Thank You For an Amazing June!

June has been a big month — and it seems like it was both long and short simultaneously. It feels like a long time ago I was there (and I’m trying to block the travel from my mind!), but the month has also flown by with a handful of truly heartbreaking situations.

And yesterday, we crossed $30,000 in donations made to us through DonorSee! THANK YOU for your support and encouragement that have made this possible.

I hinted at a large project coming soon, and that’s still on deck. Due to the emergencies we handled over the last couple of weeks, we moved the launch date to July 11. You’ll be hearing more about that next week — it’s a GREAT project that will really change a lot of things at Touch the Slum.

Exams started for all our Skills for Life classes this week. All the students get to show their skills and their creativity, creating unique hairstyles and clothing designs to impress their teachers. Many of the girls will start internships when exams are over, which is an awesome way for them to get real life experience and hopefully set them up for outside employment.

Skills for Life will be taking a month off, from July 15 to August 15. The residential girls will continue in their computer class and our Neema Development entrepreneurship training will continue during this time, but otherwise we will be repairing and restocking, planning and tweaking the curriculums, and generally taking a rest from the crazy busy first half of 2022.

Of course, our clinic will remain open and the daycare will be operating for the residential girls and staff.

In short, the first half of 2022 has been AMAZING, and we couldn’t be more grateful to you for your support. If you know anyone who would be interested in our work, please feel free to forward this email and direct them to our social media (and DonorSee!). We’re working on some things for the 3rd quarter of the year, and are always looking for ways to grow our supporter base.



Why a Village School Is So Important

As a general rule, I’m not a big fan of institutional schooling. Our family homeschooled for 13 years, and the pandemic years certainly taught us a few things about the state of education.


In Uganda, and especially in terribly poor, remote areas like Rwakobo Village, schools are critical. Especially schools like Wells of Hope that operates on a pay-if-you-can tuition system, with no mandatory uniforms, no testing fees, no “bring a broom, a case of toilet paper, and paper or you can’t come” rules.

For 40 years, this village’s children either didn’t go to school at all, or had to WALK nearly 10 miles each way to go. (It takes a half hour in the car to reach the closest town!) If they were lucky and had relatives in a town with a school, they could attend more easily, but for most, school was not even a remote possibility.

I absolutely believe that reading, writing, math, science, and geography (they learn American geography in primary school – for some reason no one knows – and don’t learn Uganda’s geography until secondary) are important. It’s a key to MORE in their lives.

But even more than that, for these village children, it’s a safety net.

  • They get food at school. For many, it’s the only food they get in a day.
  • They have advocates in their teachers and the administration, who are able to spot abuse and illness.
  • Gideon, Gilbert, and the other staff regularly visit the homes — even those that are 2-3 miles’ walk from the school — to check on families, to see why children have missed days, to try to help the families prioritize education.
  • For the girls, being in school has at least stalled childhood marriage practices. (We lost a handful of girls during the lockdown closure to this practice, and it’s heartbreaking.)

I know that many people, especially those familiar with the overall abysmal academic performance of schools in countries like Uganda struggle with the idea of helping them. For our newest board member Mikkel, the social and welfare aspects of supporting schools was new — and a game changer.

Because of the overwhelming demand when schools started back up after the 2-year break at the end of January, Wells of Hope took out a loan to build a second “real” building. (The photo above is the current P2, very overcrowded classroom!) We have been fundraising on DonorSee to get blackboards and furniture. The first classroom’s furniture project is over halfway funded — we just need $175 to complete it.

Click the button to donate!

Let’s buy desks and chairs!

We so appreciate your support!

Webele nyo,


A Great Loss At DonorSee

Dear Jennings,
We deeply regret to inform you of the unexpected and tragic passing of our inspirational Founder, Gret Glyer.

The DonorSee team is in shock. Our thoughts, love, prayers, and support are with Gret’s beloved wife Heather, his children, and family and friends.

We ask that you keep them in your prayers at this time.

Over the coming days, we will follow up with more details.

Patrick Weeks 
Chairman, DonorSee.

I spoke with Gret a number of times, and his enthusiasm and vision permeated DonorSee. He had a big vision, but was also open to suggestions and ideas to make the platform better for donors and partners alike.

I know his family, friends, and the DonorSee team would appreciate your thoughts and prayers right now.



When the Ship Hits the Span

When I was in grad school in Pensacola many moons ago, a big ship ran into the bridge going over to the beach and broke it. It caused huge issues, since many people commuted to work. Ferries had to be set up, etc. But the “best part” was that, within 24 hours, some bright lad or lass was selling tee shirts that said, “I was there when the ship hit the span.” Brilliant – I’m sure they made a killing!

That phrase has stuck in my head in the nearly 40 years since, as the “nice way” to say, well, the other phrase about bad events.

The last 10 days have been one slow-moving ship aiming at the span.

  • the 16 year old girl raped and impregnated by her father
  • one of our Literacy program students becoming homeless and living in a church with her family
  • another Lit student whose aunt is trying to prostitute her to bring in money for food
  • Now, our landlord didn’t pay his property tax bill in conjunction with a broke KCCA desperate for money which has suddenly “reassessed the value.” The gate to our compound has been sealed and the water turned off until we pay a month’s rent 2 months in advance so he can pay off the debt

My staff is exhausted, Ronald is frustrated, and I am ready to head to the beach and stay there! And then there’s the state of the economy in general, both here and there… Which is better not thought about, to be honest.

In our 13 1/2 years working in Namuwongo, this isn’t the first crappy week. We’ve had people’s homes bulldozed in the middle of the night. Two years of incredibly harsh (and even more incredibly harshly enforced) lockdowns. Primary school girls sold off as brides. Fathers shot and killed for poaching to feed their family.

It’s HARD.

And yet, it’s these hard things, these TIA things (This Is Africa), these frustrations and set backs, that make all the GOOD things so sweet. All the laughter more joyous. All the accomplishments more amazing.

I’m incredibly proud of our team, our work, and how far we’ve come. I’m incredibly grateful for all of you who have come alongside to help us — in the hard things and the great things. We really can’t thank you enough!

Webele nyo,


PS We have a lot of “hard things” projects up right now on DonorSee, and we’re close to our June goal of crossing $30,000 raised on the platform. Even $10 goes a long way — please click below to see the projects! 100% goes to the program.

Click Here for Projects!

We’re Almost At a Big Milestone

Back in August, we got invited to chat with DonorSee to see about becoming one of their partner organizations. I’d never heard of them before, but Mikkel (our newest board member) had done a podcast with DonorSee’s founder Grett, which led to the connection.

Long story short, we did our trial private project, got that funded, and launched site-wide in September. It was a pretty steep learning curve, but we were determined to figure it all out — and here we are!

TO DATE, we have:

  • Had 117 projects funded
  • Raised almost $29,000 (at the time of this writing)
  • Gotten 5* reviews from all 14 reviewers
  • Engaged 72 dedicated followers
  • Gotten donations from over 400 different donors

Now, we are right at the edge of milestone:


We only need another $310 to fund the desks and chairs for one classroom at Wells of Hope Primary School.

Fauza’s medical project is 15% funded.

And we’ll have our second LARGE project up in a week — a small FARM to provide a sustainable source of food plus giving skills to our girls.

Can you help us cross $30,000 in June??

Webele nyo!


PS To see all our projects on DonorSee, click the button! And give us a Follow there, so you stay up to date. (A review would be amazing, too!)

Click Here for Projects!

When Culture Gets You Down

I’ve been traveling to Uganda for a long time — 13 years now. And I’ve spent a lot (a LOT) of time in the slum. So I’m pretty used to the culture, the difficulties, the injustices.

But this week…

We have just had an emergency admission of a pregnant 16 year old who was raped by her father.

I’ll pause while you throw something… I know I wanted to.

Of course, most of us are immediately screaming things like, “LOCK HIM UP!” But no. He isn’t going to be locked up. He isn’t even going to be arrested.

Why? Because the GIRL is the one who will be blamed. The GIRL is the one whose life will be ruined if it is made public. We aren’t even telling more than a few people in our own staff because we have to protect her.

She and her sister are terrified. Of the father beating or even killing them. Of others if they find out.

The mother is leaving them in the slum — to the mercy of their father — and going back to the village.

I’ll pause again for you to throw something else…

So we’re doing our best to protect both girls, deal with the extreme trauma through counseling, and find a safe way forward for them.

We’d all appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

Webele nyo,


PS We’ll have a project up for this once we can figure out how to do it and create a safe situation and protect anonymity. Meanwhile, you can become a monthly donor or make a one-time donation to help us with this and similar situations. We’d really appreciate your support!

I want to donate!

There’s a Growing Food Crisis In Uganda

Just like everywhere these days, food prices have gone crazy in Uganda. While somewhat lucky in that it only gets 60% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine (vs 100% for many African countries), it also usually gets a lot of the remaining supply from India, which has cut off wheat exports due to their own problems.

Additionally, fuel has doubled in the last several months, so that per gallon it’s now over $7.30. (They sell by the liter and it’s always more than here in the States, but this is brutal!) Obviously this effects the price of everything!

Finally, seasonality + fuel prices + supply chain problems have created a huge food crisis in the country, and particularly among the poorest — which is who we work with.

Our own food budget at the compound has doubled since January — and we’re even buying less food! Some things are completely off the menu, like chapati, and serving sizes have been reduced a bit to try to stretch the budget.

After a lot of talk, we have decided to create a large project on DonorSee to purchase 2-3 acres of land to start a small farm. Not only will this give us a sustainable source of food, it will also allow any girls who want to learn to grow food the chance to get new skills. (There’s not a lot of farming in a slum of 30,000 people!)

The project will launch next week! We’re still finalizing some prices, since everything seems to go up every day, and working on a video to show just what this project can achieve. We hope you’ll check it out once we launch, and help us continue our goals of sustainability and teaching lifetime skills to our teen moms.

Webele nyo!


PS To donate to the farm project, click the button!

Wow, You Really Came Through!


Seriously, maybe I need to go away more often because just in the time I was on my trip, we raised nearly $4000 on DonorSee!

FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS! Wow. I’m blown away!

What did you accomplish?

  • blackboards for the new Wells of Hope Primary building
  • a substantial start on part 1 of desks and chairs for the building
  • orphan Miriam’s medical care after she was hit by a boda
  • almost 60% of the transportation for Kellen to her father’s burial
  • medical care for teen mom Mabel’s two sick children
  • a metal crutch for Emmanuel, who was born with one leg
  • help for Clare, the teen mom living in the chicken coop
  • an exit package for teen mom Gloria, to set her up for independence
  • restocking food for our teen girls
  • mosquito nets for 25 students in Skills for Life
  • an emergency intake for 15-year-old pregnant teen Sylvia
  • a 4-bed dormitory for homeless students in Skills for Life
  • medical treatment for Jen’s UTI

Y’all, I was only gone 2 1/2 weeks! THIS.IS.AMAZING!!

Your support while I was gone, beyond this amazing giving, was so appreciated. I got emails and messages on social media, and it was so encouraging. Because it’s hard over there…

Great. But hard. Thanks to all of you, the trip was a success in every way. I really can’t thank you enough!

Webele nyo!


PS Becoming a monthly supporter is a GREAT way to help our work! As little as $10 a month makes an impact — $10 can provide food for a teen mom and her child for a week! Just click the button to get started —>

And So It Ends… Leaving On a Jet Plane

I leave tonight (Wednesday) at 11:30pm. I’ll check out of the hotel at 10:30 in the morning, grab some of my son’s favorate Kamulali hot sauce, spend several hours at the office, and then go on to Entebbe and the airport. There’s a good lounge in EBB, and honestly, what else is there to do when you’re just sitting around anxious to be on your way?!

The trip has been GREAT. Really great.

After 2+ years away thanks to the pandemic response, I am thrilled to see in person all that we — and YOU — have built.

The Touch the Slum compound is thriving, with 12 residents, 60 students, a clinic, a daycare, 20 staff, and so much enthusiasm.

The Literacy class went even better than we expected, and those girls are ready to sit in on vocational classes and get a feel for what they’ll be doing next term.

Our photography and videography team — which started as a vocational class, too — has been producing the really great work we use in social media and on DonorSee. Their short film was part of the Ugandan Film Festival. They’re also getting outside gigs, and are now “influencers” on TikTok and getting paid just to mention businesses!

We’re reaching even more teens with Teen Talk and Turning Point each week.

And out west, schools are back in session FINALLY, and the students are doing well. The school building at Wells of Hope Primary in Rwakobo Village is almost usable. We’re going to put an ecobrick water tank at Hopeland Primary to help them have enough — and free — water.

Spending time with all the wonderful people we’ve been able to gather to Ten Eighteen Uganda, Touch the Slum, and the two schools has been inspiring and motivating. I’m headed back with renewed energy (okay, maybe renewed AFTER I get over jet lag!).

I’ve been really grateful that we’ve video chats and messaging over the last two years. But there is nothing like sharing meals, walking the slum or village, laughing, chatting, and watching in person. The former will let me come once a year and still be 100% “in the know.” The latter lets me truly KNOW. I’m grateful!



PS. We have 2 projects up on DonorSee to allow the Wells of Hope building to open – one is for floors and blackboards, the other for desks and chairs (part 1). (That one is almost 20% funded already.) We’d so appreciate your support to move the kids from the overcrowded mud-and-stick classes to the spacious new ones as soon as possible!

The Fastest Boy On One Leg

Emmanuel (Manuel for short) is in Primary 3 at Wells of Hope, and so happy that school started back in January after nearly two years of closures. He loves running around, playing football, and being a regular kid.

There’s just one difference: Manuel has only one leg.

He was born this way, and watching him move you would never really connect that one of his “legs” is actually a crutch. He uses that crutch as easily and naturally as can be — it’s pretty amazing.

But Manuel’s crutches have always been made out of wood, and as a typical, active boy, that wood breaks. When that happens, Manuel can spend a week out of school while another one is located, and funds figured out.

This means he not only loses a valuable week of education and food, he also has no means of movement outside sitting on his bum and scooting around. His family couldn’t afford a wheelchair, but also, his home and the surrounding village aren’t really places a wheelchair can go easily. So he waits.

We have a project up on DonorSee to buy Manuel a metal crutch, so he can play football and run to his heart’s content. We’d love your help to give this amazing kid an amazing gift.

Webele nyo!


Let’s gIve Manuel a metal crutch!