We appreciate your encouragement over 2022 – it’s been a great year!
We appreciate your encouragement over 2022 – it’s been a great year!
16-year-old Husinah is having a stellar year! She was in our first-ever Literacy Class, and just graduated a couple of weeks ago from Basic Tailoring. (If you didn’t see the video from that EPIC graduation, go check it out on Instagram!)
But she didn’t stop there — now she’s in Advanced Tailoring, and look what this gal is doing: TAKING NOTES.
She’s TAKING NOTES, y’all… She was totally illiterate at the start of 2022!
I don’t know about you, but I find that absolutely astonishing. And how did this happen?
Some of you donated to the Expat Money Community’s fundraiser at the end of 2021 which paid for the Literacy Program to launch and run through this year. Some of you donated on DonorSee for supplies for Skills for Life. Some of you are monthly donors who help us keep the lights on and the electric sewing machines running all day.
When I first saw this picture, I looked at the usual things – Husinah’s pretty dress, her concentration, the machine. And all of the sudden it hit me what a monumental win this is, because it seems so normal.
This isn’t normal for the majority of girls in the Namuwongo slum. Our goal is to change the culture one girl at a time until it is. Thank you for joining hands with us to make it happen!
PS We have a project up for supplies for this term’s Literacy class – they go through a lot of notebooks, crayons, pencils, pens, art supplies, and paper! If you can help, just click!
I’ve spent a lot of time with my Ugandan friends trying to explain the concept of seasons. (I haven’t been that successful!)
In Uganda, there are just rainy and dry seasons – two of each per year. We are coming to the last few weeks (we hope!) of this fall’s rainy season, which has been brutal.
Our own programs have been affected, as you can see from the picture above of Hopeland Primary School in Mbarara. Wells of Hope and the surrounding village in Rwakobo have had even more significant flooding. The work on the farmhouse was delayed significantly by rains.
You may not know it, but Kampala is about 3000 feet above sea level. I’ve only had one trip in 14 where I was hot — often I’m wearing jeans and a sweatshirt! And few windows have glass in them so the damp cold is hard to get away from when it never seems to stop raining.
We’ve had several girls struggle to control their asthma during this time, and about three times the usual number of respiratory illnesses. We’ve even had some cases of dysentery due to all the contaminated water girls have to walk through to get to class.
So… Did you know that you can sign up as a monthly sponsor of our Haven Clinic? It’s true! We are at 40% right now. There’s no minimum to be a sponsor, and it really helps us keep all our teen moms and teen girls healthy by paying Sherry’s salary and restocking the medications we use daily.
PS Bonus picture of Sylvia with her new baby boy (no name as of yet) coming home from the hospital to lots of love yesterday!
I woke up to the good news and wanted to give you a quick update –
Sylvia went into labor yesterday evening, and the baby boy was delivered this morning. They’re both fine, and hopefully one of our team will be allowed in the hospital soon. Since minor surgery was involved she’ll be there for a few days – I’ll update you when I know more.
In 2020, we got connected with GreatNonprofits online. At the time, we didn’t even realize people could give through the platform — we were just happy to be able to be listed in a way that people could find out about us.
For a small nonprofit, that’s a pretty big deal. And it brought in more than $1000 in donations over the past year.
Now we only have 3 more weeks to get the award for 2022.
It only takes a few minutes to leave a 4* or 5* review, but it means a lot to us for the upcoming year. Just click the button below now, and let the world know what you love about Ten Eighteen and Touch the Slum.
Sylvia’s labor stopped and the hospital sent her back to the Ross House with “exercises and advice to walk” to induce labor. She’s one week overdue now, according to estimates, and they’d rather the baby not get bigger.
We’ll keep you posted!
PS We do have a project up for the birthing kit we have to provide for all the pregnant girls to take with them to the hospital. It’s 22% funded (but 100% already paid for!) so we’d love for you to consider a $25 donation.
Sylvia, right in front of me in the striped skirt and top, is in labor. She was still 15 when I was in Uganda in June – very young!
Nurse Sherry took her to Amani, which is a charitable organization that helps teen mothers and will do deliveries if it isn’t high risk. Unfortunately, they have referred her to a hospital because her age and physical development mean she may not be able to deliver naturally.
They’re on their way to Naguru Hospital as I type this… Of course, everyone is a little concerned for both Sylvia and the baby.
We’d appreciate your thoughts and prayers today for a safe delivery for both, and, if she needs a c-section, for a skilled doctor to be on shift.
I’ll keep you posted.
Thanks so much!
Brenda, above, is just barely 16. (I know, she looks about 12…) She was admitted in the middle of the night when the local authorities brought her to us with her ONE WEEK OLD baby.
Brenda has been living with her mother, who recently lost her job. On Saturday night, she beat Brenda severely and threw her and the baby out of the house and into the street.
Fortunately, we have a very good relationship with the police and local governmental authorities and they brought her to Touch the Slum. She is now living in the Ross House and receiving food, clothing, medical care by Nurse Sherry, and lots of love and attention from Mama Santa.
I’d love to say this kind of thing is uncommon.
Unfortunately, it isn’t, and the very high inflation and cost of food has caused an increase in domestic violence, child abuse, and teenage pregnancy in the slum.
We are the only program of our kind in Namuwongo, which is home to over 30,000 people. Fortunately, we had room to take in Brenda and another 16-year-old, Leticia, over the last week. And that’s because of YOU.
Your dollars are working 24/7 to keep girls like Brenda safe and to provide them a way out of this cycle of pregnancy and homelessness.
We are so grateful that you choose to partner with us so that we don’t have to turn these girls away. Webele nyo!
PS Of course we have projects up on DonorSee for Brenda and for Leticia! When girls like this come to us, they literally have the clothes on their backs and nothing else, so we provide an entry packet with toiletries, sheets and towels, clothes and shoes, diapers, and other items for the baby. We’d love for you to help support one of these girls as they get back on their feet!
October has been amazing!
Here’s what going on at Touch the Slum (and Wells of Hope Primary School) already this month:
Our biggest-ever graduation happened on Saturday and it was amazing! I’ll be making a video to put on our YouTube channel this week, but for now, you can see the joy in the girls’ faces above as 35 graduated in Literacy, Tailoring, Advanced Tailoring, and Hairdressing. We had quite the fashion show thanks to the Advanced Tailoring girls — you’ll have to wait for the video or check out the Reel I posted on Sunday on Instagram.
The project for graduation funded 100% on Sunday, which was wonderful! We ended up having to rent a tent because of the weather, and the regular costs add up, too. So we’re really grateful for the support!
HUGE thanks go out to Board member Mikkel Thorup and his Project Manager Dom Alves (who lives in Brazil!) for a complete re-do of our website. We’d been on SquareSpace for a long time because, well, it’s easy! But it lacked functionality, and we were ready to be able to do some new things with it. It launched this past weekend, and we’re SUPER happy and grateful — check it out and let us know what you think!
WELLS OF HOPE PRIMARY
Some of you will remember from my last visit that Wells of Hope had gotten a loan to build a second brick building, but didn’t have the money for the concrete floors, blackboards, windows or desks. We’ve been chipping away at that on DonorSee, funding the blackboards, and going one class at a time for desks and windows.
A local donor funded the cement floors, which was amazing. Then last week, we got the first 5 windows put in. That so inspired someone that Gideon knew that they donated the remaining 19 windows! Now all we need is 12 sets of the glass inserts, and we’re rain-proof.
We also funded the 3rd classroom’s desks! The order went in for those yesterday, so we’ll be installing them in a week or so. Then on to classroom #4.
This is HUGE for the incredibly poor village of Rwakobo – who didn’t have a school EVER until Wells of Hope opened in 2019. (And then closed for 2 years thanks to government pandemic policies.) Gideon and everyone out there is amazed by the generosity shown to their little school, and we really are so grateful.
Thank you so much for following along with us on this great journey.
PS We are planning our holiday cards EARLY this year! (I know, it’s a shock!) If we don’t have your physical address, we’d love to add you to our mailing list so you can get the occasional greeting from Ten Eighteen. Just hit Reply – we won’t share, spam, or visit, we promise!