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The Uganda Humanist Schools Trust was established in November 2008 as a charity to raise funds to support the efforts of Ugandan Humanists, who have founded three schools which offer students the alternative of liberal secular-humanist education:
The three founders met as students at Makerere University, where they worked to create the Uganda Humanist Association (UHASSO). In 2004 Deo, as then Chairperson of UHASSO, took the bold step of inviting the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) to host a "Humanist Visions for Africa Conference" in Kampala. Discussions at this meeting provided the catalyst for the creation of these pioneering humanist schools, which embrace Humanist principles.
In November 2008, they took the further step of forming the Uganda Humanist Schools Association to foster collaboration between the schools. The Association, chaired by Peter Kisirinya, is dedicated to monitoring educational standards, sharing best practice, promoting professional development and pioneering the development of a secular-humanist approach schooling.
All schools teach the Uganda national curriculum and prepare students for public examinations. At the same time, they aim to develop self-confident students who care for each other and for their local communities. The schools encourage students to be open minded and questioning. They are taught to respect evidence and to appreciate the need for shared human values. In order to foster a spirit of understanding, students are introduced to both religious, as required by the national curriculum, and secular humanist philosophies.
Deo Ssekitooleko, Director of Fair View School, expresses his aspirations as follows: "We are determined to protect students from any form of indoctrination, instead they will be exposed to various world views. They will be encouraged to think freely, to be rational and skeptical, to value and respect humanity and be tolerant towards others.
Practical skills for self employment and survival out of school will be encouraged. This is in response to a high level of unemployment among school leavers and drop outs. Field days will be organised for students to do practical work and get involved in community social welfare activities. School-community collaboration is our school's raison d'etre."
What's an FBB ENCORE?
Each year, beneficiaries drawing the highest level of member support and enthusiasm are featured again the following year as Encores. There is no limit to the number of years an organization may receive an "Encore" from the Foundation. After receiving unanimously strong support from FBB members, UHST returns this year as one of three Encore beneficiaries from 2010.