Fight for the Forgotten Empowering the Batwa Pygmies


 

Fight for the Forgotten Empowering the Batwa Pygmies

 

Refugees in Their Own Country

The Batwa Pygmies in southwestern Uganda are among the most oppressed and bullied people in the world. After co-existing with the rainforest as hunter-gatherers and "Keepers of the Forest" for thousands of years, the Pygmies are now being systematically evicted from their ancestral home.

Last year Justin Wren and Fight for the Forgotten identified a Batwa tribe in a desperate situation. Once more than 300 members strong, they had lost half of their population to disease since their relocation to a nearby slum. They had no access to clean water or toilets, little means of obtaining food, and no skills to help them survive outside the rainforest.

There Is Hope

Because of our supporters, since the beginning of 2019 Fight for the Forgotten and our in-country partners have been working together to equip the Batwa Pygmies with land, water, resources, and education to not only tackle their immediate life-and-death needs, but also empower them to build a thriving, sustainable future.

The Batwa now have a small five-acre farm on which they’ve planted short-term crops for both sustenance and cash crops. Thanks to our local Ugandan champions of well drillers and community development specialists, they also have access to clean water, and enough food to sustain them until the crops come in.

A Farm Is Just a Start

Though their immediate needs are met for now, today 150 Pygmies are still surviving in deplorable conditions. Sewage from the neighboring community runs into their camp, and they share the one acre they live on with 150 graves of the family members and friends they’ve buried over the last three years.

Their next priorities are a community latrine and additional acres on which to build clean, safe housing, as well as more latrines and water wells. “It’s so exciting to see the hard work they’re putting in,” says Justin. “It’s exciting to see them leading the charge and the transformation they’re seeing in their community.”

The Batwa are about halfway to the monetary goal that will fully fund the first phase of their self sustainable plan.