Social Work

Two Emergency Admissions in 4 Days…

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!

Brenda’s Project

Leticia’s Project

Sometimes It’s So Easy To Make Someone’s Day!

I used to think it was hard to make a difference in the world. I mean, look around… there is so much going on, so many bad things and depressing news stories and pain.

Then I visited Uganda.

There was one family, a grandmother who was raising 5 grandchildren orphaned because all three of her own children had died from AIDS. One of the younger children was HIV+. They had nothing, and they had no hope.

The social worker from Ray of Hope had taken us around the Namuwongo slum and introduced us to the women in the program. This jaja though… They had no money for food or charcoal, but she was only concerned about not being able to send them to school.

My 13-year-old son, Zeke, turned to me and said, “I’ll do it. I’ll pay for them to go.”

And that was it. That was MAKING A DIFFERENCE. And really, it was so simple. Zeke dug into his little savings (and, of course, my husband and I chipped in), and those kids went to school.

That’s where Ten Eighteen Uganda really started, in that one-room home, with toothbrushes lined up so carefully on one wall’s little shelf, and a jaja who just wanted her grandkids to have a chance.

It really is that simple.

The work isn’t easy… but it’s simple. MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

True, sustainable, actionable change and growth is hard work, but it’s not complicated. It takes small actions and creates great and lasting change.




PS The photo at the top of this email is from a surprise food and mattress delivery to 16-year-old Shemim, who is in our Literacy program. She and her family became homeless and are living in an open-air church. You can watch the video here — it was pretty amazing!

To help with other DonorSee projects, click the button! We’ve had a huge outpouring of support over the last week and 7 projects funded, but are loading new projects each day. Check it out!

Click Here for Projects!

The Girl In the Chicken Coop

On Monday, we were alerted to a teen mom in a very desperate situation. 

Two years ago, Clare left her village (some 15 hours away by bus) and came to Kampala to work as a house maid. As happens more often than not, she became pregnant. She was fired, and the baby’s father disappeared.

Her family would not pay for her to come back to the village because of the baby.

Now, Clare and her 1 year old son live in what is basically a chicken coop. It’s about 4’ off the ground, and has about 4’ of headspace between the “floor” and the ceiling. The total size is 4’x6’, and someone is raising rabbits in the space underneath her.

When she can, she takes in clothes to wash for 1000 or 2000 shillings. (Her rent is 30,000 shillings.) She can go several days with no customers and no money. 

The social workers visited her in the morning and reported back on Clare’s situation. We took a bigger team and bought some emergency food to get them through a week or so. (Prices have literally doubled in the last two months, which is a whole other post!) 

I have seen some bad living situations in my hundreds of visits to the Namuwongo slum, but I have really never seen anything like this place that Clare has been living in. The only good thing you could say about it was that it is just one home off the open space around the railway, so it isn’t as closed in and awful as many places are. But otherwise… it really was horrifying.

We spoke at length to Clare. When we discovered that her family would take her back with the baby (many Ugandan families won’t) but they wouldn’t assist her in getting home because of the baby, we determined that the best solution was the temporary food, a mosquito net, some soap, and transportation back to the village.

In the next several days, our team will purchase the ticket, escort Clare and her son to the depot and get her safely on the bus with her belongings, and contact her family to let them know she will be arriving and when. We will follow up to make sure she arrived safely.

We have a project on DonorSee to reimburse our budget for this expense — we’d love your help to fund it. It’s already 25% funded! As with all our emergency projects, we solve the problem FIRST, and then seek to repay our budget.

We thank you for helping us continue working with teen moms in the slum!

Send Clare to the village!



Big Day In the Namuwongo Slum

Tuesday was “day 1”, and I had a short office day as I fought sleep deprivation and a 7 hour time difference.

I slept well, and Wednesday was a full and busy day. In the morning, we went down into the Namuwongo slum and visited about a half dozen families/guardians of Skills for Life students to see how they felt their girls were doing. The feedback was amazing!

Without exception, they had seen positive changes in their girls. Better behavior. Less hanging about with questionable friends and getting into trouble. More respect at home.


Traditionally, parents want their kids to go to school and become one of four things: teacher, doctor, lawyer, or nurse.

There is no room in the traditional thinking for musicians or artists, for mechanics or electricians. The way Ugandan schools are set up, to even go to a trade school you have to complete Senior 4.

This leaves most kids behind, especially since the covid lockdowns.

But parents are SEEING now. They see that girls with little or no schooling can still be excellent students in a vocational program.

They see that girls who had no direction or HOPE for the future were headed for disaster, but that those same girls are now focused, working hard, and setting themselves up for future success.


But it’s working. And THAT is changing the culture, slowly by slowly. (mpola mpolo)

THANK YOU for your support and encouragement! YOU are changing not only the lives of the girls in our program, but the hearts and minds of the community. That is a huge step forward.

Webele nyo!


PS Our food restocking project on DonorSee is 84% funded. Prices are going up every day, so we’d really appreciate your support to complete it! Click the link!