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Our 1,157 contributing humanist members have concluded another strong quarter of support for five outstanding non-profits. We will announce the grant totals in the coming week. Now let's meet the five new beneficiaries for third quarter 2012:
Education | Kasese Humanist Primary School
Kasese Humanist Primary School is a secular school offering Nursery and Primary education to young people ages 4-13 in the communities around Kasese Municipality in Uganda. The school is the first primary school in Uganda grounded in humanist values and ethics. In all subjects taught at school, the emphasis is on application of scientific and humanist principles in an effort to realize a child’s full potential.
At the end of the term in 2011, Kasese school had enrolled 191 students and had 12 teachers. Just $44 covers one teacher’s monthly salary, and $90 sponsors one student for a full year.
The school is grounded in humanism but importantly does not indoctrinate, instead encouraging free inquiry. From the website: "No form of indoctrination is undertaken at the school - there is a strong emphasis on critical thinking so that pupils can rationally assess evidence and differing points of view on any topic." They also include a comprehensive Religious Education curriculum.
Challenge the Gap | Hindu American Seva Charities
Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC) is a progressive American organization advancing seva (community service), interfaith collaboration, pluralism, social justice, and sustainable civic engagement to ignite grassroots social change and build healthy communities. The organization was formed in response to President Obama's Call to Serve with the support of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and is a service partner with the Corporation for National and Community Service.
In the short time since its 2009 launch, HASC has become one of the premier Hindu service organizations. Like FBB, it was founded in part to increase the engagement of those in their own worldview with humanitarian charitable efforts.
HASC seeks to mobilize communities through service and community-building at local and national levels to affect development. Its website notes that HASC seeks to "bridge the gap between US government and Hindu and Dharmic people, and between places of worship and secular organizations," a perfect fit for Challenge the Gap.
Though not a deciding factor, this represents the fifth of the five major world religions to be featured in CTG.
The Natural World | Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF)
The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) fights to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. Founded in 1979 by attorneys active in shaping the emerging field of animal law, ALDF has blazed the trail for stronger enforcement of anti-cruelty laws and more humane treatment of animals in every corner of American life. Today, ALDF's groundbreaking efforts to push the U.S. legal system to end the suffering of abused animals are supported by hundreds of dedicated attorneys and more than 100,000 members.
ALDF files groundbreaking lawsuits to stop animal abuse; provides free legal assistance to prosecutors handling cruelty cases; works to strengthen anti-cruelty statutes; encourages federal enforcement of existing animal protection laws; nurtures the future of animal law; and provides public education.
Human Rights | Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)
The Equal Justice Initiative is a private nonprofit organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system. They litigate on behalf of condemned prisoners, juvenile offenders, people wrongly convicted or charged with violent crimes, poor people denied effective representation, and others whose trials are marked by racial bias or prosecutorial misconduct.
EJI focuses its work on communities that have been systematically marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment.
Poverty and Health | Nourishing USA
Nourishing USA is an innovative organization that goes beyond feeding the hungry to improve nutrition and encourage healthy eating in communities across the U.S. NUSA began providing meals to the hungry in New York City free of charge several years ago and has now expanded to several U.S.-national programs. They encourage bodegas to include fresh produce and facilitate the creation of "green carts" (public produce stands), and their blog includes tips for including more healthy foods, healthy recipes, and urban gardening advice. NUSA also runs a junior chefs program, which is open to underprivileged kids aged 5-10 and includes kitchen and garden skills.
We look forward to bringing you the stories of these great organizations and those who benefit from their work in the coming months.