The trip coming up in January will be my seventeenth trip to Uganda. In January 2009, we funded the rent for a building for Ray of Hope’s outreach to women and children in Namuwongo. On our first trip in September of 2009, we made our first visits to the slum.
I’ve been down in the “community” (the slum proper) at least a hundred times, conservatively.
And I can still be shocked.
Many of our girls have one outfit and one pair of shoes, usually knock-off cheap “Crocs”. I know this. I’ve known this. It’s a challenge.
But what I’ve learned since launching Touch the Slum is that many have no knickers (underwear) at all, and that their families often don’t consider it their “responsibility” to provide them.
Let’s be real for a second: teen girls have periods.
Even girls who can’t get sanitary pads need to use rags during their cycles. Practically speaking, underwear is pretty vital at least a week a month.
Owning zero or just one pair of knickers is a problem. They can’t come to class one week a month. They can’t go out of their house one week a month. They can’t launder their one skirt or dress without being left unclothed while it dries, which obviously leaves them completely housebound.
I don’t know about you, but I find that completely unacceptable. (To be honest, very few things make me actively angry… but this is one of them!)
Each term, we do a project to supply girls in need with underwear, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. Each term, you come together to help us fund this, so that no one misses class due to a lack of knickers. Together with our monthly sanitary pad distribution, you keep girls in class and active their community. And you help them keep their dignity.
It’s amazing how such a small thing can completely transform a life! To help, just click the button.
Tweyanzizza nnyo, tweyanzeege — we are so grateful, thank you very much!
PS If you’ve missed our My Story series so far, you can always visit our YouTube channel to see those and other great videos on our work in Namuwongo.