In 2011, a community of Ugandan humanists founded a school in Kasese, Uganda, in a nation where religious-based education is a standard part of the state curriculum. Based on the principles of humanism and science, the Kasese United Humanist Foundation’s school has grown to include three campuses and a hostel, serving children ages 3-13 of any background or religious belief. The school is doing a world of good.

But Kasese has not been spared from the widespread flooding that much of East Africa is currently experiencing.

Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda, and Ethiopia have all experienced heavy rainfall in recent weeks and hundreds have died while hundreds of thousands have been displaced. This is coming at a time when locust swarms—the worst in decades—are already threatening food security in the region.

Kasese flood 500px wide

Three major rivers in the Kasese district have burst their banks, restricting access to the region and flooding homes and businesses. Many of the students and staff of Kasese Humanist School have had to evacuate their homes. The school buildings themselves have thankfully not been flooded, but many of the farming projects that help provide food for the students have been damaged.

At the best of times, flooding like this would be an emergency. At this time, when the community is in lockdown to battle COVID19, health risks are a particular concern. Waterborne diseases are a risk for any flooding event and shelters could become hotspots for COVID19 transmission where social distancing is harder to maintain.

35923070_1935975436472837_8784094580095057920_oAs humanists, we know that no higher power will magically bring relief. Instead, we understand that we must support one another—and that we have a special responsibility to vulnerable communities.

Our hearts go out to our humanist colleagues in Kasese. We’re committed to helping the staff, students, and families of this vital school respond to these devastating floods. If you have the means, we hope you will join us by contributing to their immediate recovery.

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Photo credit: Massive flooding in the Kasese region of Uganda, May 2020 – Courtesy of Fiona Smith