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 meter and 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!)
PSS I did a fun podcast with Donorbox about writing newsletters (and really, writing advice in general). Thanks, Cara! You can check it out here: