Wycliff, above, is our newest social worker. He started with us as a volunteer and then intern while he was at Makere University. He is not from the slum, one of the few staff members who isn’t, so the fact that he wanted to come work with us when he graduated is huge. The slum isn’t an easy place – not an easy place to live, visit, or even find your way around, much less work day in and day out.
The house of one of our girls, where Wycliff visited yesterday, is made simply of mud and very thin sticks. The roof is rusty corrugated iron. You can see from the sides of the house that rain — you notice those dark clouds, right?! — and mud don’t really go together that well. It leaks, and eventually, sooner rather than later, the walls will begin to fall down.
This mama makes her living selling sugar cane. They buy it from a truck coming in from the countryside, haul the long stalks home, then use a machete to strip it and cut off lengths to sell. People buy and chew sugar cane when they don’t have much money because it’s cheap and curbs hunger pains. It’s not a very profitable business.
Over 30,000 people live in the Namuwongo slum, which is Uganda’s largest. An estimated 75-80% of them are children or teens.
Our Touch the Slum project is the only NGO in Namuwongo working with teen moms, the only one offering completely free education for teen girls, and the only one offering a free residential program, a free clinic, and free daycare. The only one.
We can’t serve all of the thousands of teen girls there, but we can serve the 75 who come to us every day with the promise, the hope, of CHANGE. Of a life that they can control. Of literacy and English and learning a skill that will last them a lifetime.
We can do that because of you.