What Does “Game Day” Mean To You?


We’ve recently started using Dropbox to share all our media back and forth, so I get to go on and click through so many fun photos and videos looking for a good photo for you.

I was clicking through photos of a recent Game Day, and was really taken by the focus and intensity of every single person playing every single game in every single photo. Even Chutes & Ladders!

I thought about it for minute and realized why:

PLAYING is a big deal to everyone in our program.

They don’t have the kind of life where you just get to play a game, watch football on television, even just sit and do something fun, with no “work” purpose.

They have the kind of life where you start doing at dawn, and you’re still doing well after dark. Hand washing clothes. Walking to fill jerry cans of water and carrying them back home — multiple times a day. Cooking on a small charcoal stove. Washing dishes in a bucket. Doing day labor or a small hand-to-mouth business. Tending mostly-naked small children as they run around in muck-filled canals. Walking a half a mile for a workable toilet (that you have to pay to use).

Over the last couple of years, you have donated for us to buy board games and balls and balloons and art supplies and toys.

You have brought a totally new concept to hundreds of lives:


I would argue that it’s (almost) as important as the food, clothes, lessons, and medicine you also provide — because it gives the WHY for those things.

I love this quote: “Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” -Diane Ackerman

What really makes you guys amazing is that you don’t “require” us to to show you all the terrible things about the slum to want to give. You also give to bring joy and fun and sparkle and laughter.

Basically… you rock!



PS Are you following us on Instagram and YouTube? You need to be! We’ve been working on some new short documentaries with more in the works, and our daily Instagram at both Ten Eighteen Uganda and Touch the Slum are full of great content to keep you up to speed!

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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

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What Day Is It?!

While we have a fair amount of holidays here in the US, they have a LOT of them in Uganda. All the Ugandan ones, and then they celebrate (take a day off) for a lot of the International ones, like International Day of the Child and Women’s Day.

But the girls at Touch the Slum don’t want a holiday — they want to learn! During our term break last month, most of the girls in the Literacy class showed up anyway. Teacher Martha kept them busy with fun things like Bananagrams (above), art, creating clay pots, movies in English, and more. And yes, we fed them lunch!

Let’s be honest… Most of us in the West never once considered showing up at school on a holiday! We were much more likely to play hooky, right?

When something is scarce, we value it.

For the teen moms and teen girls in Touch the Slum’s programs, they spent their childhoods watching brothers and neighbors go to school. Whenever their family had a bit of extra money that could fund school fees, it went to any male relative first – and to the girls almost never.

They understand the value and the opportunity that Touch the Slum and Skills for Life gives them.

They understand that we are working for a culture shift, not just a quick-fix solution to the many problems that teen girls face in the slum.

And they are beyond grateful for the opportunity to shine! (And shine they do!)

We couldn’t do it without you! Your support – financial and by words of encouragement – are the HOW of how we do it. We can’t thank you enough!

Webele nyo!


PS We’ve now funded 163 projects on DonorSee and are coming up to our 1-year anniversary on the platform. Amazing! Every month we supply 250 girls with free sanitary pads, which they otherwise can’t afford. Our current project needs about $300 to be funded – we’d love your help!

September Sanitary Pad Project!

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