Record number of scholarships awarded

In 2014 UHST supporters have provided scholarships for 126 children at the Humanist schools in Uganda. This is the largest number we have been able to offer in a year. The scholarships enable bright children in difficult circumstances  to have the opportunity of secondary education.They cover school fees, uniform and school food.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe schools in Uganda advertise the scholarships by leafleting families in villages around their schools, through local primary schools and on local radio. Applicants are screened on the basis of their results in the primary leaving certificate and personal circumstances. Shortlisted children are invited to visit the schools with family members or guardians – many children have lost one or both parents and are being cared for by other members of the family, often grandparents, and sometimes by completely unrelated friends of the family who have taken them in after the loss of parents. The photograph shows a meeting with family members and guardians at Mustard Seed School in February.

Since Isaac Newton High School, Masaka and Mustard Seed School, Busota now have girls hostels we have introduced, in 2014, boarding scholarships at the rate of £300 a year. They cover tuition fees, boarding and food, medical care, uniforms and out of hours supervision and activities. They are suited to very needy students who have lost both parents or who have particularly difficult home circumstances. United States sponsors have provided 8 boarding scholarships specifically for orphan girl students, 6 for Isaac Newton School and 2 for Mustard Seed. A UK supporter is providing similar support to two orphan girls boarding at Mustard Seed School. Such scholarships provide an opportunity for children in pretty hopeless circumstances to transform their life chances.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA Mustard Seed scholarship has been allocated to a 13 year old boy called Sowedi. He is an orphan who has lost both his parents. Sowedi is being looked after by his grand father who makes a meagre living selling used clothes in rural markets. Before the opportunity of a scholarship was presented, the grand father had decided that Sowedi would have to find something else to do instead of school since there was no money for school fees. However, Moses Kamya, the School Director, could see that Sowedi was a bright boy with ambition and offered him a place at Mustard Seed School. Sowedi is relishing every moment at the school.

In 2014 42 scholarships were allocated to Isaac Newton High School, Masaka. This includes 2 for the two highest achieving pupils from Kasese Humanist Primary School. Isaac Newton High School, Mpigi, which has no hostel facilities, has been awarded 38 day scholarships. Finally, Mustard Seed School has 46 scholarships.The scholarship programme, while helping children in need, has also, by being selective, helped to raise the quality of students entering the school for the past two years. This should result over time in a progressive improvement in overall school outcomes.

If you would like to help students like Sowdi then please consider providing a day scholarship (£120 a year) or a boarding scholarship (£300 a year). For further information email: Hilary Hurd at (tel. +44 (0) 1782 750338).