A new upbeat report from Irumba Juma Siriwayo.
Katumba Parents Humanist Primary School plays a critical role in meeting the unique needs of the remote Bukonzo community. Our people live in scattered homes in the foothills of the 15,000 ft Ruwenzori Mountains. The nearest town, just 7km away, takes up to 30 minutes by car as the road is broken and tortuous.
Our school is the only centre of learning in the area. It first opened in temporary buildings in 2015 and we moved to a new purpose-built school, funded by UHST, in January 2021. Our school has become the heart of our community:
- It educates 750 primary age children in the national curriculum.
- Our teachers and children keep alive the music, dance and drama traditions of the area.
- We nurture a sense of belonging and community.
- Through the employment it provides and the goods and services it buys from the local community our school is accelerating economic development in an area that was stagnant economically.
Former students, from the early days of our school, are starting to make their mark in the community. Many moved on to secondary school in Bundibugyo or further away as boarders. Some of those have also completed college courses. Eight of our early students have now returned to teach in our new primary school. Two others are teaching in secondary schools elsewhere. One former student works as a nurse in the local health centre. Another student has become a local Agricultural Extension Services Officer.
Parents have been so happy with the Humanist Ethos of our school that they have chosen to send their children to Humanist Secondary Schools in other parts of the country. They have been assisted with scholarships provided by UHST supporters and by members of the Ethical Society of St Louis. When the new school year starts in February 2024 we will have students in the following Senior classes at Humanist High Schools:
|Katumba students in:
In 2023 four students completed their Uganda Certificate in Education (Ordinary level) at Isaac Newton Humanist High School and are awaiting their results.
Katumba School provides direct employment to 16 teachers, and 6 ancillary staff including a bursar, cook and caretaker. A local lady runs a school tuck shop which sells small items to staff, children and local people. Another local lady earns a living by cutting firewood and selling it to the school for cooking school lunches. During the building phase of the school many local people were employed in various building trades and in supplying building materials. Now the school is up and running it buys food from local farmers and local people bring fruit and other small items into school to sell. UHST has provided funds to the local council to improve road access to the school, to lay on piped water and to extend mains electricity. These all bring significant benefits to the local community.