The Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic are Falling Disproportionately on Most Vulnerable Groups as the Batwa.

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Dit artikel is hier in het Nederlands te lezen.

 

We are very grateful to share that recent donations have enabled us to provide the two Batwa groups that live at Lake Bunyonyi more emergency relief earlier this week. Team managers Aaron and Noah again provided these most vulnerable groups in the area maize flour, beans, cabbages and soap. Sadly, every time when we provide them emergency relief, we witness how their situation has further deteriorated and how they are becoming more and more hopeless. The photos below should speak volumes…

 

Although we have in the past shared several posts about the Batwa, their history and their living conditions, the information and the video below may contribute to an even better understanding of how these poor groups could end up living under the heart breaking circumstances as they do.

Tracking mountain gorillas is a very popular activity for tourists in Uganda. The mountain gorillas are amazing creatures and the need to conserve them and the forests they once shared with the Batwa people in the early nineties of the last century was an absolute fact. However, the way this was done obviously only benefitted the animals of the forest, and not the people who were also living there. Sadly, as the video (from 2015) below shows, the Batwa people aren’t seeing the dollars that tourists are bringing to the forest. Gorilla tracking is a very expensive activity (currently $700 per person!) and that money is simply not going back to the people who were displaced in order to make the amazing experience possible for tourists who can afford it.

 

 

Before they were evicted from the forests in the early nineties of the last century, the Batwa people hunted, gathered honey and medicinal plants, built shelters and held traditional ceremonies there. The forest was the source of everything for them, their livelihood depended on the forest. It’s important to be aware of the fact that these people did not grow up as the majority of us. They don’t believe or live the life that the majority of us does. Try to imagine that you (and your ancestors) have always known a certain way of life, and then are suddenly picked up and placed in a new environment, forced to simply adjust to a completely different way of living, and in that receiving to help or any kind of reasonable compensation. What would that do with you?

Please realize that the video above shows the appalling conditions under which the Batwa had to live even before COVID-19 existed. Before the tourism sector in Uganda completely collapsed early this year, at least small groups of tourists came to visit the Batwa people living at Lake Bunyonyi, thanks to local guides pointing out to them their existence. For their daily survival, the Batwa people living at Lake Bunyonyi completely depend on gifts and donations of those tourists, who have now since March not been there anymore.

Not only is currently a human disaster taking place with several of them, especially children, having died from hunger; on top of that the Batwa people belong to one of the oldest survival tribes in Africa, a tribe that is at risk of becoming extinct.

We hope that following the recent reopening of Uganda’s International Airport Entebbe, tourism in the country will gradually start flourishing again, which implies that the situation of the abandoned Batwa people will then also gradually improve, so that our emergency relief will at some point not be needed anymore.

Yet, this is of course not going to happen overnight!

 

Together, we can prevent that even more of their children will die.
Donating is easy. You can do so by:
– Using the PayPal donation button on our website, or transferring manually through PayPal using hwmco-nederland@outlook.com
– Transferring the amount to our Dutch bank account in the name of Stichting HWMCO-Nederland, using IBAN code NL56 INGB 0007 7485 36; if you donate from outside Europe, also the BIC code INGNL2A will be required.
– If you are donating from Uganda, you may use our Ugandan bank account in the name of Nicky’s Care for Africa Foundation, using no. 1045201062094 (Equity Bank Kabale).
Every donation, no matter how small, helps to literally save lives!

 

Please also read:

Living on the Edges of Ugandan Society: the Batwa.
Another Unforgettable Experience: Visiting a Batwa Group at Lake Bunyonyi.
How We Want to Offer Help at Lake Bunyonyi During the Corona Crisis.

 

HWMCO-Nederland & NiCA Foundation
‘We Fight Poverty by Bringing Development.’

 

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