Uganda Humanist Schools Trust’s infrastructure appeal reaches the half-way point

UHST is delighted to announce that our 10th Anniversary Building Appeal has brought in donations from our supporters of £75,300. This takes us half-way towards our goal of raising £150,000 to complete the major infrastructure of the two Uganda high schools we support.

During 2018, contributions from UHST supporters have made a huge difference to the Humanist High Schools.

Isaac Newton School has undergone a major transformation. A second girls’ hostel was opened last year. It provides 96 girls with a safe and comfortable place to sleep, overseen by a resident warden. Between 6 and 8 girls share each room, sleeping in double bunk beds. Each room has a ceiling to reduce noise disturbance and to cut down disease transfer by mosquitoes during

New Teaching Block at Isaac Newton School

the night. It is recognised locally as the best girls’ accommodation in the region.

Isaac Newton High School is in a remote rural location, far away from mains water. During 2018, the school alleviated its endemic water shortage by completing a 100,000 litre underground concrete tank that harvests rainwater from the roof of the girls’ hostel. This water is now used for washing clothes and for cleaning. It leaves the pumped water from the well on the valley floor to be used for drinking and for personal hygiene.

A fine new teaching block has just received the last lick of paint. It contains 3 large classrooms and a new A-level science laboratory. The lab has been constructed using funds from North-East of England Humanists and will be named the Ian Gurney laboratory to commemorate the  Newcastle University Physicist, who was an active member of the NE Humanist group. The additional classrooms will

Stone walls to prevent soil slip

enable the school to halve class sizes, which had been exceeding 100, by running two parallel classes in each school year.

Because Isaac Newton High School is on the side of a hill, the building work has required flat stances to be excavated into the hillside, leaving soil cliffs behind each of the new buildings. These pose dangers of soil slip and flooding of the classrooms and hostels from heavy rain storms. Money raised in the appeal has allowed the school to secure the soil with stone walls and to construct culverts to divert rain water.

Before the end of the year the school and 5 local villages will be connected to mains electricity. This is the culmination of a two year project funded in

Humble but life transforming tap for piped water

large part by the World Bank but requiring a contribution from the community of £10,000 which two UHST supporters generously provided. The arrival of electricity in the school and community will trasform the lives of everyone in this remote rural community, and it represents a major benefit that the school has brought to the locality.

Things have been moving at an equally rapid pace at Mustard Seed School. At the end of last year, UHST found the money to connect the school to mains water, from a pumping station on the River Nile. The effect has been transformational. With running water on site washing and personal hygiene is hugely enhanced as well as obviating the need to have students taking time out of lessons to ferry water from the nearest bore hole and pump a half mile away.

Architect’s impression of multi-purpose Hall at Mustard Seed

Early in the year a new teaching block with 4 classrooms and staffrooms was completed with UHST funding. This will allow the school to operate two classes in each year, and so cut class sizes in half.

However, the major project during 2018 has been the completion of a multi-purpose hall that will be used for assemblies, music, dance, drama, school debates and for local community gatherings. Once the Humanist Counsellor has completed his training as a Humanist Celebrant, there are plans to use the hall for Humanist weddings, funerals and baby naming.

Our appeal has recently raised sufficient funds to do something to allevaite the unacceptable levels of overcrowding in the sleeping accommodation at the two schools. We have approved the refurbishment of the old boys hostel at Isaac Newton School, which had never been properly finished. The work includes putting in ceilings, plastering and painting. We have also sent the first instalment of funds for the construction of a much needed second boys hostel at Isaac Newton High School and a second girls’ hostel at Mustard Seed School. Artist’s impressions of these two buildings are shown below:

2nd Boys’ Hostel at Isaac Newton High School

 

2nd Girls’ Hostel at Mustard Seed School

 

 

 

 

 

We are seeking to raise more funds to finish off the basic infrastructure of the two schools. Remaining priorities at Mustard Seed School are to create from the old Hall a new Library  & Information Centre, housing books and computers to support subject study; to enlarge and refurbish the science lab and to generally smarten up the school buildings and site. Isaac Newton School also needs a Library & Information Centre and study space that can also serve as a dining hall.

As these are the first two Humanist Secondary Schools in the world we are seeking to turn them into models for the rest of Africa and the world. We are working with the schools to help them create an exemplary standard of liberal-secular education and welfare. If you would like to help us in our efforts to complete the two schools then we would really appreciate additional donations through our website:

http://www.ugandahumanistschoolstrust.org/

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