Among the communities we work with, there are many issues which heavily impact the quality of everyday life, one of the most devastating challenges is climate change and its effects on farmers and food security. Over the last 10 years, there has been an increase in the frequency of droughts which has led to a rise in food prices, making it even more difficult for families to feed themselves. As our projects are in poverty-stricken parts of a city, there is no nearby ground available for farming, which makes food expensive. Due to the high food prices, 29 % of Ugandan children under five years old suffer from chronic malnutrition. Families often struggle to have enough food on the table. Investing in better nutrition, especially for children, adolescents, and women are proven to be one of the best means we have to transform a child’s health, education and livelihood.
Our solution is sending the sponsored children to good schools, where they also get a meal during school days. And organize every weekend a nutritious meal for them, especially during their holidays. We started to serve weekly meals from october 2016 onwards. Our warm meals consist of vegetables, meat and or fish to make sure the children receive a healthy varied diet. The weekly meals also are a great social occasional for the children, giving them an opportunity to play and connect. By buying our supplies locally we make sure that the donations are being reinvested into supporting the community as a whole. To become more cost efficient, we started to rent and harvest a field for Maize production since 2020. The Maize field allows us to deliver twice a year 1000 kilos of maize to our projects in Kampala and Jinja, which then will be stored and used during the weekly meals and additional program activities. We also provide “emergency meals” for families who have barely anything to eat, especially during the pandemic we started extra fundraisers to keep the families fed during lockdown.
As our number of children keeps growing each quarter, so does our demand for nutritious weekly meals. Our current goal is to keep going with the weekly meals for all our 475 sponsored children. For this we need to raise €12.350 euro a year, which comes down to €1030,- per month. With extra donations we would love to expand our Maize field. 1 Meal for a child is about € 0,50, with the current exchange rate and higher food prices this means we give a child rice and beans with fruits or vegetables and once a month they also get a meal with meat or fish.
We work in the communities of Acholi Quarter, Kampala and Danida, Jinja. Both areas are one of the poorest in the region, where many people live on only $1 a day. We realised many of the people living here couldn’t grow their business due to illiteracy, poor time management and a negative outlook regarding business growth. In Acholi Quarter many men and women are working foremost in a stone quarry, which brings them barely enough money to survive and worse, is even dangerous for their health. And in Danida, many people were working long days in nearby factories without having any employment contract. Lasting growth depends on the empowerment of communities through education, skill-building, control of natural resources, and effective interaction with society and their governments. The best way to move forward is to ensure that the families of the children we work with can become self-sustainable.
The 22STARS Foundation originated as the 22STARS Jewellery business in 2013, as we always believed that making people self-sustainable through entrepreneurship is the best way to end poverty. We co-designed and marketed the women's jewellery on the Western Market. Already back then we used the profits to also focus on growing the local businesses of the women, so that they would become independent from our selling techniques.Hence when we established the 22STARS Foundation in 2017, it was for us a natural step to focus besides the Child-Sponsorship program also on the Economic Development of the parents of the sponsored children. We partnered up with Entrepreneurs Hands Uganda (EHU), to give Entrepreneurship training to the parents and caretakers, mostly women, of the 22STARS sponsored children. Every new member of our Entrepreneurship Program receives an intensive four-week training from EHU, then they create in-depth personal profiles for each participant to see how to help them the most. By providing microloans, setting up a saving system, and monitoring ongoing progress these people are able to start small business such asfood stalls, hospitality, clothing (tailoring and thrift stores), and local transport (mototaxi).
Availability of small, but repeated loans is, in the long-term, expected to positively impact their lives. In order to keep our Entrepreneurship Program running we need €300,- each month, to pay for our Small Business Trainer and his transportation costs (between Kampala and Jinja) to come to train and monitor our beneficiaries. This comes down to €3600,- a year. Additionally we would love to add €5.000,- to the loan program to add even more beneficiaries and hand out larger loans. Therefore our goal for this year is €8.600,-.
Computer Literacy Program
Most of the people living in the 22STARS communities have no access to a computer, since computers are very expensive and also most houses would not provide secure electricity and storing places for computers. The teenagers and wom(en), who like to use a computer often need to walk long distances to town to access an internet café. And even then, they most of the time lack the basic computer knowledge skills. As Computer Literacy is not part of the school program, most kids will only learn about computers at a very late age. ICT can provide unlimited opportunities for economic development and social engagement through new innovative thinking and tools. In today's information age, it is critical to be computer literate.
We took it upon ourselves to fill the gaps in knowledge provided by the public school system to enable our kids to receive a more holistic education. When the Covid Lockdown started in 2020, and long-distance schooling became the only way for our children to receive an education, the importance of having computers and computer knowledge became even more clear to us. For this reason, back in June 2020 we set up our Computer program and also installed solar panels to make sure we would have electricity for the computer classes. We have now 31 laptops available for the children (16 Kampala and 15 in Jinja) and started with basic computer training. We plan to give also advanced courses to students so that they can have better career perspectives, but for now all laptops are occupied for the beginner training. Our computer trainings are 8 to 12 hours a week over a period of 4 months. One group consist of 24 students in Kampala and 30 students in Jinja.After every 4 months, kids do their exams and graduate and then a new group comes in. Hence we will have per year 90 children in Jinja and 72 children in Kampala graduating. When the laptops are not used for classes, the children come to our office to practice and learn with them.
We have a dream of making every sponsored 22STARS child proficient in using computers and survive in today’s digital world. We are strongly advocating the building of knowledge societies where the power of information and communication helps people access the knowledge, they need to improve their lives and achieve their full potential. To pay our computer teachers in both Kampala and Jinja and print the exercise materials, we need each month €350,- which is €4.200,- a year. With extra donations we would love to add more laptops to our program, which cost around €375,- per laptop with all accessories.
Within the communities we work, music has traditionally been considered essential for educating, communicating, and imparting discipline to the younger generation. However, access to music instruments is extremely limited because instruments are very costly and there is no music school or center close by. Parents and elders have played the role of instructors, transferring the skills to children through riddles, storytelling, myths, traditional dance, playing local instruments and proverbs. The communities believe that these artistic skills prepare children for adult life. What the communities lack is a center where music and dance can take place.
Especially our project leaders in Jinja, David and Aidah, stressed for the importance of having a music program. Hence 22STARS took it upon themselves to fill the gaps in knowledge provided by the public school system to enable our kids to receive music and dance classes within our community centers. In April 2021 we set up our music program andbought our first musical instruments: bass guitar, bow harp, solo guitar, classic guitar, acoustic guitar, drum set, keyboard, micro phones, and speakers. We had a music trainer from the USA, Alex Valencia, who helped us for a couple of months to set up the music classes with our local teachers. Besides learning new skills, the music classes also help the children with stress and kept them motivated. We enrolled three Ugandan music teachers to start teaching the first four groups of 20 children intensively. Additionally, we have groups of 40 children who participate in our dance and music note classes and had already the possibility to get already familiar with some of the instruments. We offer music classes every day of the week, from 2PM to 4PM.
The program has been running smoothly since its inception and we are seeing a great improvement in our children. We are now seeking further support to cover our recurring costs. We pay for our three music teachers, exercise materials and the maintenance of the instruments, for this we need €250,- a month, which is €3.000,- a year. With extra donations we would love to expand our program bits by bits to Kampala.
Health care is expensive, especially in the communities 22STARS operates in that are struck by poverty. As a developing country, Uganda struggles with multiple intractable diseases that kill millions of Ugandans every year. HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, espiratory tract infections, and diarrheal diseases are among the top five causes of death in Uganda. Additionally, many children have no access to eye health care, which causes them to drop out of school due to bad vision. Especially in Acholi Quarter eye health care has been a huge problem, as many children are crashing stones in the quarry. Not only do stones fly into the eyes of the children, leaving them blind for the rest of their lives, also the dust and lack of clean water to wash their eyes causes many eye infections. Uganda has a scarcity of trained eye care professionals available to provide accessible care, this is particularly evident in optometry services which impact on an adult’s capacity to earn and a child’s capacity to learn. Early eye examinations are crucial to make sure children have normal, healthy vision so they can participate better at school and in play.
With our Health Program we pay for the medical bills for children, whose situation is life threatening, and whose parents are not able to pay for it. We believe strongly that malaria should not be the reason anymore for a child to die. Whenever we bring children to a hospital, we usually also bring their parent or caretaker along, pay for transportation and also meals during the day, since a hospital visit can take easily take up to 10 hours. As a subcategory of our Health Care Program, is our Eye-healthcare Program, which we launched thanks to a partnership with WirHelfenSehen E.v, who visited us in 2018. Within our Eye-care program we have been able to send two students to an Optician School to become Optometrists. Several times a year, we take children and their families to the eye hospitals and opticians to get their eyesight checked and get medication, or glasses where needed. We even were able to pay for the operation of several children and young people who had a damaged eye due to the stone quarry work. Additionally, we are spreading awareness about blindness prevention and conduct eye health education programs in the local communities.
Within the Eye-care Program we are planning that our recent graduates from the Optician school will help conduct eye testing in the communities we work in and expand to other communities. We have 459 sponsored children now, where possible their parents or care takers also pay for medical costs. However often the costs are too high for the parents and hence we need to help out. Whenever an operation of a child is very expensive, we set up a specific emergency fundraiser for the child. As the money raised for our Health Program is supposed to cover the basic medical needs of all our sponsored children. Our goal is to raise each month €250,-. That is €3.000,- a year, so that we can take care of the basic health care needs of the children.
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© Foundation 22STARS 2017-2023 | Kasteelplein 73, 4811XC, Breda, The Netherlands.
Phone Number: +31 6 13 51 89 90
KVK nr: 68437870 | RSIN 85744249
We have the ANBI status. (Public Benefit Organisation)
Banc Details for direct donations:
Name: Stichting 22STARS
Account: NL98 ABNA 0247199222
Banc Name: ABN AMRO
Country: The Netherlands