Uganda Humanist Schools Trust: Charity No 1128762

Appeal to bring secondary education to Katumba

UHST has just launched an appeal to bring secondary schooling to the remote Katumba community on Uganda’s Congo border. If we get a good response it will enable children to complete their education from kindergarten to O-level without needing to leave their home community.

To make the expansion affordable, staff rooms, computer room, library, playing field and multi-purpose hall will be shared with the existing primary school. 

The 1st Phase of the work will cost £35,000. It will enable the construction of:

  • Multi-purpose hall. This will enable the school to register as an examination centre, so that children can take national exams within the school, as well as being used for music, dance, drama, debates and school and community activities.
  • Senior 1 classroom and Science Lab with storeroom, water supply and sinks. This will enable children completing their primary schooling in 2023 to start Senior 1 of their secondary schooling in February 2024 and to learn science by doing science.

For further information see:

March 2023 Katumba Report          Fundraising Leaflet

Two decades of progress at Isaac Newton

Our latest visit to Isaac Newton School was a good opportunity to reflect on the huge impact the school has made on its community since it was founded in 2005.

In 2023 the school is riding high in the district rankings: 4th of 36 schools at O-level and top school out of 21 at A-level.

Flowering time at Isaac Newton

This year’s performance was inconceivable when the school opened in 2005. At that time:

  • The school had a single building with 2 classrooms and a staffroom. It had earth floors, and bare, unpainted brick walls. The land had been cleared, the bricks hand-made and the building constructed by volunteers.
  • The first hall was under construction. Newly made bricks were drying in stacks.
  • The area’s population was decimated by HIV/AIDS. Many parents of working age had died. Gravestones still stand in fields among the crops evidencing the catastrophe.
  • Empty houses, whose occupants had died, were falling into disrepair. Gardens, footpaths and even roads were becoming overgrown. Crop yields and incomes were at rock bottom. Even the coffee crop had been hit by a wilt disease.
  • The first parent’s meeting was attended by grandparents who had become sole carers of their grandchildren. They appeared tired and demoralised.

Today the situation has been transformed. Isaac Newton is a fine school which educates village children from nursery to A-level. 

Read the full Isaac Newton Report.

Mustard Seed plays its part

Moses Kamya, the Headteacher and Director of Mustard Seed Humanist School, has worked hard to create a pleasant green environment for learning and living. The Humanist Schools’ Tree Planting Project has created stands and borders of mature trees.

Numbers of students are returning to pre-Covid levels. Children and teachers are pleased to be back. First year results in the Primary Leaving Examinations showed a marked improvement since the former Muslim school came under the wing of Mustard Seed. There has been a marked improvement in A-level science grades. Out of class activities have also restarted such as boys’ and girls’ football, scouting, debates and music.

Moses is proud of the impact of the school on the lives of individuals and the community. I met one old boy, Cornerious Matege, who is now Head of English. He explained that he was a former student of the school and had fond memories of being presented with a dictionary as his prize for winning the Reading for Pleasure competition. This proved life changing. The competition encouraged him to become a regular reader, to go to Teacher Training College and then to return as a teacher of English. He was delighted to be back in school helping Moses to convey Humanist values to a new generation of children. Currently 25% of teachers were former students who had a strong desire to put something back into the school.

The UHST scholarship programme has made a huge difference. Scholarships offer an educational lifeline to bright children from challenging circumstances. Supported children do well and boost the school’s overall performance at O-level.  Scholarship fees also provide a regular income, which underwrites teachers’ pay and funds educational resources that benefit every child in the school.

Mustard Seed School is well-respected and plays an important part in the Busota community.

Download the full Mustard Seed Report.