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Kivu/Virunga

The pygmies who now inhabit the area of Lake Kivu at the borders of Rwanda, Congo and Burundi, not long ago were living in the rainforests. During the formation of National Parks such as Virunga Park and Kahuzi Biega (where the mountain gorillas live), the Pygmies were removed from their ancestorís land by force. The protection of gorillas is important and something that has to be done without hesitation. However, the way the Pygmies were removed from their land and driven out of their ancestorís habitat Ė without any compensation- is both cruel and short-sighted.

Environmental organisations all over the world are starting to carefully take initiatives to integrate the Batwa Pygmies in nature conservation programmes. After all, the Pygmies have a thorough knowledge of their own natural habitat...... Kleinood is now assisting the Gorilla Park management with complementary knowledge of the Pygmy way of live in order to avoid project failures.

The Batwa Pygmies are now trying to survive in the savannah areas, without benefice of the forest products: a much marginalized existence. The cruel civil war in Congo has extremely traumatised the Pygmies and a lot of them are displaced and have become refugees. We find seriously ill Pygmies on a daily basis. They cannot afford any medical care. Kleinood takes them to local dispensaries and pays for their treatment.

Agriculture
Together with Stichting Vluchteling, Kleinood is developing agricultural and urgent food projects to fight starvation. At the same time we are encouraging the Pygmies to create their own food production. The Pygmy refugee camps are situated on porous, infertile lava land areas. To solve this problem we supplied 50 tons (!) of fertile and humus soil to create fields (shambas).

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Pygmee-ranger in the Virunga Gorilla Park
Pygmeevillage Lac Vert before agricultural project
Pygmeevillage Lac Vert during agricultural project