From the Past to the present

Our history

The Batwa are indigenous people who are believed to be the original ethnic group of East Africa and more specifically the first tribe that has ever lived in the great mountains and forests of Virunga and Bwindi before 1991.

The Batwa lived an independent and content life in the forests. Practicing their rights without any inconveniences, worshipping their ancestors in the caves, collecting medical herbs, and feeding on forest resources, such as honey, vegetables, fruits and wild animal meat, as they were known as food gathers. According to the Batwa, the cultural practice of worshipping ancestors was the most important one. It would give them protection, knowledge about life, unity, good fortune, and harmony.

However, in 1991 the Government of Uganda evicted all the Batwa from the forest to implement both natural conservation and tourism. No compensation nor any form of relocation were provided to the Batwa to allow them to keep conducting a decent life outside of their ancestral lands.

Currently, the Batwa people are living a humiliating life: squatting church lands or residing in improvised shelters on small unfertile pieces of land donated by NGOs, the Batwa are being exploited labour wise, and impeded to improve their living conditions by lacking land rights and being granted limited access to education. The Batwa indeed live a marginalized life, being discriminated and unrepresented in the government.