By Irumba Juma Siriwayo
Juma is Managing Director of Katumba Parents Humanist Nursery and Primary School, Co-Director of New Hope Humanist Schools, and a Board Member of the Coalition for Humanist Schools in Uganda. In this article, he shares the benefits of attending the 3rd Humanist Education Conference which took place at Isaac Newton Humanist High School from 30th August to 2nd September 2023. In the photo he is sitting with Steve Hurd who is Chair of the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust.
The conference covered a variety of topics including Principles of Positive Humanism, Attitudes towards God, the Golden Rule, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the American Humanist Association’s ‘Ten Commitments’. A selection of slides from the conference is shared below.
Key benefits of being with a group of like-minded people
I was inspired by sharing goals and aspirations, which helps us support each other as we head along the same direction of self-improvement and successful outcomes. Having people around us who share interests means we can lift each other up and boost our personal journeys. We crave relationships because we are social creatures, and we all need a safe environment in which to share many aspects of the pursuit of our goals. Sometimes we need a group we can be part of over a long period of time. When it comes to the soul and our personal self-development, there are many different types of groups we can become part of for more in-depth learning about ourselves with like-minded people.
Connecting with others who do the same or have similar goals, dreams and aspirations offers us so much:
1. Feeling not alone
At the conference I realised that there are people who are going through similar experiences in life to me, which was incredible. It was great to hear different viewpoints, and we were able to share positive growth experiences with others who going through the same struggles: this brought relief that I am not alone.
2. Unconditional support
Another lesson learnt at the conference was that a positive community environment is a place where everyone is willing to offer a helping hand, be a listening ear, and make suggestions in a bid to lift you up. Getting that type of a boost makes you want to reciprocate, and this creates a great cycle of positive energy. We often make decisions that those close to us don’t agree with, which can be incredibly demotivating. When we are surrounded by like-minded people, we know they will support our decisions without judgement, whilst being able to caution us on things we might not have taken into consideration, without being critical.
3. Guidance, assistance and accountability
At the conference I learnt that sometimes we discover something about ourselves that leaves us feeling discouraged or challenged. Being able to have a different perspective on what we are facing is so valuable for helping us work through our challenges. When we have supportive people
around us we are more likely to be spurred into action, as they give us the push we need to keep moving forward. They listen to our excuses, and can challenge us to move past them without
judgement. This helps us go beyond what we often think is possible, because they have our best intentions in mind.
4. They cheer us on
When we can share our successes and victories with others who have been through a similar
experience, it gives us such a boost in our self-esteem and confidence that we feel inspired and
encouraged to continue what we are doing. The more encouragement we get, the more we
want to continue succeeding.
5. Creativity and inspiration are stimulated
Being able to bounce ideas off one another is an excellent way to use synergy to spark new
ideas. To be successful, we need innovation and creativity, and others can help us improve an old
idea, develop a new idea, and generally help us tap into our own visions and dreams by focusing
on what is possible.
Being part of a community of like-minded people for a long period of time brings a commitment that is focused on helping each other succeed. Everyone has different strengths and skill sets, and this creates the perfect environment for figuring out together what is needed for everyone to be successful in what they want to achieve at any given time.
Building a relationship with someone else based on what you can do for them is a selfless
approach enabling us to accept what they have to offer unconditionally. And this makes us more
willing to open our minds and let others help us when we might need it the most, as it is based
on trust. And trust is what helps us make long lasting connections that become important
relationships. We need each other to be fulfilled.
Finally, after mingling with like-minded people during the conference, I was delighted to be elected to the Board of the Coalition for Humanist Schools in Uganda.