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Interview to our project leader in Kampala, Susan Laker

Susan has opened up about her incredible journey following her graduation in Public Administration and Management

· Stories

Can you tell us about yourself and the encounter that changed the trajectory of your life before working for the Foundation 22Stars?

In 2009, around mid-year, I received a call from my friend David Wafula, who knew about my struggles. At the time, I was recovering from cancer, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS, which had almost taken my life. I was 27, with three children to care for, and life was incredibly challenging. David told me he was bringing a visitor, Stella, who was interested in learning about people affected by the LRA Joseph Kony's war. Stella, an intern in international law, was from Europe and wanted to understand the struggles of people like me. This encounter sparked something within me and motivated me to go back to school.

What were the main obstacles you faced when you decided to pursue education later in your life?

Oh, there were several challenges I had to overcome. Firstly, there were doubts from both myself and others about going back to school at my age. People questioned whether it was worth it, given my health conditions. They thought I should focus on my children instead. But I knew education was the key to a better future for all of us, so I persevered.

Could you share with us the story behind the creation of 22STARS Jewelry and the 22STARS Foundation?

Certainly! After Stella's visit, I started making paper bead jewelry to support myself and my family. When Stella returned to Uganda and saw my progress, she was amazed. We discussed the struggles of children in Acholi Quarters, who were not in school due to poverty. We decided to use the proceeds from the jewelry to fund their education, thus founding 22STARS Jewelry and the 22STARS Foundation.

What initiatives did you undertake as the project leader in Kampala, and how did you deal with the challenges you faced?

As the project leader, I initiated various programs to empower youth and combat societal prejudices. Despite facing discrimination due to my age and health status, I remained strong in my commitment to education and advocacy. It wasn't easy, but my determination and support from the community kept me going.

What advice do you have for others facing similar challenges to what you've overcome?

My advice is to embrace self-acceptance, defy societal limitations, and never give up on your dreams. No matter how tough things may seem, there's always hope. Stay strong-willed and keep pushing forward, and remember that every obstacle can be overcome with determination and perseverance.

Can you tell me what did you graduate in and what are your aspirations now?

I graduated in Public Administration and Management within two years. My favorite subjects included human resources, communication, bookkeeping, and administrative law. Beyond my graduation, I want to continue empowering the next generation. I hope to use my education and experiences to advocate for social change and community development. I'm grateful for the support of Stella and the entire 22STARS team, and I'm excited to see where this journey takes me next.

In conclusion, what message would you like to leave with our audience?

I want people to know that no matter what challenges they face, they have the power to overcome them. My journey is a testament to the transformative power of resilience, education, and community collaboration. So, I encourage everyone to believe in themselves and never stop fighting for a better future.

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