Fun Times, Strong Minds


What’s your idea of fun? Everyone’s is different, of course, but for most of us it involves joy, laughter, maybe being scared (if you’re one of those haunted house/scary movie people), maybe the excitement of a big game, maybe a family outing for bumper boats… (One of our funniest family stories involves that last one!)

When life is hard, we often look for something fun, even if it’s just a 2 minute video we can watch on our phone for a laugh.

The girls at Touch the Slum live in a desperate place full of desperate people who are just barely hanging on. Caregivers are stressed beyond the breaking point, siblings are hungry or sick, the only ways to make money are dangerous or degrading.

There’s no laugh track in the slum.

But at Touch the Slum, one of our most fundamental beliefs is in the healing power of fun, of laughter, of dancing, of joy. It doesn’t matter if you have shoes or not when you’re dancing. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t had dinner or breakfast. It doesn’t matter — in those moments — that your father has died or your mother is sick.

I just found this quote on a quick internet search. This is universal among humans; you can find a lot of quotes saying the same thing:

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.

Joseph Campbell

We can’t change the girls’ circumstances. Coming to class day in and day out to learn to read or sew a gomezi or braid hair isn’t a quick fix. A father killed in the war in the Congo or an auntie dying with HIV/AIDS can’t be forgotten.

But joy — laughter and hugs and dancing and a face turned towards the sunshine — helps our girls weather the pain they live in, and see that there is something worth working for, even in their hard world.

Anyone who has visited our compound — or Wells of Hope and Hopeland Schools, where they are beginning to understand the profound power of fun — will tell you first hand: the joy helps burn out the pain.

We thank you for all you do to keep the laughter and healing going!

Mwebele nnyo!


PS We are in need of diapers for all our (many!) babies. This project just needs $175 to be fully funded. We’d so appreciate your support!


Fun Times, Strong Minds Read More »

Ugandan Water Games


How many people (and how long!) does it take to fill a glass with water by hand down a line of people? And how much mud does it make?!

When we were in Uganda last month, both Hopeland and Wells of Hope Primary School showed off some fun relay type games to us. A couple of them involved moving water from one place to another, one by hand and the other in the mouth (!). Hilarity ensued and even the observers/cheerleaders had a blast.

So of course we borrowed the idea for Touch the Slum!

We are in the term break now, and have all of May for the girls to engage in creativity, puzzles, learn new skills, dance, and play games. Why?

If they’re out in the community, they’re at risk. Their families can’t afford to feed them every day, and lack of food makes them vulnerable to exploitation. While our graduates from Skills for Life are doing internships or learning additional skills that will help them get jobs, like doing men’s hair, our Literacy girls are still coming to class every day.

They’re safe.

Our core mission is to change the culture where this is a common worry, where teen girls in the slum are expendable and exploitable. We help the girls realize that they have intrinsic value, give them skills, give them strength. We also work with the young men so they see these girls, and others in the community, as people worthy of respect and care.

Culture change is slow, but we’re making progress. We have terrific young men in our staff and program, and their experiences trickle down to their families and peers outside the compound.

It’s thanks to partners like YOU that we can protect these girls and educate the community, and we can’t thank you enough!

Mwebele nnyo!


PS The project for baby Alpha’s burial expenses is 43% funded. Sylvia started participating in activities late last week, and is doing pretty well during the day. Nights are still hard, of course, especially since she lives with five other teen moms and their babies. If you’d like to help us with Alpha’s project, just click the button – thanks!

Baby Alpha’s Project

Ugandan Water Games Read More »

Scroll to Top