I made a quick trip down to Fort Myers and Naples, just Monday to today, so I could speak about Ten Eighteen’s work in Namuwongo to the Fort Myers Rotary Club. It was so fun – I really appreciate the invite from one of our regular donors, Mark!
Today the literacy girls learned to make budgets and shopping lists. It wasn’t as fun as painting pineapples and funky chickens, but they really enjoyed it. We’re really trying to engage the literacy girls with fun projects and new things to learn over these off-weeks of the term break, and they are absolutely soaking up everything thrown at them.
Everyone is getting back to normal life after the tragic death of baby Alpha. We really appreciate all of the emails and comments from you guys — it’s really given a lot of comfort to Sylvia and the team.
So what’s up these days?
- We are continuing the fundraising for the well at Wells of Hope. We still need about $500 so that the project is visible on the wider DonorSee platform. Since 100% of donations go to the project, ANY amount is helpful!
- Gideon, the Director of Hopeland and Wells of Hope Primary Schools, became a father for the second time last week. His new daughter, Shalom, is doing great!
- We are going to teach some of the hairdressing girls how to do men’s hair during the term break. We get asked by salons if we have anyone who can do both men and women, so we are going to try it out with a handful and see how it goes. Any time we can expand and broaden our skill portfolio, I’m happy!
- I have 3 bags made by Jenifer that I will be selling – I’ve already sold one! If you’re interested, I can send you photos this week. All the money will go directly to her, and will make a big impact for her little family.
Thank you for all your support!
PS Donations have been very slow this month, so if you’ve been thinking about giving and haven’t yet, it would be a great time!
I love to travel. I’ve been to over 60 countries and lived in several. Pre-pandemic days, I was averaging 4-5 international trips a year. (And I miss it!) While all the fun has been sucked out of air travel over the last decade, traveling itself never gets old.
Tomorrow morning, I head back to Panama!
Some of you know that our Board member, Mikkel Thorup, lives in Panama City where he runs his businesses for the worldwide expat community. My husband and I were down there in March for Mikkel’s birthday party and really had a good time. (We like the country and beach more than the city – and Panama City has a whole lot of very tall, very skinny buildings that make me nervous!)
For the Expat Money Christmas party, Mikkel is hosting a silent auction to fundraise for Ten Eighteen. I’ll say a few words and answer questions. Last year, the Expat Money community raised over $8000 to launch our Literacy program!
This year, our goal is $16,000 to launch Literacy 2.0 to triple our reach.
Expanding Literacy to more girls will help them throughout their lives, and more immediately in Skills for Life. Reading, writing, and speaking English will allow them to get jobs or have small businesses that cater to people from other tribes who live in Namuwongo – there are 60 tribes in Uganda and all have representatives living in the slum. English is the common tongue. It will also give them knowledge and skills they can pass on to their own children, giving those kids a head start.
I’ll be gone from tomorrow until the 14th – you can find daily updates on social media (links below) to see who I meet and what I’m doing.
I’m really grateful to Mikkel and the Expat Money community for their ongoing commitment to Literacy for girls who’ve never had the chance to go to school!
PS Our farm project is now 83% funded! We’ve raised $21,540, with just $4,360 to go. Starting the 15th, we’ll be getting the compound ready for a full-time farmer by installing a small solar system for lights, digging a borehole for water, and getting basic furnishings. You can help us get the farm funded THIS YEAR by donating now! Click the button – every dollar counts!
When we started the Ross House in the fall of 2020, we put some parameters in place. We knew that the need for a crisis intervention residential program was far greater than anything we’d be able to “solve”, and we knew that we needed time to figure it all out.
Some of the criteria we’ve used over the past two years have been the mom’s age (usually 15 or above), no family members available to take them in (with added support from us), and a differentiation between a short-term emergency admission and a long-term full admission.
We also decided we couldn’t handle pregnant girls, and referred them to another local organization called Amani until after they delivered.
But things change!
Our first pregnant admission was 15-year-old Kalunji back in February, who was homeless after her grandmother died. Due to the rising rate of teenage pregnancy, Amani wasn’t able to take her in. Kalunji is still with us in the Suubi House and she’s doing great.
Our next was 15-year-old Sylvia, who was homeless and rescued by a local LC (community leader) and brought to us. Sylvia gave birth just a few weeks ago!
In the last month, we’ve also welcomed 17-year-old Leticia and her one-year-old son Chin-may, and 15-year-old Brenda with her newborn son Elijah. (We now have custody of Brenda because of the abuse she was suffering at home.)
And – many of you will remember “the girl in the chicken coop” story from my trip this summer – 18-year-old Clare with her one-year-old son Samuel was just evicted from the chicken coop and has now joined the residential program.
That’s four moms, two with newborns, in just a few weeks!
Because of the skyrocketing cost of living right now, teenage pregnancy is on the rise again all around Uganda. We can only take in eight girls with their children at a time, but we are committed to helping them learn the skills they need to create a fulfilling and sustainable life for themselves.
How are we doing this? YOU!
Your support means the difference between homelessness and a life without choices and a life of literacy, a skill for a lifetime of income, and the hope for a good future. We really can’t thank you enough for all your encouragement and support!
PS One of our Skills for Life students is teen mom Isabellah. After she collapsed at the compound, Nurse Sherry discovered that she had no food over the weekends and her only meals were those she received at Touch the Slum during the week. We have been providing ongoing medical support to get her over malnutrition and she is now receiving meals at the compound during the weekend. Her project on DonorSee is about 30% funded and we only need $185 to complete it. Any amount will help! Just click!
PSS Don’t forget to grab your free ticket and hear me talk about our work in Namuwongo!