Bwambale Musubaho Robert is the School Director of the Kasese Humanist School (Rukoki/Muhokya/Kahendero). Here we talk about his life, views, and work.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What was early life like for you, e.g., geography, culture, language, religion or lack thereof, education, and family structure and dynamics?
Robert Bwambale: I am Bwambale Robert Musubaho born in a family of 4, 2 boys and 2 girls, I am the second born , All my parents passed away in my early years and was orphaned at 5 years.
Am born in a monogamous home and I grew up a mixture of polygamous homes in an African extended family setting where my uncles had polygamous families with several homes.
I attended a rural school called muruseghe primary School in my early years for seven years, then moved to a town school called Kampala High School and was there for two years, the other two years I was a school dropout, thereafter joined school again this time in a rural village school called Karambi secondary school where I was for two years, then joined Rwenzori High school for Advanced level and went to college where I attained a Diploma in Biological Sciences.
I grew up in a staunch Anglican devoted family and was baptized, confirmed in the early years but lost my faith as grew up during my college days. In my earlier years I was very critical and curious of religion.
The language we grew speaking was Lhukonzo, I belong to the Bakonzo tribe who speak the Lhukonzo language. It is the dominant tribe in the Kasese region. When I moved to Kasese town and Kampala in my youthful days I adopted other languages like Rutoro, Swahili, Luganda to mention but a few.
Jacobsen: What levels of formal education have been part of life for you? How have you informally self-educated?
Bwambale: I hold an Ordinary diploma in biological sciences and a certificate in Human resource management & Entrepreneurship
I have been informally self educated by growing up with curious minds, accepting to listen to stories and information from old people, my parents where ever I grew up and interacting with people I grew up with.
I grew up with a great passion of loving to explore the world, engage with friends and the internet revolution has helped me more as it has made me learn a lot of things on how to relate with others and to plan things that matter in making this world a better place.
Jacobsen: What are the current projects ongoing from before 2019 into 2019 for Kasese Humanist Schools?
Bwambale: The current projects ongoing are the Child Sponsorship program where we continue helping needy and orphaned children join or keep in school.
We have the chicken project where we are keeping the chicken for educational and income generation.
We have the vocational skills trainings in carpentry, welding, tailoring, art and craft making, auto mechanics and gardening.
The tree planting project is moving forward where we are creating a forest around the Rukoki school.
Jacobsen: What are the central difficulties of the construction of a humanist community and set of schools?
Bwambale: Accessibility to funding sources on the local scene is not easy.
Poor school fees payments by parents due to low income levels and people’s low attitude to educate children.
Threats from religious leaders in fear of humanist school principles that gives students the freedom to question everything.
Jacobsen: What are the most rewarding aspects of this life project and initiative for you, as this remains an incredible endeavor and achievement by you?
Bwambale: I feel great seeing Ugandan children getting an education through my efforts.
I am feeling happy when a I notice a section of Ugandans steadily adopting a reading culture exposing them to plenty of information which helps to broaden their minds and levels of thinking.
Creating jobs for people is also something am happy about , the teachers and non teaching staffs at the schools, orphanages, hostels and farmlands has helped improve on people’s lives.
Humanism being an alternate to religious bigotry is a good thing, it helps people to think out of the box and come up with critical and skeptical minds which is good and healthy for them.
Jacobsen: What are the stereotypes about humanists in Uganda? How does this impact the social and emotional lives of young Ugandan children?
Bwambale: Humanists in Uganda are doing good works in improving lives of people in different disciplines and even though there are threats of smear campaigns about what we stand for and what we are doing, the locals are perceiving a positive trend in us since we are always there to dispel the rumors and lies propagated by our enemies.
I am optimistic the young children of Uganda will not remain the same if they get exposure to the worldview which we stand for.
Jacobsen: What is the full curriculum provided for the pupils in a humanist education? How can other African nation-states learn from this example?
Bwambale: There is no designed curriculum in place but of recent we run critical thinking workshops, drills and debates on several topics. At our schools we are recommended to teach the Ugandan school’s curriculum and we spice it with the humanist values and ethos to generate an all round child.
Other African nations can copy a leaf of what we are doing and we all move in a direction where our students have exposure to secular ideas and rational minds.
We need Africa to embrace evidence based learning; this is the only way that we can kick off the beliefs in magic and superstitions which is synonymous of Africa.
They can set up schools on humanist foundations in their localities, access resources on humanism/atheism which is readily available online, can network with us and with other secular communities worldwide and can initiate debates or workshops on humanism related themes in their areas.
Jacobsen: What organizations can others help in order to support Kasese Humanist Schools, e.g., Brighter Brains Institute?
Bwambale: Other than Brighter Brains Institute, other organizations doing a wonderful work in changing lives are: Atheist Alliance International, Humanist Canada, Foundation Beyond Belief, Rationalist Society of Australia, Uganda Humanist Schools Trust UK, Manitoba Atheists, Halton Peel Humanist Community, Kalmar Humanists Sweden, Atheist Community of SanJose,
Jacobsen: How can people become involved with the donation of time, the addition of membership, links to professional and personal networks, giving monetarily, exposure in interviews or writing articles, and so on?
Bwambale: We do accept volunteers to come work with us in our projects, we welcome those who might be interested in fundraising for us online or in their areas of jurisdiction, or willing to feature us on their blogs and web pages for wider publicity.
We also welcome personalities with ideas that can push forward some of our projects like the Back packers and safari lodge project.
We also welcome mutual collaboration with potential organizations that we share with core humanist values.
Jacobsen: Any final feelings or thoughts based on the conversation today?
Bwambale: Am so thankful for your efforts to always interview me at specific times, this gives chance to people who cherish and value what I do to perhaps learn more about me.
I also appreciate those who have contributed to my initiatives over the years, you are doing good guys, you have made me what I am and not only me alone but many families including children are having good lives and getting an education.
With Science, we can progress.
Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Robert.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.
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