The pygmies or Batwa are the indigenous people of Idjwi island. Once they lived in the forests; they hunted, fished, kept beehives, then the Havu people arrived and, like many indigenous peoples, they were pushed aside, oppressed, denied their rights. Today they constitute just over 2% of the total population; they earn 1/10th of the income of Havu households.
For generations, they have been treated as inferiors. A report in 2016 stated that ‘they have virtually no food and often eat only three times per week’. They are severely malnourished and suffer from kwashiorkor, a life-threatening form of protein deficiency. Their housing is inadequate, they have no access to health care, and the children do not go to school because of poverty and hunger. (The Plight of the Pygmies of Idjwi, Amgad Zaky).
“These pygmies are living within a vicious circle. With little or no income, they cannot afford the necessary agricultural tool and equipment. Without tools and with poor soil, they cannot produce the food they need. Without sufficient food and clean water they get diseases and therefore cannot work to get the income they need.” (The Pygmies of the Great Lakes, C.Bideri & H.Hergum)
Kizungu is working hard to improve the lives of these victimized people. The Fondazione Cariello Corbino has donated agricultural tools and we are now in the process of buying suitable land so they can cultivate beans, potatoes, onions, aubergines, soya and other crops.
Fund Raising managed by Helen Pope in association with the Fondazione Cariello Corbino.