Redemption Song Foundation gave out mattresses to the Kalehe Batwa families after each one improved their homes with mud. The brand was “Sleep King” and our manager Charity told me that a couple of them joked that they would be sleeping like kings and queens!
This is no small thing. We last bought them mattresses a few years ago and living in mud homes, they get ruined faster than in a home you might be used to. We also handed out a bedsheet for each family getting a mattress. Mattresses are too expensive for them to afford at this time -- especially right now during the pandemic when all tourism has ceased (the country's borders are still sealed to visitors). They typically live on less than a dollar a day, and that's when they had dancing income. Now, they are getting money by selling handiwork, such as wooden mingling sticks, woven mats, and also firewood.
For the past few weeks, we have delivered food, soap and other items to the Kalehe Batwa. Other items we have provided and/or will soon provide include hand towels, hoes, storage buckets, plastic jerry cans, cups, bowls, spoons, jelly (like lotion for their skin), and toothbrushes and toothpaste. The Kalehe Batwa's sole source of income comes from tourism, and that’s temporarily gone—we aren’t sure for how long.
The opening sequence of the Lion King movie is beautiful and inspiring and reminded me of the gorgeous African savanna. Our organization is based just a couple of hours from the savanna where we take some of the Batwa children. RSF lies closer to the Montane rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a gorgeous ancient forest that until this century was home to the indigenous Batwa. They were not responsible for the depletion of the mountain gorilla’s habitat, or the gorillas themselves, which was caused by other tribes engaging in agriculture and deforesting the area. Yet the Batwa have suffered more than any other group because of tourism and because of the park.
Since September 2014, Redemption Song Foundation has had its office, staff housing and community center for the Batwa in a lovely one-story house in Buhoma, a few kilometers from the main entrance to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – the ancestral forest homeland of the Batwa people – and just down the hill from Kalehe village, where the Batwa we work with live.
The house has a beautiful large yard, with banana, plantain, avocado, and mango trees, and a pineapple plantation. Alas, the owner recently sold the house and sadly, he also passed away last month. As a result, RSF has found itself suddenly without a home for the future.
The RSF House has provided a safe place for the Kalehe Batwa kids to play soccer (“football” in Uganda) and Frisbee, to do cartwheels in the yard, and to come inside to watch movies, color and play with toys and read books.
Every week, the RSF house welcomes all the Kalehe Batwa kids to our Educational Soup Kitchen — feeding them a protein-rich meal,...
I have volunteered for Redemption Song Foundation for the last two years and it was the name that triggered my connection to the cause in the first place. Named after one of Bob Marley’s songs, Redemption Song, RSF aims to emancipate or free “conservation refugees” from poverty and destitution. As a refugee living in Sweden, Wendee’s mission inspired me, and that is why I am a part of RSF’s volunteer team.
After finishing my undergraduate study with a major in Sociology and Social Administration 16 years ago I had worked for about 7 years helping vulnerable people and groups in my home country, Ethiopia.
In 2008 I decided to change my career to environmental communication and came to Sweden to earn a Master of Science degree with a major in Environmental Communication at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. I returned home in 2010 and worked for 5 years helping local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) preparing project proposals...
The child on our website who first captured our director Wendee’s attention through the camera lens has recently lost a sponsor for his schooling. We are looking for someone who is willing to help further Beckham’s education by sponsoring him. This means you will get to write to him, share photos of yourself or your family, and he will write back!
We have 2 sponsorship levels. The first level involves a recurring donation of $45 per month or a one-time payment of $500 per year – as a thank you, we will send you a free handmade basket made by your child’s mother. For those who want a lower option, you can pay $25 per month or $300 per year.
These funds pay for school uniforms, shoes, school supplies, administration costs – which include paying for our all-Ugandan staff and phone and internet costs – as well as our weekly educational soup kitchen.
Beckham attends RSF's brand new Hope Stone Academy for Batwa kids, and with small classes and individualized attention, we will give thes...