Spreading Hope by Growing Healthy Communities and Sustainable Ecosystems in Uganda
BATWA COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT
Seeing the sadness and lack of hope in the eyes of the Batwa children of Kalehe village led me to move to Uganda. I designed this project — and the entire organization — based on Elinor Ostrom's Nobel-winning theory that people can and will solve their own problems if given the democratic ability to make choices about their lives and future. While idealistic, much research, and Ostrom's Nobel Prize in Economics, shows they work in the real world.
RSF believes that transforming a community that is suffering from desperate poverty takes an ongoing commitment to building relationships that are filled with abundant grace, love, and hope. We facilitate community development and help them to build trust among one another and with myself and my staff.
The RSF home provides a safe place where Batwa kids can come anytime to play, clean up, and get a bite to eat. Once per week, RSF provides an Educational Soup Kitchen to these kids — feeding them a protein-rich meal, helping with their homework and offering educational playtime to learn, from the ABCs to hygiene, health, and sports skills. We also help the Batwa take full advantage of the resources provided to them in the local area, including a great health insurance program, a hospital/clinic with excellent overall care, family planning and HIV treatment.
We installed two tap-stands for clean, treated water in Kalehe Village! The water comes from a freshwater spring in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and is managed by Buhoma Community Gravity Water Scheme.
RSF has several education projects.
* Sponsor a Batwa child! We work closely with the Batwa of Kalehe village. Beginning with just 3 kids, we now sponsor all kids in the village and it has been a roaring success! We are seeking sponsors at $300 or $500 per year, which helps put a Batwa child through a year of primary school, either at Bishop's Boarding School or our brand new Hope Stone Academy.
Learn more information about the children and programs at the Batwa Kids page.
I know each child personally and can assure you these children are in genuine need of assistance in schools, and the extra nutritional, emotional, and educational support provided by this boarding environment. Bishop's is considered the best school academically in the region.
* Building classrooms: RSF funded the completion of a Primary 5 (P5) classroom at Rugando Parents School, including the walls and ceilings, chalkboard and desks. 2015 was the first year the school has a P5 classroom, and the kids, parents, and teachers alike are thrilled!
* Supporting the unique needs of girls in schools: Many girls do not attend school during their periods or drop out altogether upon reaching menarche, but RSF is committed to keeping girls in school. We create hygiene packs for all girls of menstruating age and deliver them to schools; they include panties, Afripads or Moonpads reusable pads and liners, and a cloth carrying case. We help educate teachers, parents, as well as the boys and girls reaching puberty about the importance of understanding menstruation, body changes, and staying in school.
* Educational Field Trips: To reward their continued attendance and good performance, we bring the older Batwa children we sponsor to Queen Elizabeth National Park, where we stay in a resort and go on "safari" to see lions, elephants, hippos and more - wildlife these African children had never seen! They also see role models in the Ugandans working in tourism and as park guards. We have done this three times, and all the kids have loved it so much. Donate to this important educational effort that they would never have a chance for otherwise.
Redemption Song Foundation buys handmade baskets and jewelry from the Batwa of Kalehe village, home to several families of Batwa "pygmies", as well as local Bakiga tribe women in Buhoma, Nkwenda and Rugando villages.
The Kalehe Batwa identified priorities as: clean drinking water, improved housing, better living conditions and livelihoods, and a bridge across the river. And we have succeeded in each of these projects! However, needs are ongoing.
Our first project was building the Munyaga River bridge so their kids dont have to wade across to get to and from school, which is especially dangerous and sometimes completely impossible in the rainy season. We built this in February 2015.
We have increased the overall income level of Kalehe Batwa, and they can be seen purchasing "cloth wraps" they wear, clothes and boots for the kids, and meat — having money gives them clout and empowers them in a place where discrimination is common.
We have built 4 homes for single moms, "dignity kits" with mattresses, sheets and mosquito nets — after they constructed bedframes so they didn't have to sleep on their dirt floors — and drying racks so dishes didn't dry in the mud.
These baskets are part of their culture and true works of art. Use them for decoration, or to hold items in.
Baskets are ready to order & ship as we have inventory in the US.
To purchase, visit our Online Store!