Teacher Abella is going to present to you her impression of our time in Kampala in this little article. Enjoy!
“From Nairobi we travelled to Kampala, Uganda, in order to visit 22Stars, an organisation that empowers women through jewellery production. We met with Susan, the project manager, in their office in the Ancholi Quarter of Kampala and she showed us everything, from jewellery production to where she lives and where she used to work before Stella Airoldi gave her and 22 other women the chance to earn their income in a better way. All the works she is doing are very similar to what I am doing with my girls group – making earrings, bracelets and small bags.
Me wearing jewellery made by one of the women of “22Stars” during the “Dreams of the Future” exhibition at Hirschgarten, Munich (23-25 June 2017)
When we were in the office there were also many children, which are supported by Stella’s 22Stars Foundation. They can come there every Sunday to have a change in their diet because they usually just eat Ugali (corn meal) every day. I was so happy to have them around!
Susan took us to the stone quarry where she used to work before Stella started 22Stars. It was so sad to see the women sitting in the sun, crushing the stones. It is such hard work but sometimes they don’t even earn enough to pay one meal a day for their family, so the children have to go to bed hungry.
Susan told us that she was “lucky” to have been able to flee from the Lord Resistance Army (more here) (her entire family was killed) and she now lives as a refugee in Kampala. She was forced into marriage at age 13 and had her first child when she was 14. Her story was really touching and put a lot of things in perspective.
It was so good to see that a project like 22Stars could really help the women there to become more independent and empowered to earn their own money!
I think it would be wonderful if the women in Kayanga could also learn how to make those kinds of jewellery designs, which they can then use for workshops with the children!
After all these great impressions with 22Stars we visited the Gadaffi Mosque, the biggest mosque in East Africa. We had to wear headscarves, which was very new to me!
Inside the mosque we saw many different things like the Qur’an and the praying carpets. Our guide was amazing – he explained everything so well and with a lot of passion! In the end we went up on the tower of the mosque where we had a stunning view of the city! Climbing up there felt like climbing a mounting – so many steps!
It was so nice and Uganda is so beautiful!!
In the evening we went to Ndere Cultural Centre where we saw dances of the different tribes in Uganda like like Banyoro and Baganda. I loved to see that they are preserving their culture (the way to dance, talk in the local languages etc.) like this. It was so so beautiful!
What I found very interesting as well was that all of the performers were students – that made me think again about “Kayanga Arts Centre”. If we can develop that centre, we can show visitors our culture. Those visitors could be from the region, from other parts of Tanzania, from East Africa, but also from other parts of the world! Like this the students can earn some money and possibly finance their secondary or university education. For the moment it is just an idea but I think it would be wonderful if we could make that happen!
Kampala was simply a place with a sheer abundance of beauty – be it nature, culture, people or food!”