Skills for Life

We Had a Fashion Show – and It Was Great!

When I tell people that we take 3 weeks to do final exams – in a program where the coursework goes 4 months – they are amazed. And a bit horrified, thinking back to their own school exams.

But that’s not how we roll…

During our exams, the Tailoring girls each make a two set designs: a school uniform and a work uniform. These are things they can make money doing in a small business, or get a job doing at a small factory.

Then they get to create a dress, and WOW! These are their own designs, their own creations, their own imaginations. Then they do a fashion show expo to show off their work.

Not only did they do a great job, they had SASS. Attitude. Pride. They strutted down the “runway”, popping their hips and twirling for the audience. It was great!

Why is this more than just a fun anecdote?

The girls in Skills for Life are among the poorest of the poor. Most have never been to school. Many are teenage mothers who have engaged in sex work to survive. Not only did their mothers not encourage them to great things in the world — they often are the ones encouraging them into prostitution.

NO ONE expected anything, literally anything, from these girls.

Until they came to Touch the Slum.

Without fail (so far!) they rise to the expectation, and it’s truly glorious to watch.

THANK YOU – you are the one making this possible. This smile, this sass, this HOPE. That’s on you!

Webele nyo!


PS Our project for funding the hairdressing supplies for final exams is 77% funded — we just need $65. We’d love your help to close it out! Click —->

Exam Supplies Project

How a Farm Will Let Us Lean Into the Wind

Every week day, Mama Santa makes lunch for about 75 teens and adults, with another dozen or so children. The lunch above was on the day we went to the market for fresh groceries, so we go the added treat of eggplant, carrots, and avocado. Most days, we just had beans (made with a little onion and tomato) and posho or rice.

Posho is the least expensive carbohydrate available in Uganda — it’s finely ground maize mixed with water and cooked firm, or else mixed with water or milk and a little sugar for a porridge. On its own, it doesn’t taste like much, but it’s filling and good with beans. However, eating nothing but this day in and day out is not a recipe for optimal health!

For an increasing number of our day students, this is the only meal they get each day. There is no food at home.

Even before the daily price increases of the last 6 weeks, we had decided that we needed a self-sufficient solution for the growing food issues. We’ve spent a few months researching and pricing everything from laying hens to concrete posts to acreage, and will be launching our new farm project on DonorSee on Monday.

This is our biggest project to date, and our second “large” project on DonorSee. We have our computer lab thanks to our first, and we are even more excited about the farm.

Not only will we be able to provide vegetables and fruits, protein from eggs and moringa, and grind maize on site, we will be able to take any girls interested in learning about farming and agriculture out to work the land. While many of our teens’ families came from rural villages, our girls haven’t learned the skills that their parents and grandparents knew — and they are excited to learn!

Monday, you’ll get an email with the project link. For now, you can click the button below to get a preview of our project video. We need the project to be 10% funded from our own donors before DonorSee releases it to the wider platform, so we’d love for you to spend some time over the weekend watching the video, looking at our social media, and committing to a donation for Monday. Any amount will help us, and 100% goes to the project!

Farm Project Video Here!

Webele nyo!


PS We were a Great Nonprofits Top Rated Nonprofit for 2021, which brought in a good number of donations through their site. We have til October 31st to get 10 new 4 or 5 star reviews to continue our status for 2022. We’d love for you to pop over there and leave us a review – it doesn’t take long! Click the button!

Yes, I’ll leave a 5* review!

Graduation Was Simply Amazing!

Graduation was AMAZING on Saturday!

We had 20 girls who never thought they’d ever wear a cap and gown or walk the stage to get a diploma or certificate who laughed and cried and danced and feasted to celebrate their own success. It was wonderful!

Every girl has a story. Stories like 17-year-old Sharon, who is the firstborn of five children. She did attend school for a few years but soon had to leave because her family couldn’t afford the fees.

Sharon gave up hope and turned to drugs and alcohol.

But our team identified her on our community outreach, enrolled her in Skills for Life, and now she has completed her hairdressing course and is ready to work in a salon or start her own business.


Education in ways that make our girls able to sustain a livelihood.

It’s why 100% of donations go to Uganda and our programs. YOU are changing lives every day!

Webele nyo!


PS We currently have a project on DonorSee to fund the graduation, which allows us to put on the *next* graduation in August or September. We’d love your help to continue celebrating our teen girls’ amazing accomplishments! Just click the button below!



Photo Credit Bob Ditty Photography


Late last year, we posted our first big project on DonorSee – a computer lab for Skills for Life. This $10,000 project was highly ambitious for us, and to be honest, it has been slow going.

WHY do we feel strongly about introducing digital literacy to our community?

Many of Uganda’s government services have moved online, such as National ID registration.

  • Many good jobs require online applications, as well as basic computer skills.
  • Having knowledge of digital applications like Microsoft’s Office Suite vastly broadens the kinds of jobs open to our girls.
  • Digital literacy allows our girls to fully participate in civic life in their communities.

And NOW… thanks to two Roberts who each made a huge donation within 24 hours of each other…


For a whole year, including electricity, maintenance, and the teacher’s salary!

We are a small organization — small but mighty! For us, $10,000 is HUGE. And YOU made it happen!

We really can’t say THANK YOU enough! Webele nyo!



PS While we no longer have a big project up on DonorSee, we have plenty of small ones, from tailoring supplies to restocking the food for our daycare. 100% goes to the program — if you have any questions, just use the Contact screen and ask away!

Photo credit: Bob Ditty Photography


Ever since our first ever term of Tailoring, which ended in June 2021, we have been dreaming of an Advanced Tailoring class. Most of the girls in Tailoring go on to have a small business doing basic designs: school and work uniforms, traditional gomeza dresses, simple skirts, repairs. Some find good work in shops or with organizations like the ones who make Wonderbags in the Namuwongo slum.

But there are some, like Vivian and Jenifer who we’ve written about often, who really have a flair. Their designs are special, and only their skill level has kept them from great achievement.

Not any more!

About 2 1/2 weeks ago, our Advanced Tailoring class launched. Teacher Martha is a professional seamstress with a shop of her own, and she spent a great deal of time assessing the girls for both skills and dreams so she could design a curriculum to launch them into the next level.

Skills for Life currently offers 4 Basic skills and now one Advanced one. These courses are FREE to the teen girls and teen moms we serve. In addition to the actual coursework, they get free medical care at our on-site Haven Clinic, free child care at our on-site daycare, psycho-social counseling, mentoring, and peer groups. They also get 1-2 meals a day.

FREE. No strings attached.

Obviously, this isn’t free to Ten Eighteen! Your support of our projects on DonorSee, or with one time or recurring donations on DonorBox, are what make this possible. We grew 70% last year thanks to YOU.

We’ve got lots of great projects up on DonorSee right now, and you can always make a one time or recurring donation using DonorBox. The buttons are below – we’d love to have you join us!




We currently have 20 girls taking Basic Literacy. Some of them had a small bit of school, so they know the basics. Some were completely illiterate. English is “the common language” in Uganda, but many can’t speak it because they didn’t go to school. With 60 tribes and the slum melting-pot, it can be hard to communicate if you don’t know English.

After less than two months, the un-schooled girls know the alphabet and numbers, can read and write 3-letter words, and have done videos for us entirely in English! The other class, with girls who have had some schooling, are writing out the names of numbers and working with bigger words.

In short, they are flying through the course with amazing passion. They know what an opportunity free education is — it’s almost unheard of in Uganda! They know these are skills they will need once they’ve gone through a vocational skill course in Skills for Life and have jobs or small businesses. They are ON FIRE to learn!

Thank you so much for your support! Because of you, teen moms and teen girls in the slum are gaining invaluable skills for themselves and their families.




17-year-old Vivian, above, designed and created this amazing outfit for her final project in Tailoring last year. That was just before the June 2021 lockdown.

After the lockdown happened, Vivian had a very difficult time coping, and, for her and a few other girls, we re-launched the Ndoto Cooperative. This gave them a small salary, a place to come every day, and the freedom to design and create items to sell in local shops.

Now that the lockdowns are over and Term 1 2022 is underway, we are FINALLY ready to launch an Advanced Tailoring class for girls like Vivian who really have a flair for fashion and design. Our new teacher, Martha, is a professional seamstress, and she is very excited to be spending the next 6 months with such talented teens.

We don’t have an exact date that we’ll start yet, but we are aiming for the middle of March. We have purchased the final 2 electric machines and all the materials and supplies that are needed. Martha is designing a completely new curriculum. The girls are having an orientation and conversations with Marth on what they want to learn to do.

We are SO pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to 5 or 6 girls who have waited and hoped for months! I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot about it in the coming year – and make sure to check out our social media for great photos and updates.

Thank you for your support – these kinds of opportunities are really and truly changing lives.



PS If you want to help with our vocational program, we have several projects up on DonorSee to purchase supplies. Just click the button below! Webele nyo!


Bob Ditty is an international award-winning photographer and film maker who lives in Uganda. Through mutual friends, we connected with him a couple of years ago and asked him to do a shoot at the Ross House compound and around the Namuwongo slum. First covid and then a bout with malaria delayed his visit – UNTIL TODAY!

Bob is shooting both images and video for us today and tomorrow, and we cannot wait to see what he produces. Because he is just amazing at his craft.

But equally as exciting is that he is mentoring Fauza and Monica Angel, the two girls in our Skills for Life Videography class. They are training to be Namuwongo’s first-ever female videographers, and having someone like Bob spend time mentoring them, as well as letting them shadow him as he works, is absolutely priceless.

I woke up this morning to photos and videos like this one. Bob demonstrating, explaining, encouraging, answering questions… For two teenagers from the slum, this is an experience that could change their entire lives.

One of our core philosophies is that we empower our teen girls to create lasting, sustainable change in their lives. We provide OPPORTUNITIES which give HOPE and SKILLS, and those things drive CHANGE.

Bob’s visit will bless all of us with amazing images and video, and give us a glimpse into our work with new eyes. But what it is giving Fauza and Monica Angel is literally life-changing.

We can’t thank you enough for your support!




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.

Best picture ever!


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!


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.

THANK YOU for your continued support!