The Batwa pygmies, conservation refugees from the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, were indigenous forest nomads in southwestern Uganda for millennia. In 1992 they were evicted from the rainforest when it was made a World Heritage Site to protect the endangered mountain gorilla. As hunter/gatherers, the Batwa had no title to land and were given no compensation. As one of the most impoverished people groups on earth, their existence became a major struggle for survival.
Batwa Development Program
The BDP exists to help the Batwa help themselves through education, income generation, home building, agriculture, and other projects. The first generation of Batwa pygmies to attend school is hard at work, at every level from preschool to university. The Batwa Women’s Center provides skills training and adult education to help break the cycle of extreme poverty. Yet the Batwa are not forgetting their past —the Batwa Experience is a living history cultural site where Batwa elders teach the children about their forest heritage and allow tourists a glimpse into their past.
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The Kellermann Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization.
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American physician Dr. Scott Kellermann and his wife Carol began serving as medical missionaries to the Batwa in 2001. The Kellermann Foundation was created to support and expand their work, empowering the Batwa to break the cycle of poverty through the Batwa Development Program, providing healthcare through Bwindi Community
Hospital, and soon, educating nurses at the new Uganda Nursing School, Bwindi. These partner programs make a daily difference in the lives of the Batwa and other residents of this remote corner of Uganda.
Bwindi Community Hospital
The hospital, founded by Dr. Kellermann, began in 2001 as an open-air clinic for the Batwa. BCH now provides first-rate health care to the entire population of a large area of southwest Uganda. For the past 4 years, it has been rated the best hospital in Uganda, and its community outreach programs reach thousands of Uganda’s poorest and most isolated citizens. This amazing institution has been described as one of the most successful health care centers in the developing world.
Uganda Nursing School, Bwindi
The new nursing school is a proud affiliate of Uganda Christian University and will be closely associated with Bwindi Community Hospital. Construction will be completed by fall of 2013. UNSB will provide the only RN-level nursing education in the entire region. Nurses who complete the program will change the face of health care delivery by providing care to the large underserved population in southwest Uganda, one of the poorest, most isolated areas of Africa.