.
One of my main challenges now is to roof the school hall building which needs over 180 corrugated iron sheets and the school kitchen which needs 20 iron sheets to ensure the bricks are protected from the harsh wet season coming up in mid February and March this year. I however tried to plaster the outer part on this building. Roofing it soon will help in giving the building shape and protecting exposed timbers from bending. We are right now still enjoying the hot sunny weather conditions of Kasese but when the rains come things might not be fine.
Essentially, most of the last big injection of funds has been nearly depleted with the construction of a robust cemented and plastered latrine and kitchen and storeroom. However, I'm sure everyone would realize that these are absolutely essential structures for any functioning school.

Another picture of the main hall.
Blackboard installation in the main hall, which is still exposed to the elements.
On a more positive note, the school term has already begun at the current Railway Campus.

Meanwhile, because only the nursery block is near complete (90%), the Rukoki Campus will only service nursery aged children - Baby, Middle and Upper classes. The nursery opened its doors on the 4th of February. There are currently 14 children already enrolled into the nursery school program and more are expected to show up this coming Monday.

Inside the nearly complete nursery block.

The nearly complete nursery block.
Other things that need to get done are erecting school logos, painting all the buildings and shuttering the school hall building.

Bwambale once again thanked donors Meredith Doig and Randall Philipo, who were able to raise a substantial portion of the latest injection of funds.

Meanwhile, the school received scholastic art supplies and stationery from Kids Heart Kids and book donations by the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust.


Very pleasant looking photo of the new nursery block.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Short Latrine-Diggin' Brick-Layin' Video!


As promised, here's a short video I made based on much footage Bwambale Robert, School Director of Kasese Humanist Primary School sent me. It shows them building the much anticipated latrine and kitchen - two all-important inter-related parts of any well-functioning school.


Septic Tanks, Latrines & Other Improvements At Kasese Humanist School!

Construction at new Kasese Humanist Primary School permanent site.

It's been just under a week since my last update on the ongoing construction at the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda. Since a recent injection of new funds from Atheist Alliance International, work has resumed in a big way and school director Bwambale Robert has sent me lots of media to share with you, donors and readers. Here's some. More to come later.

Remember! http://tinyurl.com/humanistschool.

First off, the school is acquiring it's very first septic tank system. From what I've read in a post by Pathfinder Wendy Webber, the squat toilets at the current site could be improved upon.

January 30th, 2014
Hi Sean, am passing over to you shots of the septic tank which we intend to build with effect from tomorrow, the initial one was extended to recommended size today bringing some delays. I also have a shoot up of some videos of the septic tank location showing the excavators at work.
Digging the pit for the school latrine.
I promise to release the video Bwambale sent me in the next few days. In the meantime, you've got the above picture. Apparently, the shutters and windows are being put together some kilometres away from the school. They, along with the doors, will be made of metal so as to be more resilient against the elements and potential vandals.

He also informed me that construction has begun on a new structure that will house the school kitchen. It is due to be completed by Monday. Picture of this, below.

Constructing school kitchen.
I'm not sure if I mentioned it yet, but the school will receive a new water hookup with the city supply. And finishing work continues on the nursery block.
The water guys have not turned up yet at the site though I finalized payments for a fresh water connection at the school site.
Finishing works is still in progress on the nursery block and filling of the school hall building rooms to level the floors there is in progress.
Plaster finishing work.
Bwambale also planted sweet potato "hills", which I assume are mounds of soil in which sweet potato plants have been built. These potatoes are intended to sustain teachers and some students during the upcoming term when a portion of the new campus could very well open ahead of the initial schedule!

February 1st, 2014
Sean, 
Well, I am doing fine.  Returned from Kampala last night having gone there to pick a consignment of local text books donated by the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust who paid for the books in a Kampala leading bookstore.
I have a series of fresh photos taken today at the site, I have done the shuttering of the nursery block, work to build the kitchen and the pit latrine is in progress.
I must say that the windows and smart red doors and shutters really do a lot to finish off the nursery building!


Newly constructed smart red shuttered windows.

Smart new red metal door and metal window.

Fixing new shuttered windows into structure.

Meanwhile, the latrine construction is beginning to look promising as well!

Latrine taking shape.
They could really use your help! Any amount makes a difference!