Help empower Batwa indigenous people Uganda

Hello, my name is Kim I live in the UK and I am currently in direct contact with a member of the Batwa (pygmies) people Uganda. I am hoping to spread awareness and urgently raise some much needed money.

The Batwa are an indigenous group of people who originally lived in the ancient Bwindi forest in Uganda. The Batwa were regarded as the keepers of the forest, living a lifestyle of hunting and gathering. Anthropologists believe that they lived in the equatorial forests for around 60,000 years and harmoniously so alongside all other creatures including the mountain gorillas. They have a saying " A Mutwa (singular) loves the forest as he loves his body".

In 1991 the forest was gazetted a national park. The Batwa became conservation refugees in a world they were not used to. They were left to beg for food and clothes and are now amongst some of the poorest people in the world. Most Ugandan's look at the Batwa as Gorilla poachers but these people lived co-existed with the mighty giants for many years. They have not been able to compete in the modern market place with their skills and have had to resort to working for unfair wages and begging, in some desperate scenarios, stealing.

I am in contact with Julius who is the director of the young organisation called ' Batwa indigenous empowerment programme'. It has proven to be very difficult for them to complete the first stage of the plan which is to officially register as a NGO. They need signatures from the relevant governing bodies(which they have almost completed). They firstly need to focus on the funding to get registered and then a charity bank account, which all together costs $320 (including all necessary transport).

There is a rush to get this funding unfortunately, as the costs go up the longer they wait. Goal is to raise enough money to get them registered within the next 3-4 weeks. Any roll over money will go straight into the official charity bank which will go towards the NGO (with more information to follow).

Once they have successfully registered there are numerous plans to go ahead.
Firstly the most pressing issue for them to address is that in Kisoro District called Rushaga there is a lot of hunger to be expected for the next 6 months (estimated) due to thunderstorms damaging the land. 

The mission statement is to empower and transform Batwa communities and lives of Ugandans through education and promotion of human rights in both social, economical, politcal and cultural revival.

other aims are for group activities such as traditional dances, cultural centre, farming and animal rearing amongst many more. 
They aim to market and sell Batwa handcrafts, bee keeping project, school projects, health and nutrition and the purchase of land to list a few.

Your support will be so unbelievably appreciated not only by everyone involved in the organisation, myself included and thousands of people will be helped to live the life they deserve to.

I personally believe that a lot of problems in Western societies have roots in the loss of our communal values. We rely on a system which is not designed to benefit humans, animals or the earth. Too many have lost their connection to one another and to our mother earth and many have lost themselves amongst this reality and concrete jungle lifestyles. I think it is so important that we help to preserve and empower tribes to be able to live equally and not lose their knowledge of the land and connection to mother Earth. It is also so important that they get a fair and equal chance to finally adapt to the modern world and add their sustainable knowledge and beauty to the world to help make a positive ripple effect.

(all photos and information has been permitted by Julius Director of Batwa indigenous empowerment programme)



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Kimberley Lord 
Brighton, South East England, United Kingdom
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