The idea of organizing social impact trips / workations started in 2016 and a month later the first trip was there! Stella is the founder of 22STARS and she spends about 5 months a year in Uganda and the other 7 months abroad. Stella rents out her apartment in The Netherlands to lead a basic nomadic lifestyle and devote her time to work for 22STARS from anywhere. Her nomadic lifestyle let her soon speak at several "Digital Nomad" conferences about Social Impact and the lessons she learned from running a social business and charity in Uganda.
Stella stared to have many friends who like her also live nomadic, however they would rarely come to countries like Uganda. Hence whenever Stella was in Uganda she would be with her local team members and meet up occasionally with expats in Kampala. But there was a downside to this: most expats would stay only a few months or perhaps maximum 1 to 2 years in Kampala. So every time when Stella came back to Uganda she had to start making new friends again and started to feel lonely by times. She was wondering why Digital Nomads don't come to Uganda?
"Do you guys have food?" ," Is there Wi-Fi"? ,"Is it safe?" , where just a few of the questions she got, which made her realize that people have no idea about how much Uganda has to offer! And she gets is, unless you booked a 10 day safari tour around Uganda, it is definitely not the easiest country to arrive by yourself. Things change fast in Kampala, and if you don't have connections to Hotels, Drivers and so forth you will be charged a lot of times the "Muzungu (white person) " price. Even getting a sim-card and understanding to put "social media tax" on your phone in order to get online on Facebook can be already a hassle for many people. In addition to that, many people who visit a development country would like to help, but don't know how and do by times more harm than good.
Hence why Stella started to design 1 to 3 weeks long Workations and Impact Trips where people can come to Uganda and explore the country together with Stella. As Stella runs 22STARS in Kampala and Jinja, she gives together with her local team members people a deep insight and understanding of the culture and needs of the community. People who are so called "Digital Nomads" can go in their free time to co-working spaces with Stella and get some work done. And people who rather keep their laptops closed on this trip can join Susan and Aidah to learn more about the projects they are running, share their skills with local entrepreneurs and relax at the swimming pool under a palm tree.
Throughout the years we have had many participants coming to Uganda, every time leaving an immense positive impact behind! Many shared their skills with out team members and hold fundraising campaigns for us! Many participants raised 1000 euro or more for us and were able to buy together with us shoes, sweaters, lights and water filters for the children!
Also throughout the years Stella gained a lot of experience in order to run the trips to perfection in every detail.