For the second year running Isaac Newton High School students are completely clear of HIV/AIDS. The National Blood Transfusion service came to the school and tested students giving blood to the national blood bank. This would not have been possible in the past as HIV was rife in the community. In fact a major reason why the Humanist School was set up in 2005 was to provide education to the many AIDS orphans in the area.When many other countries in Africa (notably South Africa) denied the problem of AIDS, the Uganda government instituted a clear national policy to combat the disease, based upon the ABC of Aids – Abstinence, Be faithful, and use Condoms.The National Blood Transfusion team are now regular visitors to the school. Many faith schools refuse to allow the Blood teams into their schools, due to irrational fears. In contrast, central to the aims of Humanist Schools is to encourage a rational approach to life’s challenges, including the utmost respect for science and modern medicine.
The prolonged Covid induced closure of schools in Uganda has led to many private schools becoming insolvent and closing, including the two primary schools closest to Isaac Newton and Mustard Seed High Schools.
Both High Schools have suffered from the poor primary education of local children coming into them, and this gives us an opportunity to do something about it.
MUSTARD SEED BUSOTA COMMUNITY A Muslim primary school, nestling within the perimeter of Mustard Seed School, has closed leaving 280 children with nowhere to go to school. The parents called a meeting this week and implored Moses Kamya to take over the school and run it as a Secular Humanist school like Mustard Seed, which they believe would be much better for their children.
ISAAC NEWTON KATEERA COMMUNITYA private primary school a few hundred metres from Isaac Newton School has closed, leaving 200 children with nowhere to be educated. The proprietor has received an offer from a Turkish Sunni Moslem group, wishing to establish a Madrasa. The community does not want this. They also called a community meeting with Peter Kisirinya and asked him to take it over and run it on Secular Humanist lines like Isaac Newton High School, which has developed a high reputation in the area.
The Trustees of UHST see both of these as opportunities to strengthen both Mustard Seed and Isaac Newton Schools, by improving the education of children before they come into the schools. We really wish to respond to the heart-felt request for our help from the two communities, which is a ringing endorsement of Secular Humanist education.
We are in negotiations with the owners of each school. They have both incurred debts and need a quick sale. So many other schools are in the same position and there are few buyers around at the moment. We are currently negotiating to buy each school, and haggling over whether this will include school furniture and whether we can pay in instalments. If we can, then we will proceed with both purchases.
If the sale goes through, which we hope it will, we will need to raise funds to refurbish the buildings and furniture, improve teachers conditions and pay, and buy lots of books, learning and play materials. We will need to do this while continuing to help out our other schools with the short term cash flow needs caused by Covid.
If the sale goes through the two schools will be renamed as:
Isaac Newton Humanist Primary School, and Mustard Seed Humanist Primary School.
Perversely, if we pull this off, it could bring a huge Covid gain for the Humanist Schools.
Our appeal to raise money to take over the schools and bring them up to standard began two days ago and has already raised over £20,000. We would be delighted if others contributed. Transfers can be made to: Uganda Humanist Schools Trust (UK), A/C 00455909, Lloyds Banks Sort Code 30-95-91. Or by donating through our website (https://ugandahumanistschoolstrust.org). If you do decide to send a donation directly to our account, do please email us so we can confirm its receipt.
The picture below shows children from one of the closed primary schools being taught in the old hall of Isaac Newton High School.
The report contains information about how the school is coping in the face of the Covid pandemic. It also includes a profile of this remarkable young lady, Joan Mukisa. The school gave her opportunities to develop her potential after a difficult start in life. Joan won a place in the top Law School in Uganda and is just starting her second year of study.