When not owning knickers is the norm


The trip coming up in January will be my seventeenth trip to Uganda. In January 2009, we funded the rent for a building for Ray of Hope’s outreach to women and children in Namuwongo. On our first trip in September of 2009, we made our first visits to the slum.

I’ve been down in the “community” (the slum proper) at least a hundred times, conservatively.

And I can still be shocked.

Many of our girls have one outfit and one pair of shoes, usually knock-off cheap “Crocs”. I know this. I’ve known this. It’s a challenge.

But what I’ve learned since launching Touch the Slum is that many have no knickers (underwear) at all, and that their families often don’t consider it their “responsibility” to provide them.

Let’s be real for a second: teen girls have periods.

Even girls who can’t get sanitary pads need to use rags during their cycles. Practically speaking, underwear is pretty vital at least a week a month.

Owning zero or just one pair of knickers is a problem. They can’t come to class one week a month. They can’t go out of their house one week a month. They can’t launder their one skirt or dress without being left unclothed while it dries, which obviously leaves them completely housebound.

I don’t know about you, but I find that completely unacceptable. (To be honest, very few things make me actively angry… but this is one of them!)

Each term, we do a project to supply girls in need with underwear, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. Each term, you come together to help us fund this, so that no one misses class due to a lack of knickers. Together with our monthly sanitary pad distribution, you keep girls in class and active their community. And you help them keep their dignity.

It’s amazing how such a small thing can completely transform a life! To help, just click the button.

Knickers Project

Tweyanzizza nnyo, tweyanzeege — we are so grateful, thank you very much!



PS If you’ve missed our My Story series so far, you can always visit our YouTube channel to see those and other great videos on our work in Namuwongo.

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Clothes Everywhere!


Packing for this trip is a little more complicated than usual, since we’re going in rainy season. Looking at the forecast, we’re doing to have nights as low as 59, with highs in the low 80s. And rain. And more rain.

As I was looking at my clothes and deciding what combination of spring and summer I was going to make, I got a file of photos of Sarah and Santa shopping for clothes with two girls in Literacy Class. Shopping takes place on the street, with clothes piled up on tarps and blankets in no particular order. There’s no trying on, no finding a different size. What you see is what you get.

We just had a project fund on DonorSee to provide clothes for 13-year-old Irene, whose mother makes less than $1 a day. She had one outfit, one pair of underwear, and her one pair of shoes were worn out. She’d only worn clothes given to her and never got a choice.

Now, thanks to you all, she’s gone shopping! She got to look through clothes and pick what she liked. She has undergarments so she’s not washing them every night and hoping they dry by morning. She has two pairs of shoes.

A lot of what we do every day is the small stuff. But all those small steps add up to confidence, to letting go of shame, to the beginning of dreams. All of those small steps change a life, like Irene’s.

Mwebele nnyo!


PS We leave on Sunday afternoon! We’re flying from different airports on different airlines, but *hopefully* we will land 25 minutes apart. We’d appreciate your thoughts and prayers on Sunday and Monday — you’ll be the first to know how it went!

PSS Long-time residential teen mom Christine will be graduating on April 8th from Advanced Tailoring! We’re so proud of her! We’ve got a project up for her exit package as she transitions to independent living, and it’s almost 50% funded. We’d love your help to set her up for success! Click below —>

Christine’s Exit Package

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The Fastest Boy On One Leg

Emmanuel (Manuel for short) is in Primary 3 at Wells of Hope, and so happy that school started back in January after nearly two years of closures. He loves running around, playing football, and being a regular kid.

There’s just one difference: Manuel has only one leg.

He was born this way, and watching him move you would never really connect that one of his “legs” is actually a crutch. He uses that crutch as easily and naturally as can be — it’s pretty amazing.

But Manuel’s crutches have always been made out of wood, and as a typical, active boy, that wood breaks. When that happens, Manuel can spend a week out of school while another one is located, and funds figured out.

This means he not only loses a valuable week of education and food, he also has no means of movement outside sitting on his bum and scooting around. His family couldn’t afford a wheelchair, but also, his home and the surrounding village aren’t really places a wheelchair can go easily. So he waits.

We have a project up on DonorSee to buy Manuel a metal crutch, so he can play football and run to his heart’s content. We’d love your help to give this amazing kid an amazing gift.

Webele nyo!


Let’s gIve Manuel a metal crutch!

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