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Personal letter from 22STARS founder Stella Airoldi

A big thank you to everyone who contributed in the grow of 22STARS, we are sending 200 children to school and are doing way more than that!

Dear friends and supporters,

This year 22STARS expanded a lot as you probably noticed and we showed up a little differently from what you were used to. In the past we have been able to empower families in Uganda using funding primarily from selling handmade jewellery through our social enterprise that the 22STARS artisans in Uganda made. This product-based model empowered our families in the slums of Kampala and Jinja since 2013 and helped us carrying out our social programs on the ground. The 22STARS artisans were able to send their children to school and some of them even went back to school themselves, like Susan Laker. Once Susan got fluent in English she became our project manager in Kampala. Since, we've seen first-hand the difference that an education makes, Susan Laker and myself wanted to help even more children through a new educational project and expand our successful social programs. While we still make jewellery with 40 artisans, we additionally launched the 22STARS FOUNDATION in 2017 to carry out our social programs on a larger scale. Without our sponsors this would not have been possible, thank you!

We are running all our programs in the Acholi Quarter slum in Kampala and the Danida slum in Jinja, Uganda. Our programs include the whole community living in these areas, thus excluding no-one, as we believe that empowerment lies in helping a community as a whole and not discriminating anyone. Our children are coming from families that live in extreme poverty, were heavily affected by the war of Northern Uganda, are HIV positive, illiterate and lost many family members.

Our first program was finding long-term sponsors for children living in poverty in the slums. We are sending now 200 children to school ranging from pre-school to boarding school. Our second program is our nutrition program, since more than a year we are serving weekly a hot meal with meat to the kids and additional give food supplies to malnourished kids thanks to Alexander Schledewits and his team. Our third program is a development initiative providing the children and families with basic needs and monitoring its success. Under this program we carried out various projects varying from handing out mosquito nets, beds, matrasses, clothes, water filters and medical treatment. Our fourth program gives families of the children small business trainings and micro credit loans. We started with 32 families in Jinja and 28 in Kampala. Our fifth program is our holistic education program focusing on happiness and well-being. We have extra- curricular activities for our kids like sports, painting, dancing, health education and we are holding parent conferences to include them in the education of their children.

Our project managers Susan Laker (Kampala) and Aidah & David Wafula (Jinja) are thrilled with the new programs and reported back the positive difference it's making. We plan on increasing this impact! Please share the story of 22STARS, sponsor a child for only €15,- a month, make a general donation for our social programs, or find out others ways to contribute. Participate now!

Thank you for your support!

Stella Romana Airoldi

Founder of 22STARS jewellery & 22STARS foundation

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