And finally, we’re pretty close to our goal for year end fundraising at DonorSee – which was a stretch goal to begin with. We’ve had 6 projects funded in the last 24 hours! If you want to help today or tomorrow, you can go to this page and either make an unspecified donation or see all our project.
We SO appreciate all your support, encouragement, emails, and (of course) donations over this last year — you’re the best!
When 15-year-old Brenda’s baby was just one week old, her mother beat her severely and threw them both out into the street in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothes they were wearing.
Fortunately, the local LC lady knew about our program and brought her to us in the early morning hours. Brenda got shelter, clothing, food, and, in the morning, medical treatment from Nurse Sherry at our clinic.
Next term, Brenda will start in Skills for Life, and she’s taking part in the Literacy program, too. All at no cost to her!
We have had several dozen teen moms in our residential and vocational programs. Some come to us homeless, desperate, and ill, like Brenda. Some live with a parent, an auntie, or a friend and have a somewhat stable (if challenging) home life.
All have little hope of a future outside of a cycle of sex work and unplanned babies, probably with HIV/AIDS thrown in at some point.
Until Touch the Slum!
We are the only organization in Namuwongo — home to over 30,000 people — working with teen moms. We are the only organization in the slum that offers free vocational and literacy training. And we are the only organization that has a free residential program for both teen moms and for Skills for Life students who become homeless while enrolled.
How do we do it? YOU!
Your generosity impacts the lives of these destitute teen moms every single day. It creates a safe harbor, opportunity, stability, education, medical care, food, and hope.
Every dollar you give to Ten Eighteen — 100% — goes to teen moms like Brenda who just need a hand up so they can create a sustainable life for themselves.
Your year end donation will enable us to keep saving lives and offering opportunity — not with handouts, but with hand-ups.
PS Please share this email with your family and friends and let them know why you support Ten Eighteen. Word of mouth is a precious gift that keeps on giving!
PSS As I wrote in the Subject line, last night we had our 200th project on DonorSee funded! The farm project is 85% funded and we have a donor who has said if we can “get closer” he’ll close it out by year end. Can you give a little extra to help us have a fully funded farm going into 2023?
The girls get water bottles thanks to partners on DonorSee
When we homeschooled, I learned an important lesson: It’s almost impossible to do any “real” learning between Thanksgiving and Christmas! And I remember that as a child, too. While we all counted down to Christmas, it was really Thanksgiving (in the US) that was the start of the holiday distraction season.
Our girls are way more motivated to learn than we were!
We celebrated Thanksgiving with a feast, and tomorrow we’re having a Christmas lunch for all our students and residents. Then we start our Christmas break, which will go to January 9th. They’re already sad to go! (Don’t worry, the most vulnerable girls will be coming back daily for a meal.)
If you’re new here, you’ll soon find out that we believe in fun, celebration, and gratitude every bit as much as we believe in hard work, healing, and opportunity.
These next few weeks are important for everyone. We implemented a LOT of new programs in 2022: Literacy, Digital Literacy, Advanced Tailoring, Neema Development Entrepreneurship, the daycare, and the clinic.
Our staff has worked tirelessly to counsel, support, encourage, and teach. They’ve managed crisis situations, discovered abuse, provided love and support, and celebrated accomplishments. It’s not an easy job, but they are all from the Namuwongo community and committed to our mission.
None of this would have been possible without YOU, and all we can say is
Tweyanzizza nnyo, tweyanzeege — we are so grateful, thank you very much!
PS If you haven’t visited our year end campaign page on DonorSee, head over there! It’s pretty cool, with a goal meter and all our projects! Click the box!
I’m still in Panama until (earlyyyy) tomorrow morning. The weather has been great, the fundraiser was wonderful (donations still coming in), and yes, I’m looking forward to getting home. Because HOLY COW Christmas is right around the corner!
I don’t have a picture (yet) from the party. It was crowded and loud and I couldn’t get to my phone (and didn’t have any pockets), plus I was schmoozing and eating tacos. Mikkel’s wife was taking video though, so I should have something soon and I’ll share.
The Expat Money community has raised about $4,000 for Literacy 2.0 so far, which is amazing!
I’m going to open the project up to everyone now, so let me tell you what Literacy 2.0 is all about.
In 2022, we took 60 girls from illiteracy to speaking, reading and writing English as well as doing basic math. This is HUGE, as illiteracy is endemic in the slum, and most especially for girls.
In 2023, we want to vastly increase the number of girls we can take through this program. If we can triple it, that’s our big goal – but we’ll grow it as much as funds allow. Every girl deserves Literacy, and we’ll continue working to make that possible.
You can donate now by clicking the button!
As always, 100% goes to the program. We thank you so much for all your support and encouragement — because of you, 2023 is looking like the best year yet!
I love to travel. I’ve been to over 60 countries and lived in several. Pre-pandemic days, I was averaging 4-5 international trips a year. (And I miss it!) While all the fun has been sucked out of air travel over the last decade, traveling itself never gets old.
Tomorrow morning, I head back to Panama!
Some of you know that our Board member, Mikkel Thorup, lives in Panama City where he runs his businesses for the worldwide expat community. My husband and I were down there in March for Mikkel’s birthday party and really had a good time. (We like the country and beach more than the city – and Panama City has a whole lot of very tall, very skinny buildings that make me nervous!)
For the Expat Money Christmas party, Mikkel is hosting a silent auction to fundraise for Ten Eighteen. I’ll say a few words and answer questions. Last year, the Expat Money community raised over $8000 to launch our Literacy program!
This year, our goal is $16,000 to launch Literacy 2.0 to triple our reach.
Expanding Literacy to more girls will help them throughout their lives, and more immediately in Skills for Life. Reading, writing, and speaking English will allow them to get jobs or have small businesses that cater to people from other tribes who live in Namuwongo – there are 60 tribes in Uganda and all have representatives living in the slum. English is the common tongue. It will also give them knowledge and skills they can pass on to their own children, giving those kids a head start.
I’ll be gone from tomorrow until the 14th – you can find daily updates on social media (links below) to see who I meet and what I’m doing.
I’m really grateful to Mikkel and the Expat Money community for their ongoing commitment to Literacy for girls who’ve never had the chance to go to school!
PS Our farm project is now 83% funded! We’ve raised $21,540, with just $4,360 to go. Starting the 15th, we’ll be getting the compound ready for a full-time farmer by installing a small solar system for lights, digging a borehole for water, and getting basic furnishings. You can help us get the farm funded THIS YEAR by donating now! Click the button – every dollar counts!
There are a lot of things that make Touch the Slum different from other NGOs and community organizations in Namuwongo, but the main one is simple.
We believe in FUN.
When I say that to people, they are often skeptical. Sort of the, “Wait, I thought you were a *serious* organization!”
We ARE serious. We are also striving for something better: cultural change.
Uganda as a whole has a very clear social hierarchy. There are the village and the city people. There are the chiefs and the educated who run things, and the poor and uneducated underneath. There are the connected and the forgotten.
It is “common knowledge” that anyone living in a slum (and there are more slums in Uganda than just Namuwongo, which is the largest) deserves to be there. “Those people” are drug addicts, thieves, prostitutes… in short, they’re written off.
And guess what? “Those people” rarely get the chance to experience the full breadth of human existence. They get a heaping plateful of sorrow, struggle, starvation, and sickness. The only fun or hope they get is a few sprinklings here and there.
We reject that.
We acknowledge that life in the slum is often catastrophically hard. Our primary mission is to create opportunities for teen moms and teen girls to build a sustainable — ie less hard — life for themselves.
But we also want them to have a reason to make difficult changes in their lives. Something worth fighting for on hard days.
Love, laughter, dancing, joy, good food, an outing, pizza, chicken and chips, ice cream, new shoes… These things give dimension and color to an otherwise black-and-white monotonous existence.
So we believe in fun. We believe in dance parties. We believe in Santa Clause (hats) and Christmas trees and Thanksgiving feasts and roasted goat for Christmas Eve. We believe in game days and art and books.
In short, we believe in hope.
PS We have a dedicated “year-end” page on DonorSee now, with a goal meterand everything! You can check it out below — it shows you our progress and all our open projects. It’s pretty cool! (And we’re already more than 40% of the way there!)
Tweyanzizza nnyo, tweyanzeege — we are so grateful, thank you very much!
Giving Season is just starting, but you’ve helped us start with a bang! If you didn’t get a chance to give yesterday (we still have some of the $5000 matching grant we can capture!), just click here!
PS We’d love for you to share Ten Eighteen and Touch the Slum with your family, friends, and coworkers to grow our family over this next month!
PSS Today is my grandmother Ross’s birthday – she would have been 109 if she hadn’t passed away in 2020. (For the math-challenged, she lived to 106 1/2!) She’s my inspiration and the reason we started the Ross House two years ago, which led to all of our programs at Touch the Slum. I was very blessed to have had her for so long!