Susan Laker was born on 23 January 1982 in Gulu Lacho and she has been living in the Acholi quarter for 10 years. She ran to Kampala with her family the night that their village was attacked by the rebels who killed almost all the neighbours.
Susan’s first husband, a soldier, died in 1999. Her second husband went to Somalia in 2007 with the peacekeeping force and never returned. During that period Susan was diagnosed with HIV, cancer and tuberculosis, but after a successful treatment a year later she was cancer free, and although she has to take AntiViral treatment for the rest of her life, she is now good health.
Susan moved to the slum of Acholi Quarter in Kampala in 2008 and started working in the stone quarry cutting stones, which was detrimental for her health. She tried to get another job but since she was stigmatized as an HIV patient she could not and she was in desperate need to find a way to look after her three children.
This is how she realized that she needed to start a business that she can do from her own home, and this is how she learned to make paper beads and quickly improved her skills and techniques by making beautiful jewellery. This way she started earning money and was able to improve her situation and was even able to go back to school herself.
With her intelligence, humour and passion, Susan soon became our team leader for the social jewellery enterprise, where she teaches other ladies of the Acholi quarter community to make jewellery and oversees the production and quality of our products. With the money she gets from the beads, she first rented a better house and now she managed to buy a very big land for herself. She hopes to continue working hard and build a better house so she can host everyone that is always supporting her. That’s also all she dreams about: finish up a very big house so that she can invite everyone that supported her and give back to them, to her children and family and to the community.
Once 22STARS foundation was opened all her three children (Derek, Peace Elizabeth, Dorika) were sponsored and she also became our local manager in Kampala, where she helps us to find the needy children and to enroll them to school, pay for their school fees, prepare the invoices, the school reports and updates of the children, and every Sunday cooks a meal for them.
Susan’s inspirational quote: “You should know nothing bad lasts forever. Nothing is impossible and sometimes really good things happen. They happened to me! And believe me, I went through some really bad situations in my life. I’m so grateful to 22STARS and Stella for having me as their project manager and for always helping and supporting me. I know I’m blessed, but I work very hard everyday for it. Education is the key and I believe our kids and women can have a much better life!”