Meet Aidah, Stella and Susan!
Together Susan, Stella and Aidah are the trio who run the 22STARS foundation.
They first met back in 2009 in Kampala, at the time Stella was studying international humanitarian law, which led her to Uganda to do research for her thesis.
After Aidah met Stella and learned of her background she introduced Stella to several women in need who fled from the war in Northern Uganda, including Susan.
Susan and Stella met using a translator to communicate, but no translation was needed to understand Susan's jokes and to see her big heart!
When Stella started to send money annually to Aidah and Susan for their handmade paper jewellery, Susan took this opportunity to go back to school.
At the end of 2012, Stella returned to Kampala and was reunited with Susan. During those few years, Susan learned to use a computer, and read and write in English.
Stella's creativity, along with her desire to help war affected people, and her strong connection with Aidah and Susan were the key reasons 22STARS Jewellery was founded a few years later, in 2013.
In 2015, Susan became our project manager in Acholi Quarter in Kampala. The Acholi Quarter is a camp for internally displaced people.
During this time, Aidah focused on a new group of women, needing her help as much as Susan did. Towards the end of 2015, Aidah moved to Jinja to serve the community of Danida,
where her father was born and one of the poorest areas in Jinja. In 2016, the foundation decided to make Danida the second location of the 22STARS program.
Why we changed from
product-based model to a donation-based model?
With the jewellery business, we have been able to empower families in Uganda for years, using funding primarily from selling handmade goods that were made by the 22STARS artisans.
While a product-based model is a great way to help people out of poverty by making sure they become more self-sustainable, the sales are also highly dependent on the Western market. Our production and marketing costs are high, and at times we would sell nothing at all.
The donation based-model provides the communities in Uganda with a more stable and consistent income, allowing us to focus on Education, Entrepreneurship, and Local Leadership.
The Foundation runs independently from the jewellery business, although we treat the profits as a donation for our projects, enabling our Ugandan artisans the ability to sell their goods directly to the visitors who come to visit the foundation in Uganda.
Mission & Vision
At 22stars, we're on a mission to empower families in Uganda to rise above poverty through education, entrepreneurship and local leadership.
We believe that economic development and education, along with fostering a strong sense of community, are key to helping communities break free of poverty. Our projects use an integrated approach to community development - focusing on the development of economic, social, natural, human, and cultural capital.
Our programs and projects empower Ugandan people to preserve their culture, environment, and society.
Our long-term vision is to have our own education center where both children and their parents can learn and develop their entrepreneurship skills.
Meaning Behind The Logo
Stars are used as a symbol of the inter-connectivity and unity of humankind.
Each person on Earth has access to the vastness of the night sky, by simply looking up. For millennia, we
have looked to the stars for guidance and navigation, for hope and protection.
The number 22 has a long history of representing change for the better - for making even the most
ambitious dreams a reality.
We Operate In The communities Of Kampala and in Jinja!
Background of Acholi Quarter in Kampala
Acholi quarter is a poverty stricken community in Kampala. The community is comprised of mostly Acholi people who fled from war affected areas in Northern Uganda during the civil war from 1986-2009. The community also comprises of many other tribes i.e. Busoga, Baganda, Itesos, Banyankole, Banyarwanda. Stone quarrying is the most common form of employment which was, and still is, being carried.
However, many people are leaving the quarry as increasing market demand has meant that new opportunities for business have become available. 22STARS foundation is an organisation that is positively impacting the Acholi Quarter community by providing education and medical support to children. It is currently facilitating the entrepreneurship skills and knowledge training conducted by Entrepreneurs hand Uganda (EHU) so as to equip the youths, adults and parents with sustainable business ideas in order to make their passion a reality and help them to help themselves.
Background of Danida in Jinja
According to previous and current research conducted by the Uganda Bureau of statistics, Busoga (Eastern Ugandan) is one of the poorest regions in the country, the number of poor people in living in rural areas is approximated to be 10 million.
To be part of the solution to this crisis, Entrepreneurs Hand Uganda through its campaign “ Entrepreneurship for Development”, was founded and established in Jinja District, Busoga with the main objectives being poverty eradication and reduction of unemployment through entrepreneurship knowledge, experience and skills training within its programs-Youth Vocation Program, Farmers/Peasants program, Community Entrepreneurship Program and Enterprise/corporate program.