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Kasanga-Kaghema Orphanage School is “removed” as a humanist school

Posted: Fri, November 25, 2016 | By: Humanism

​Kasanga-Kaghema Orphanage School has been removed as a humanist school. It will no longer be funded by the Brighter Brains Institute (BBI), due to actions of the school that indicate lack of interest in humanism.

The two primary actions are:

1. BBI paid to have a sign installed that said “Kasanga-Kaghema Orphanage Humanist School.” The sign was installed, but it fell down and was never reinstalled. Kasanga-Kaghema claims that a pig was tied to the sign, and the pig pulled the sign down. But this does not explain why the sign was not immediately reinstalled. Kasanga-Kaghema says that they were waiting to get some concrete to install the sign permanently, but this reason does not seem satisfactory.

2. BBI’s volunteer in Kyarumba, Aaron Silver-Pells, visited Kasanga-Kaghema Orphanage School in October, and he saw no mention of the word “humanist” anywhere. Instead, he saw children wearing shirts that said “Jesus Cares” and small signs in the office that said “Jesus Cares.” When asked about this, Kasanga-Kaghema said that “Jesus Cares” was the previous name of the school, and the children still wore the shirts. BBI Program Director Hank Pellissier regards this explanation as unsatisfying—he thinks Kasanga-Kaghema should have represented the school as humanist, in school uniforms and signs around the school, instead of retaining the “Jesus Cares” slogan.

BBI’s removal of Kasanga-Kaghema is permanent and irrevocable.

BBI was not “heavily invested” in Kasanga-Kaghema - we never built a classroom for them, and we never installed a clinic. Kasanga-Kaghema was the school that BBI supported the least… but we did send them funding for teacher salaries, lunch food, orphan sponsorships, and pots and pans.

BBI is presently evaluating our relationship with the 8 new “converted” humanist schools in the rural areas. Out of the eight, Kasanga-Kaghema will be entirely removed as a humanist school, and three other schools will be placed in a probationary status, until we can determine if we want to continue funding them or not.

Four of the eight new “converted” humanist schools are in very good standing as humanist schools. Those four are Mother Givers School, Garama Secondary School, Kanyenze Primary School, and Nyakiyumbu Widows Orphanage School. All four are run by women’s collectives.

We are sorry to say goodbye to Kasanga-Kaghema Orphanage School, because we have heard that it is one of the best in Kyarumba—the children learn a lot in the school, and it is clean with very good teachers.

Classroom at Kasanga-Kaghema Orphanage School
Classroom at Kasanga-Kaghema Orphanage School

Why did Kasanga-Kaghema Orphanage School not commit itself to humanism? We have not received an answer, but it is easy to guess.

Overwhelmingly, Uganda is religious, primarily Anglican and Catholic. It is likely that Kasanga-Kaghema did not want to sufficiently advertise itself as humanist because they were afraid of offending the parents who have their children enrolled in the school. To keep tuition revenue flowing in, Kasanga-Kaghema probably chose to retain much of the “Jesus Cares” imagery, to reassure everyone that it hadn’t really changed.

That’s our guess, based on our experience…

Our humanism has encountered resistance at in many locations. We are certain this resistance will continue, but we are making great strides nonetheless.

The good news about dismissing Kasanga-Kaghema, and placing three other schools on probationary status, is that it allows BBI to focus its funding on helping the remaining wonderful schools that have indeed expressed a strong commitment to humanism.


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