PS It costs $50 a month to feed, clothe, house, and educate the residential girls (and their children) in our program. By making a one-time donation or becoming a monthly donor today, you ensure girls like Faith are safe as they work towards their future!
Fauza grew up in a dysfunctional Muslim family in the Namuwongo slum. In her middle teens, she was in a dance group and using drugs, barely getting by.
She joined Touch the Slum in January 2021 and is now on staff as the Lead on our Media team and a documentary film maker.
This is her story.
PS It costs $35/mo for us to take a girl like Fauza through Skills for Life, where they can become literate and learn a vocational skill that will allow them to earn a sustainable living. By donating today, you can impact these girls for the rest of their lives!
She was living in a tiny one-room house with five other girls, and had turned to drugs and informal sex work. She came to touch the slum for counseling and was later enrolled in the Ross House, Hairdressing, and Literacy. Now, she is on our staff and lives independently.
PS Girls like Gloria come to us every single day. It only costs $35 to pay for one month of instruction in Skills for Life, and $50 pays for a month in our residential program + Skills for Life. By donating today, you help girls just like Gloria get out of the grinding poverty and into a sustainable future. 100% of donations go to the program!
2023 has been a banner year for Ten Eighteen, at Touch the Slum and in the west where we provided the well for Rwakobo Village.
Over a hundred girls have learned to read, write, speak English, and do basic math.
They have learned a skill in Tailoring, Hairdressing, Photography/Videography, or Digital Literacy.
We were selected by Plan International to be one of only two nonprofits in their referral program in the entire (LARGE) district, made up of millions of Ugandans.
We introduced drawing and painting and unleashed creativity in both students and staff — NOT something that’s very common in Uganda!
Every day, girls were rescued, supported, treated, respected, and lifted up, in ways big and small.
And guess what? 2024 is going to be even better!
January marks our 15th year working in the Namuwongo slum and in Uganda!
Also in January, we are taking a team of four amazing women who will bring lifetimes of skills in art, writing, cooking, organic farming, nursing and public health, and psychiatric social work to our staff and students.
In the spring, our “community organization” status will be officially upgraded to a country-wide NGO.
With the funding of our newest large project on DonorSee, we will be able to move the residential girls to a separate nearby house. This will give them more peace and quiet and room to heal, and it will free up space in the Touch the Slum compound to expand our vocational skills program.
As our farm continues to produce, we will start taking teams of girls from TTS who are interested in learning farming skills to get hands on experience. (You can’t grow much in the slum!)
All this and more is thanks to generous donations like the one you made last year. Will you consider making a year end donation to help us again?
As always, 100% of your donations go to the program, and we SO appreciate your support and encouragement!
PS If you aren’t following us on Instagram, now is a great time to start. Our home-grown media team does amazing work, and we have new content up every day. It’s a great way to keep up with all we’re doing in Namuwongo and to see all the fun we have on the team trip next month.
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.
PS Emergency admissions and residential girls like Brenda cost us $50 a month to care for. Please donate today to help us care for the eight teen moms and their babies who are in residence! 100% of your donation goes to the program. Mwebele nnyo!
You probably thought, “Well duh…” to that, because obviously it wouldn’t be called a slum if it was somewhere lovely.
But seriously. Beyond the obvious (filth, muck, abuse, drugs and moonshine, starvation, illness… SMELLS), everyone there operates in survival mode 100% of the time.
In survival mode, you’re not creative. Your body is flooded with cortisol and adrenaline. Your immune system is terrible. Your brain is a weird combination of hyper-alertness and fuzzy thinking.
This is how our girls live all the time when they’re not at the Touch the Slum compound. In the community, they can turn to little baggies of waraji (moonshine made in 50 gallon drums that makes turpentine seem like fine wine) or marijuana to try to ease the stress. If they escape that, they turn to young men who promise some stability but just leave unclaimed babies after they disappear.
One of our missions at Touch the Slum is to create an atmosphere where the girls can not only learn but also RELAX. Feel safe. Laugh. Dance. And create.
In March, my mom, Susan, introduced the girls in the Literacy class to drawing and painting. They loved it! Ever since, we’ve made it a regular part of the curriculum and it’s one of their favorite things.
When the team goes in January, we will have my mom again, who will continue to teach drawing and painting to the girls and staff. Connie is a glass and pottery artist so she’s going to teach those skills. And I’ll be bringing creative writing to the girls with some fun activities to help them have fun with their newly learned English words.
Much of life involves creating: outfits, artwork, stories, hairstyles. Once they can envision the small stuff, they can see the project that will be their masterpiece:
Thanks to you, these girls are learning to think creatively and expand their dreams. That’s an amazing gift and we can’t thank you enough.
PS Are you following us on Instagram yet? We’ve had some great reels there, and the media team is doing a great job with our content. Click the icon below or here to check it out!
When Joyce came from the village to the Namuwongo slum last year to live with her auntie, she had never been to school. While her aunt is a tailor herself, she was unable to take the time to teach her niece the skills she’d need to earn a living.
But she did make time to bring her to Touch the Slum and enroll her into the Literacy Program, and that has made all the difference!
TODAY IS GIVING TUESDAY — please forward this to friends and family and ask them to help support Touch the Slum today! 100% of donations go to the program.
PS Every day we have 75 students in Skills for Life, a FREE literacy and vocational program for vulnerable teen girls in Uganda’s largest slum. It only costs $35 per girl per month to learn, have a meal, receive medical care, and have a safe place to spend their time. Can you donate today so girls like Joyce can secure their future? Mwebele nnyo!