Last fall I started using the term HOLISTIC LITERACY to try to describe what our Namuwongo Skills for Life program is about. It’s probably a little different for a teen girl living in the slum than it would be for someone in a developed country, so I want to explain both the what and the why.
Many of the girls in our residential and Skills for Life programs have never been to school. Of course, that means no reading, writing, and arithmetic, but in Uganda that also means no English.
Why? English is, after all, Uganda’s official language.
But there are 60+ tribal languages spoken in Uganda. The Namuwongo slum is like every other slum — a mix of displaced and desperate people who come to Kampala to try to have a better life. People tend to spend time with those of their own tribe and language. They do not speak English.
English is learned in school. In fact, it is actually illegal for schools to teach the tribal languages. They speak, read, and write in English.
BOTTOM LINE —> No school = no English
But there’s more to literacy (for us, at least!) than the three Rs and English. We add a meaningful vocational skill so girls have a lifetime of income potential.
If needed for immediate survival, we teach a smaller skill that can start bringing in some money right away.
We conduct health and hygiene workshops so girls — and boys — can physically take care of themselves.
We are adding a computer lab in 2022 to bring digital literacy and enable routine things like national ID card updates and job applications to be done by the girls themselves.
And we will begin using Neema Development’s Entrepreneur training this spring to bring basic business literacy to the girls.
If you read through that list again, these are things that you probably already know. You may not have been taught them, per se, but you picked it up along the way. You already live in a world of holistic literacy, and you use these skills every single day.
We believe the teen girls and teen moms in our program deserve that opportunity as well. They are smart, motivated, and hard-working, and they know the alternative. They are choosing a better life and doing what’s required every day!
THANK YOU for partnering with us as well change lives AND change the culture. If you want to make a donation, click the button – 100% goes to the programs!
At Ten Eighteen, we have always promised to use your funds in the most transformational ways possible. And WOW, did we outdo ourselves in January!
The Literacy Class launched, with 20 girls who are eager (desperate!) to learn basic reading, writing, English and math. Our own teen mom Gloria, from the Ross and now Suubi House, is the most dedicated student there. (She’s on the left with her son Imran.)
Skills for Life Tailoring and Hairdressing courses did their 2-week-split, dividing the more advanced students into the afternoon classes and the ones needing more help into the morning classes. Our goal is COMPENTENCY, so we want to make sure that the girls who need more time (usually because they are illiterate and don’t speak English) get everything they need.
The daycare is now open, and our staff is already exhausted! hahaha Having done daycare in my home for a year, many many years ago, I warned them that it is a LOT of work. They now believe me! But it’s going really well, and it is SO helpful for the moms who are in class to be able to leave their children for a couple of hours to fully concentrate and learn.
AND THAT’S NOT ALL!
Yesterday, we hired a full-time nurse. Today, we put in the order for the clinic furniture. By the end of the week, we will have stocked medication and supplies, and we should have a fully functioning and staffed clinic by Monday. We had 4 medical issues in January alone, so this will significantly help us in prevention, early treatment, and emergency care.
Sharon graduated from the Suubi House and moved with Patience to her first home of her own. She is working in a salon and told Ronald yesterday she has a new prospect for a better job. Shadia also graduated from the Suubi program and is in her own place, too! Both girls bring their kids to the daycare while they are working, so we see them — they’re doing great, and we’re so proud of them!
Bob Ditty had to postpone his photoshoot due to illness. We’ll let you know when that will be once we know.
The Advanced Tailoring class will be up and running by the end of February (probably sooner). While she waits, Ross/Suubi House resident Jenifer is doing an internship at a local tailoring shop.
We are now feeding over 60 people a day at the Ross House compound! We had to get a second stove!
Schools in Uganda FINALLY went back in session after 22 months. Wells of Hope in Rwakobo Village has 300 students! We provide food for Wells as well as Hopeland (150 students).
THANK YOU for your support and encouragement! We couldn’t do this without you! To become a monthly supporter or make a one-time donation, click the button. 100% goes to the programs!
As you know, we had a lot of donations in December. It was truly amazing! So we wanted to let you know how we’re using your money so far in 2022.
Right now – today – we have finished our daycare!
This has been a long-held dream for us. We’ve watched our teen moms go to class with babies on their backs or having to chase a toddler around during lessons, and it was (of course!) obvious what we needed. But we didn’t have the space or the budget. Until now!
Thanks to your donations, both directly and on DonorSee, we got the funds to create the daycare. Our soft opening is this weekend, and we will be open for “business” (it’s free!) on Monday. Our wonderful social worker Sarah, who has a baby of her own, is in charge.
The Literacy class had its last day of “soft launch” today, too. Monday is the official launch, and we’ve got 20 girls ready to learn basic reading, writing, English, and math.
Monday, the great photographer Bob Ditty is coming to spend the day doing a photo/video shoot. I had a Zoom meeting with him yesterday and can’t wait to see his images and videos. He usually works in rural areas of Uganda, so he’s very excited to take his work to the slum.
And then Tuesday, we start work on the clinic! Having a nurse and stocked clinic onsite will save us SO MUCH MONEY, not to mention catch the common illnesses like typhoid, malaria, and pneumonia early. The nurse will also conduct regular health and hygiene seminars, and visit our families in their homes. We are really excited to add this to our compound and community.
We have a DonorSee project up to help with the clinic. If you’re interested in helping us, click the button!
Thanks for all your support and encouragement – know that you are making a HUGE difference everyday!
For two years now, LITERACY has been on our minds. I started using the phrase “holistic literacy” last year as a way to describe a literacy that encompassed the whole of life.
We provide several forms of literacy to our residential teen moms:
they learn a skill in Skills for Life
they learn parenting skills
they learn household skills like cooking and budgeting
they learn coping skills to recover from past trauma and deal with life in the slum
Skills for Life has been providing vocational skills – 40 girls learned a skill/trade in 2021.
But most of our girls have never been to school, or were only able to go for a couple of years. They can’t read, write, or do basic math.
Many of them don’t speak English at all, which excludes them from a lot of public life and job opportunities since it is the “1st language” of Uganda.
Girls who can read are computer illiterate because they have no access to the digital world. With more and more things going online, including government services, they are excluded, too.
That’s why we are SO excited that THIS WEEK our Basic Literacy Program has launched!
20 girls have started on a journey that will open up the world to them in ways they could never have imagined.
We are so grateful to Expat Money for raising the funds for this project and so proud and excited at what these girls will achieve.
Our computer lab project is up on DonorSee — it’s a big, ambitious project, but we believe it’s a vital part of our holistic literacy campaign. We won’t get shown to the wider DonorSee audience until we’ve reached 10% of our goal, so if you’d like to help us just click the button below.
DonorSee listened, and their newest update means more of your money to our programs!
We have loved being on DonorSee, and have had over $8,000 in donations through the platform since September. It has allowed us to quickly respond to urgent needs as well as fund supplies for our students, a daycare, and more.
But the most common feedback from YOU was that 17% of your donation went to DonorSee, 3% to credit card fees, and only 80% to us directly. While your donations also helped us get traction with donors directly on the DonorSee platform at a 3-4 ratio, it was still a basic-math sticking point for a lot of you.
Well, DonorSee listened! This year, they started a Premium Membership for a limited number of partners, and we were invited! Now we pay a flat fee per month — $30 for the first 3 months and $100 after that — and all your donation comes to us (minus card processing). Since we “spent” $1303 on the 17% fee in just 4 months in 2021, this is a BIG deal for us!
With Term 1 of 2022 Skills for Life starting this week, several medical needs, and more up right now, we hope you’ll check it out and donate today! Every dollar counts, and goes to the programs.
Baby Liz received second degree burns this weekend after swatting a bowl of hot porridge out of mom Jenifer’s hand and onto herself. She was rushed to Nsambya Children’s Hospital where she is receiving daily treatment. She’s doing very well! We have a project up for her medical bill, if you’d like to help!
UPDATE: Liz was treated successfully and is fully healed! We are so grateful to our donors on DonorSee who gave to her medical bills!
When Ronald and I had our 2021 planning meeting at the end of 2020, we felt like we were really stretching on our 1-year goals for Touch the Slum, Skills for Life, and the very new Ross House programs.
And yet here we are, at the end of 2021, and we not only met all our goals for 2021, we met our goals through 2023!
Even with the (surprise) harsh total lockdown in June, we have gotten 40 girls through Skills for Life. We have not had a single drop-out!
The Ross and Suubi Houses are FULL — we have 6 teen moms in residence currently.
We will launch our fully funded (for a whole year, thanks to Expat Money) Basic Literacy Program on January 31, 2022 and we’ll take 60 girls through basic English reading, writing, and basic math.
We provided almost 94,000 meals in Namuwongo and Mbarara.
Nearly 40 projects have been funded since September on DonorSee.
The number of monthly donors more than doubled.
We have contracted for space that will more than double our capacity at the current Namuwongo compound. We hope to take full possession of this space by the first of January.
Over 1500 packages of sanitary pads have been given away to girls who can’t afford them.
…and much more!
Every single day, we touch the lives of teen girls in Uganda’s largest slum.