Our six Development Projects
Education is not the only thing we do, have a look at our additional projects benefiting all children and their whole community!
1.Small business & micro loans Project
Danida, Jinja, is one of the poorest regions in the country, and also people in Acholi Quarter in Kampala people live from 1 usd a day. To help with this crisis, our partners at Entrepreneurs Hand Uganda (EHU), who conducted various interviews and trainings with the people of our 22STARS group in both Jinja and Kampala.
We could see different challenges that were impeding the growth of their business, such as illiteracy, poor time management and a negative outlook regarding business growth. Many of the attendees were also concerned with sharing their difficulties in running a business, even though the group could help to find solutions.
In 2017, 22STARS partnered with EHU, to give Community Entrepreneurship trainings to the families of our 22STARS children in the Danida Area of Jinja and the Acholi Quarter in Kampala. The families first received an intensive four week training from EHU. Together with EHU we created in-depth personal profiles for each participant to see how we could help them the most. We then gave the participants small loans, set up a saving system, and monitored their progress.The most common small businesses our beneficiaries started were: food stalls, hospitality, clothing (tailoring and thrift stores), and local transport (mototaxi).
Alongside the small business program, we also empower 42 women through our 22STARS jewellery project. However, as jewellery production is dependent on the demand from the Western market, our women do this only on an order basis and we encourage them to run their own locally based businesses. If you would like to know more about how your jewellery purchase helps the women and children, check out our artisan page.
Lasting growth depends on the empowerment of communities through education, skill-building, control of natural resources, and effective interaction with civil 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. Availability of small, but repeated loans is, in the long-term, expected to positively impact their poverty.
We provided free loans to 64 people of our 22STARS group to enable them to start-up and grow their business ideas and micro enterprises. The first rounds were successful and the beneficiaries could pay back the loan and saw their businesses grow.
Many children of the 22STARS foundation are malnourished and eat only posho and beans and if they are lucky they get once a year a meal with meat. The children would be scattered all over and it would be difficult to visit all children and see how there well being is. In addition families are often struggling to have enough food on the table, especially during the dry season when crops failed to grow and food prices rise.
Since October 2016 we are providing the sponsored children from the 22STARS foundation with a hot meal every weekend! This started with 60 children, but by now we are providing every week meals to more than 320 kids. In addition we provide on an emergency base rice, beans and posho to families in urgent need. A big thanks for our nutrition program goes to Alexander Schledewits, who visited our projects in Uganda in 2017. Alexander initiated the group Teller Für Teller, in which he gather 50 of his friends together, who are making monthly donations to our foundation banc account for the nutrition project. We have handed out by now more than 45.000 meals. On average a meal costs between 0.75 to 1,00 euro.
Besides providing the children with a hot meal, the weekly meals also have a social function for the children and by buying locally we support the whole community! The meals are not only important as it’s the only time a week that the children get a meal with meat or fish, but the Sunday meals also have a big social function. As all the children come together as a group, they are bonding and we can see how they are all doing. And did you know that you also help the whole local community with the food donations?! We buy all our food locally and from different small stores! Hence making sure that everyone in the slum area benefits from the donation.
3.Eye- and Health Care Project
According to WHO’s report in 2011, there are 285 million people who suffer from visual impairment, and every 5 seconds a person goes blind. 80% of these visual impairments are avoidable, And 90% of those who are visually impaired live in developing countries, where they are not medically treated due to financial reasons, lack of medical facilities, ignorance, etc. Personal safety as well as chronic poverty are linked to these issues. Uganda has a scarcity of trained eye care professionals available to provide accessible care and this directly contributes to disadvantaged lives, affecting a loss of potential to the overall economy. This is particularly evident in optometry services which impact on an adult’s capacity to earn and a child’s capacity to learn. Optometry has the capacity to change the eye care landscape of Uganda. This profession is very young in Uganda, emerging over the last three years since the opening of the optometry program at Makerere University in 2013, funded by DFAT and Optometry Giving Sight. There are currently optometry students enrolled in year one and two of the optometry program at Makerere University. The first graduates will emerge in 2018. Unfortunately, for many children in Uganda it is not as simple as heading to the optometrist and getting a prescription for glasses. A simple screening and treatment can cost more than 100 dollars, which is unaffordable for many in one of the poorest nations in the world.
Within our eye-care and health program we have several activities that are also related to the health of the families and the community that we are working with. We pay the medical bills for children whose situation is life treating, and whose parents are not able to pay for it. Most of the time illnesses relate to Malaria. Under this program pillar we also set up the Eye Health Program. We bring several times a year children and their families to the local hospitals and opticians to get their eye sight checked and get medication and or glasses where needed. Our main sponsor for our Eye Program comes from Walzer Opticians from Isny, Germany, and his non-profit organization 'Wir Helfen Sehen'. Early eye examinations are crucial to make sure children have normal, healthy vision so they can perform better at schoolwork and play. Early identification of a child’s vision problem can be crucial because children often are more responsive to treatment when problems are diagnosed early. Many people here are shortsighted or cannot see on a distance, and it is absolutely essential for the education of our children that they are able to see well the board and their notebook at school! Together with our 22STARS team and local opticians Walzer tested the eye side of all the kids in Daystar and St Matia, two schools where many our kids go to. Afterwards, 70 people were sent to a Ugandan eye doctor where they received further treatment, 50 reading glasses were handed out to the elderly, and 20 protection glasses were given to the people working in the store quarry.
This shows the importance of the “Eye Program” of 22STARS. For a country where the average monthly income earned is $40, glasses of more than $100 is simply unaffordable. Glasses are not obtained due to this financial reason, but also due to ignorance, and lack of professional manpower, affecting educational and economic activities. Our future plan is to look for collaborations with Ugandan organizations who could provide us with accessible eye care and affordable glasses. Our plan is to raise additional funds to check the eyes of more children and families living in the community where 22STARS operates. To give people an opportunity to get an eye operation and treatment where necessary and to get glasses. We want to perform eye exams with a professional optometrist, and provide prescription glasses for patients who do not have access to proper medical services and eye surgery. We also want to promote blindness prevention and eye health programs in the local communities.
4. Livelihood Project
In our communities the most important emergencies are related to HIV/Aids and other medical issues,
Other challenges include climate change and its effects on Agricultural Output and food security (frequent droughts and consequent rise of food prices and disputes over land are very common), high population growth rate, which greatly affects living standards and creates urban slums, land ownership, Tribalism and Nepotism where people are employed based on tribe rather than skills.
At 22STARS we are still small, but we are trying to tackle the basic needs of the people in the community we are working at. Our third program is a development initiative providing the children and families with different livelihood options and monitoring their impact. Under this program we carry out various activities based on the needs of our beneficiaries, such as handing out mosquito nets, beds, matrasses, clothes, water filters and medical treatment. In case of farmers we also buy them animals to improve their livelihood (chickens, goats, etc). Our livelihoods approach identifies the correct strategy through a need assessment that takes into consideration the priorities and goals defined by the community itself.
Our goal is that our families meet their basic needs and become more resilient in the face of external shocks and stresses, and progressively less dependent upon external support (or if they are, that this support itself is economically and institutionally sustainable). Our goal is also that they are able to maintain the long-term productivity of natural resources, and that they do not undermine the livelihoods of others. Livelihood outcomes go beyond food and income security, to also include quality of life.
5. After school project
Many of our kids were able to start school once they received this opportunity from their sponsor. Hence they started to go to school at an older age and were not used to the school system. For this reason they usually have some difficulties in the first years in terms of school performance, but we make the best we can to make them improve over time. Many of the kids are orphans and almost all of them come from a family/ caretakers, whose members are ILLITERATE and hence cannot help them with their school work.
The After School Program is a very important part of our projects, as we do have some children who are not performing in school as good as they could. Thanks to this holistic educational program we are focusing not just on the improvement of their performance, but also on their happiness and well-being. We make sure that the kids come together at least once a week, we hold parent conferences to also educate the parents of their plights, and we give kids extra lessons during holidays and weekends. Moreover, we give the kids extra classes on weekends and holidays, so that they can keep up with school. We also hold extra- curricular activities, such as sports, painting, dancing, health, education, and we are holding parent conferences to include them in the education of their children. As our group grew to 300 children we need more money to run this program full time and as efficiently as possible. For this reason your donation is highly appreciated. Please also consider the possibility of becoming a monthly donor!
Numerous studies have shown that youth living in poverty have significantly higher risks for academic struggles and a higher drop-out rate. Reports also show that these students are less likely to graduate with a high school degree by the time they are 20. Students who participate in after-school programs have a higher chance of not dropping out from school. Also, afterschool program help them to build a stronger sense of belonging, and improve social skills in terms of cooperation and support among themselves.
6. Education project
At our 22STARS projects in Uganda, this is the sad truth for many parents and children. Twenty years of civil war took a heavy toll on the Ugandan people. The parents of the 22STARS children fled from northern Uganda to Kampala, the capital, where they sought refuge from the war of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). They settled in "Acholi Quarter" - an Internally Displaced Camp - and ended up living in an area centred around several stone quarries. Even children as young as 3 years old, have to work, crushing stones, to earn money for food. Although there is now peace in Uganda, the battle against poverty in Acholi Quarters continues. Many more refugees from Sudan and Congo have also settled there. In addition many people went to Danida, one of the poorest areas in Jinja, where our second 22STARS project is located.80% of the children that we are sponsoring in Acholi Quarters were sitting in this stone quarry, like Olivia, the girl in the green T-shirt. Thanks to people like you we were able to save more than 200 kids! The children next to Olivia are still looking for a sponsor to start finally school. This situation is unbelievable, but true. I took these pictures myself and I am about 4 months a year at this place. The kids come often to our office asking me whether we can also help them and we give them the little we have. It breaks my heart to send them away, but I know that we will get over time more and more children out there into school!
Sending children to school through long-term sponsorships. So that a child will not be send for just one year to school, but longer. We hence really try to motivate the sponsors to conitnue their sponsorship until the child finishes school. In addition we have a safety net for the children, that in case the sponsor drops out they are not been send back home, but can continue school until they find a new sponsor.
Besides that the child learns how to read and write and all the basic school stuff, a child also receives meals at the schools and their whole happiness and well-being increases. We make sure that the kids come together at least once a week, we hold parent conferences to also educate the parents of their plights, and we give kids extra lessons during holidays and weekends. Moreover, we give the kids extra classes on weekends and holidays, so that they can keep up with school. We also hold extra- curricular activities, such as sports, painting, dancing, health, education, and we are holding parent conferences to include them in the education of their children.
We want a better future for these children and their communities, and for that they need education. Once they are doctors, engineers, teachers or whatever their dream is, they will become change-makers and able to give back to their community. Educating children will help pull families, and perhaps even the whole country, out of the poverty cycle. Helping a child complete their schooling will double the likelihood that they will send their own children to school! By keeping girls in school, the rates of child marriage and teen pregnancy significantly decrease. In addition to sending the kids to school we run several community projects that benefit these children and their families.