Week One in Uganda – TEAMWORK!


Normally I put one picture at the top of these emails, but I really want to share a few from our first days in Uganda. The ladies are doing such great work and our staff and girls are so happy to have them with us!

Clockwise from the top left, Susan (my mom) teaching watercolor to the Literacy girls; Connie teaching paper clay modeling, also to the Literacy girls; and Harriet (from Karamoja) and Bertie unpacking new medical supplies for our Nurse Brenda.

Yesterday, Harriet, Bertie, and Connie did a community talk on hand washing and hygiene, and they gave out 50 mosquito nets. Connie also taught a class on making glass jewelry. On Monday, Susan did a drawing class.

(And Susan’s luggage is still lost somewhere... so you can say a prayer on that since it’s not just clothes but all her personal and student art supplies, too!)

Meanwhile, I have been doing very exciting things like working with our Finance Officer on accounting software and making spreadsheets for upcoming payroll tax changes (ugh), and putting together what we’ll need in March to renew/upgrade our organizational license (also ugh). We have a dinner meeting tonight with the attorney… I know, my part sounds like so much fun, right?!

I did, however, get one very important visit in — with Mama Santa! She is so appreciative of you all, who funded her surgery within an hour of last week’s email going out. She’s resting and doing well, while her daughter Charity fills in in the kitchen.


This week we’ll have more community visits, more classes, more laughter, and (I’m sure) more dancing. Our nurses will be making time for individual chats, Susan will be doing a workshop for the staff on managing stress, and Connie will be making cassava mendazi for the girls.

In short – it’s pretty amazing over here!



PS We would love to have your support to move the residential program to a separate house just down the road — we’re at 21%! Life is already challenging for teen moms like Anita, who had a c-section 4 weeks ago. Giving them some peace and quiet would be amazing! Just click the button for easy giving.

MOVE Project!

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Our Vision for 2024

2023 has been a banner year for Ten Eighteen, at Touch the Slum and in the west where we provided the well for Rwakobo Village.

Over a hundred girls have learned to read, write, speak English, and do basic math.

They have learned a skill in Tailoring, Hairdressing, Photography/Videography, or Digital Literacy.

We were selected by Plan International to be one of only two nonprofits in their referral program in the entire (LARGE) district, made up of millions of Ugandans.

We introduced drawing and painting and unleashed creativity in both students and staff — NOT something that’s very common in Uganda!

Every day, girls were rescued, supported, treated, respected, and lifted up, in ways big and small.

And guess what? 2024 is going to be even better!

January marks our 15th year working in the Namuwongo slum and in Uganda!

Also in January, we are taking a team of four amazing women who will bring lifetimes of skills in art, writing, cooking, organic farming, nursing and public health, and psychiatric social work to our staff and students.

In the spring, our “community organization” status will be officially upgraded to a country-wide NGO.

With the funding of our newest large project on DonorSee, we will be able to move the residential girls to a separate nearby house. This will give them more peace and quiet and room to heal, and it will free up space in the Touch the Slum compound to expand our vocational skills program.

As our farm continues to produce, we will start taking teams of girls from TTS who are interested in learning farming skills to get hands on experience. (You can’t grow much in the slum!)

All this and more is thanks to generous donations like the one you made last year. Will you consider making a year end donation to help us again?

As always, 100% of your donations go to the program, and we SO appreciate your support and encouragement!

Mwebele nnyo,



PS If you aren’t following us on Instagram, now is a great time to start. Our home-grown media team does amazing work, and we have new content up every day. It’s a great way to keep up with all we’re doing in Namuwongo and to see all the fun we have on the team trip next month.

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Art in the Slum


One of the two main reasons my mom, Susan, came with me to Uganda was to teach art classes to our Literacy class girls. (And the staff is begging for their turn, so they’ll get a class on Thursday!)

Susan has been an artist pretty much all of her life, and currently paints in both oils and watercolors. (Find her on Instagram at @susanfloridaartist) She teaches classes in our hometown in Florida, and loves to share her love of art.

When kids are in school here, there are occupations that are acceptable — the ones the parents want their kids to choose — and then there are those that are actively discourages. If you want to be (or say you want to be) a doctor, teacher, or lawyer, that’s great. An artist or musician? Absolutely not.

Since our girls haven’t been to school, they were thrilled to get art lessons. We’ve done one class for each Literacy class, and today they’ll do a combined class (all 20 girls!). As with anything, some girls took to it faster than others, but they all loved it and can’t wait to do more. We’ll be leaving all our supplies here, and Ronald has already started looking for more paint sets, paper, and brushes, for when these wear out.

It’s very important to us that we bring creativity, art, books, music, and fun to our programs. These are things that are rarely seen in the slum, and that are vital to critical and creative thinking.

And the girls love it!

This is our last week in Uganda, and will culminate with graduation on Saturday and Easter dinner with the residential girls on Sunday before we head to the airport.

On Thursday, I’ll update you on our trip west to Hopeland and Wells of Hope Primary Schools! It was long (3 car breakdowns!) but good (except the car breakdowns…!).

Thanks for all your well wishes and comments on Instagram! If you haven’t checked out our videos there, click the icon below.


Jennings (and Susan)

PS We could really use your help for our graduation. It’s the biggest (and therefore most costly) one yet, with 33 girls graduating! Click below to help – 100% goes to the project!


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When Cars Bread Down in Uganda


It’s a fair drive from Kampala to Mbarara, about 4 hours. It’s interesting, as you’re mostly on a good road going through village after village.

Each village has a unique character: in some, the vendors display their produce tossed willy nilly onto a tarp. In others, any produce remotely round is stacked into neat pyramids on the upturned bottoms of buckets or bins.

Some villages seem to be able to keep garbage in check and others are overrun with plastic bottles and other refuse.

All of them are bustling, full of people going about their daily lives, children walking to and from school in their uniforms, and goats nibbling anything and everything they can find.

I’ve found that most people have a vision of “Africa” that is one dimensional. Uganda, Africa, and your own country is full of color, contrast, hope, need, joy, wealth, poverty, chaos, and order. I work in areas and with people of great need, and that can make for a compelling photo op… But even in those areas, that’s not the whole story.

In the photo above, I was presented with an amazing gift: a drawing from a favorite photo of Kamida greeting me for the first time last year. Kamida is a special needs girl living at Hopeland School who has epilepsy. Epilepsy in Uganda, especially in villages, is still thought of as demon possession or mental illness and not a physical condition. It was left untreated in Kamida leading to brain injury, and her relatives tried to kill her once her parents had died so she is physically disabled.

For the last 2+ years we have provided Kamida with her epilepsy medication and sanitary pads each month. When she sees me (and now my mom), she runs and gives huge, tight hugs. It’s one of my favorite parts of each trip!

The car broke down when we were less than a mile from the hotel, and Ronald and William spent all afternoon and evening at the garage getting it fixed. They didn’t get in until 10:30! We’re headed out to the bush and Wells of Hope School today, so say a quick prayer for the car!

You all are the reason we can do what we do here, and I can’t thank you enough…

Mwebele mnonga,


PS We have a project up for Christine’s exit package and it’s 75% funded — we just need $110 to complete it and get Christine ready for her independent life. Click below to help – as always 100% goes to the project!

Click Here!

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