In September of 2018, I’ve spent a few weeks in Uganda with a small NGO. Most of my time I spend photographing the lives of people living in the Acholi Quarter.
With the help of the NGO, I was able to get through to parts of the community otherwise closed. This allowed me to go beyond first impressions and make connections.
Although I cannot deny those first impressions were gloomy and disheartening it didn’t take long to see past that, to connect to the people living there and to feel welcome.
What I experienced after spending time in the Acholi Quarter is a small scale society. A community of people working hard to provide for their families, taking care of each other, and fighting for a better future for the next generation.
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The Acholi Quarter is a slum area located on the outskirts of Kampala. It is named Acholi Quarter because most of the people that live here come from Acholiland in the North of Uganda. The land was given to them by their king when they had to flee their homeland.
Between 1988 and 2006 the people from North Uganda were terrorized by Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. Joseph Kony’s army consisted mostly of child soldiers. Many of the men and women now living in the Acholi Quarter have been his victim in some form or other.
Despite the daily challenge to survive most people are positive-minded and they are working hard to provide for their families. There are lots of little shops and some people work outside the quarter. But the main source of income is the stone quarries.
22 Stars is a small charity foundation running projects in Acholi Quarter in Kampala and the Danila slum in Jinja. The foundation supports women by selling the jewelry they make from paper beads.
They also attract sponsors to pay the school fees for children that wouldn’t go to school otherwise. Every Sunday they cook a nutritious meal and organize fun stuff for the children.
During my time in Uganda, I photographed at 2 schools. One in Kampala where the kids from the Acholi Quarter are attending and one in Jinja where the kids from the Danila slum are attending.
Many parents cannot afford to send their children to school. The children in these pictures are fortunate enough to have parents that can afford it or they are sponsored by contributions from the 22 stars foundation.
With donations, the 22 stars foundation sends more than 300 children to school in Kampala and Jinja.