Why do we do Christmas at Touch the Slum?


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:

Apple Podcasts



Amazon Podcasts


When Ronald said the girls had picked the place for their Christmas party, I just knew…

A few years ago, KFC opened their first store in Kampala. Zeke and I went there during our 2020 visit — it was good, and they were actually fast, which doesn’t usually happen in Ugandan restaurants.

So when Ronald said that the girls wanted to go out this year instead of having a Christmas feast at the Ross House, I felt the silent mantra start in my head: wait for it… wait for it…

Because I just knew what it was going to be! And sure enough – it’s chicken and chips at KFC time!

Y’all, this is a BIG DEAL for these girls. Most of them have never been to an actual restaurant outside the slums. This year, they got their first-ever pizza. And we’re doing this as a MOM-ONLY outing, arranging for the staff to watch the toddlers.

They are SO excited – we can’t wait to share their December 23rd outing with you! (It’s ok, you can laugh. I did!) We’re working on a DonorSee project to fund it, which I’ll share with you soon.