Uganda Humanist Schools – Invaluable Support from the Ethical Society of St. Louis

By Steve Hurd from the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust

The Ethical Society of St. Louis in the United States is a close and much valued partner organisation of Uganda Humanist Schools Trust. UHST and the children, teachers and communities at Humanist Primary and High Schools in Uganda are immensely grateful to Ethical Society members for their prodigious fundraising efforts. Over the years, Society members have funded scholarships to enable bright girls from challenging circumstance to attend the Humanist schools. They raise funds for sanitary products so that no girl misses lessons owing to menstruation, and members have made major contributions to infrastructure improvements in the schools, not least a dormitory home for 96 girls at Mustard Seed School.

In January 2024, St. Louis members have raised a massive total of £52,772. This will secure full boarding scholarships for 21 girls attending Isaac Newton Humanist High School and for 15 girls at Mustard Seed Humanist Secondary School. These scholarships give life-transforming opportunities for the girls, their families and communities. 

Senior 1 scholarship students starting at Isaac Newton School in February 2023

A substantial sum of money has been generously donated by a family from the Ethical Society to enable Isaac Newton Primary School to bring its classrooms up to standard. During Covid, Isaac Newton’s neighbouring primary school became bankrupt when support from an Evangelical Christian Foundation in the U.S. stopped. The local community rejected a bid from a Turkish Cultural Centre to turn the school into a Muslim madrassa and asked for help from Isaac Newton School, whose work they had come to appreciate. UHST supporters mobilised funds to enable the school to buy the land and buildings. Some buildings were later found to be unsafe and this left the school with a problem.

UHST stepped in with funds to replace the 3 kindergarten classrooms for children aged 3 to 5. A Humanist from London, UK now living in Greece also helped by generously funding 4 replacement junior classrooms for children aged 9 to 12. These will be ready for the start of the 2024 school year in February. The donation from the St Louis family will provide the school with the final 3 infant classrooms for children aged 6 to 8, and toilets for boys, girls and staff. Construction of the toilets has already begun and work on the infant block will begin later this month. 

Since Isaac Newton took over the primary school, enrolment has grown from 40 to 250 children. So new bigger classrooms would have been required in any case. The latest help from St. Louis will ensure that by April all children at the Isaac Newton Primary School will be able to learn in decent and safe classrooms. 

Unsafe Infant classrooms from the former Evangelical school, which will be replaced by a new block funded from St. Louis

Less than twenty years ago, half of the working age adults in the villages around the Isaac Newton Schools died from HIV/AIDS. The schools have brought new hope to the families that survived this tragedy. The schools have brought decent standards of education and welfare to a once destitute community. Acts of human kindness, such as this one by members of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, change lives and help to make the world a better place for us all. The local community in Uganda is genuinely moved by this unselfish act of generosity from people across the world whose only connection with them is their shared humanity. 

Girls sponsored by Ethical Society of St. Louis 2024

YearMustard Seed Humanist Secondary SchoolIsaac Newton Humanist High School
Nakato ShamimMukodha FatumaNatukunda Moliver

Biira KittyMaliba PraiseMuhindo MaureenMutoni AllenNalikka SudayyahNamugga ShamulaNazziwa ChristineNabatta Immaculate Tracy
Asaba Gorgine Hanifa AyinzaBenah Namakula Victoria Nakayima Phiona Namagira

Nankaya RahumaMasika Habiba Nankya Veronica Nankoba Prossy Wanjanda Shadia
Kisakye BrendaJackline Victor NaigagaRoset KiraboBrenda Namaganda

Swabrah NampijjaBrendah NamwangaPatrica NabirongoSandra Rosemary NampiijaSaldat Biira
Elizabeth Aidah BangiGabriella Kiyonga Brenda Kagoya

Olivia Nabalemba Bushillah MuhammadGidah Nakawungu