After the lull over the holidays, things have exploded into laughter, light, sounds, dancing, and music at Touch the Slum — and we couldn’t be happier! While everyone enjoyed their time off and it was much needed, having the girls back in the compound causing controlled chaos every day is magic.
Last week also brought us two new residents in the dorm. I wrote previously about 15-year-old Helen, above, who was sent from the village to work as a housemaid in Kampala. She wasn’t paid, fed, or allowed a phone, so it was several months before neighbors became aware and concerned enough to involve us and the authorities.
It turns out that the auntie sent her to Kampala to keep her from being married off by her guardian, and if she were to return to the village, this is what would happen to her. The auntie has agreed for her to stay with us and learn a skill, which will at least delay any marriage. Hopefully, it will instead allow her to stay in Namuwongo at a job or her own business.
Our second new resident is 16-year-old Evelyn, also an orphan, who came to Kampala and the Namuwongo slum from the North of Uganda at the urging of friends who thought they’d find a better life. (Spoiler alert – they didn’t…)
After not being able to find a job, the friends turned to sex work. Evelyn was being pressured into prostitution but says she didn’t go that far. (We usually find out they did but deny it out of shame — either way, she’s safe now.) One of our teachers, Linda, found her and brought her to the compound. Evelyn’s guardian in the village has agreed for her to stay with us and for Teacher Linda to be her temporary guardian while she is at Touch the Slum.
Both girls have settled in well and joined the Literacy Program. Neither speak much English and both are illiterate, so a couple of months in Literacy before the next term of Skills for Life starts the next term will stand them in good stead once they are in a vocational class.
We can rescue these girls because of you!
You all gave sacrificially at the end of the year which put is in a very strong position for 2023. Since 1018 is donor-funded, we can’t do it without you, and we are so grateful for your support!
PS One of the best things you can do to help us is to become a monthly donor! This allows us to budget well and plan for the future. You can do that on Donorbox or DonorSee – buttons below.