stevehurd@uhst.org Uganda Humanist Schools Trust

Sad loss of Fine Art teacher

Farouk LusiraWe heard last week of the sudden and unexpected death of Farouk Lusira, the Fine Art Teacher at Isaac Newton High School, Katera. Farouk was one of two members of staff who had been there since the school opened. He has laboured with few art materials to develop the drawing skills of his students. Using just pens and pencils, under Farouk’s guidance, students at Isaac Newton, demonstrate high standards of drawing, which surprised and delighted art students from Newcastle College, Staffordshire when they visited the school for International Friendship Week in July 2012.

Here is some of the work produced by his students:

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Farouk was a keen sportsman. As well as teaching Fine Art, he helped to coach the school football team, which this year won the local league and reached the knock-out stage of the national finals.

Farouk was a practising Moslem and, being of very liberal outlook, he embraced the International Humanist principles which underpin the Isaac Newton School. He died at the age of 37 from a strangulated intestine. He leaves a wife and no children.

In recognition of Farouk’s immense contribution to the school, UHST would like to raise funds to refurbish and equip the art room, which will be dedicated in Farouk’s name. If you would like to help us in this endeavour, please mark your donation “Farouk Art Appeal”.

Developing co-curricular activities at Mustard Seed

Moses Kamya, the Director of Mustard Seed School, has been making a determined effort to offer a broad educational experience to students at the school. Offering a range of co-curricular activities is an important part of this. Already the school gives students opportunities to participate in a range of sports including football, netball and volleyball. There are teams for boys and girls and the boys team, in particular, has excelled in the District CocaCola challenge cup – winning the cup in 2011. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey have an active choir, perform music, dancing and drama and, over the past two years they have built up an active scouting group which accepts both girls and boys. At a District scouting event the Mustard Seed Scout group won the competition for camp craft.

All of these activities require some resources. For many the requirements are relatively small, such as drums, musical instruments, sports kit and clothing. The scout group are going through to the national finals for camp craft and they are embarrassed at the moment because they have no uniform. Although the costs are relatively small (£200 for the scout uniform) the school cannot justify the expense given all the other priorities.

The single largest need has been for a sports field. Until recently the school has had to beg for access to the playing field of the nearby catholic primary school. The school has been cooperative but the field has only been free at certain times, when it is not being used by others.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo overcome the problem, UHST raised money in 2012 to buy land that was suitable for a playing field. This year we paid for the school to hire mechanical diggers and graders to level the land. The work ran into unexpected problems when rock was found close to the surface, so we had to find extra money to bring in explosives experts to fracture the bedrock and an even larger digger to remove the rock. The unexpected extra cost was met by two of our trustees. The good news is that the land has been levelled and grass seed will be sown following the equinox, when the short rains arrive.

New cook house for Mbute Campus

Work has been completed on a much needed new cook house for the Mbute Campus (formerly Fair View School) of Isaac Newton High School.IMG_1099

The old makeshift and ramshackle wooden building has been demolished. The open fire with a single cooking pot supported on three stones has gone.

No longer will the cook need to breathe in fumes from cooking on an open fire, as in the picture. Research has revealed that open-fire cooking, especially in confined spaces, is responsible for lung infections in many cooks, mostly women, throughout Africa.

IMG_1086The new brick building has two rooms. There is a well ventilated room where the cooking takes place. This contains a state of the art, efficient and externally-vented wood-burning stove that can heat two pots at the same time. A similar stove at Mustard Seed School has reduced firewood consumption by over three-quarters.IMG_1107

The other room is a large rodent-proof store, where cassava flour, rice and other dry grains can be kept. Having dry storage will enable the school to buy staple carbohydrate grains at a time when they are plentiful and low priced.

The school cook is delighted with the new facility. It improves her working conditions and will make it easier to prepare dinners on time.