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Weʼre raising £10,000 to support Pygmy healers saving lives

London, United Kingdom

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Story

The Mbendjele say: we love the forest as we love our own bodies

The Mbendjele Bayaka hunter-gatherers are among the last egalitarian societies on earth. They are dying needlessly of easily treatable diseases.

By supporting PROJECT BWANGA you help the Mbendjele Bayaka, also referred to as Pygmies, to have access to modern health care whilst enabling them to continue living in the way they want to, helping to ensure their rich culture and forest-orientated way of life survives.

Read more here: http://www.bwanga.org

WHAT WE DO

We train traditional Mbendjele healers to deliver primary health care through portable mobile clinics in remote forest areas. Our project supplements the existing traditional system of healing with safe generic medicines. Project Bwanga provides the Mbendjele with a health service that will improve their health status without damaging their culture and right to a distinctive mobile way of life. We do this by involving traditional healers from discriminated communities. Traditional healers are the first to be consulted for help as they are trusted and respected by their community. Good healers can identify and treat many diseases and know how to care for the sick. They provide meaningful services because they have the cultural sensitivity and language skills necessary. We therefore train community-selected healers in the delivery of primary health care.

HOW WE DO IT

Project Bwanga has so far trained 14 community-selected traditional hunter-gatherer healers to effectively diagnose and treat the 10 most prevalent diseases using a limited set of generic drugs. Using a 'step-wedge' approach subsequent trainings teach further skills e.g. diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases, STI's as well as giving antenatal care and health education about tobacco & alcohol. 

Please help us to maintain the existing and to set up more mobile clinics by donating whatever amount you can afford http://www.bwanga.org

WHY WE DO IT

Up to 50% of a population may die in the first years of enforced sedenterisation. It should be considered a medical emergency.

Commercial logging and mining, conservation projects and government policies all put increasing pressure on today’s hunter-gatherers to sedentarise. Access to health care and education are often given as the reasons to oblige people to sedentarise. This not only threatens their physical and cultural survival, it also adds to the numbers of rural poor and the diseases accompanying poverty. History has shown that the enforced sedentarisation of nomadic peoples has serious consequences on their state of health. High population densities facilitate the spread of communicable diseases. Previously isolated communities coming into contact with high population densities may die from diseases to which they have had no chance to build up immunity.

Discrimination also plays an important role in making the Mbendjele’s access to modern health care difficult. The Mbendjele’s hunting and gathering nomadic lifestyle is sometimes likened to that of animals. Mbendjele are frequently insulted by being called ‘animals’ (nyama) or ‘chimpanzees’ (sumbu). Like racist attitudes held by some white people against people of colour, some local people say the Mbendjele do not merit the same kind of help or treatments as other people do. Deep-seated prejudices may be hard to dissolve despite efforts to do so. Issues such as discrimination must be taken in to account when planning health, education and other services for marginalised minority groups.

Furthermore, nomadic hunter-gatherers like the Mbendjele Bayaka have unique knowledge about the delicate balance of the eco-system they live in. When people are forced to sedentarise they not only abandon their previous mode of life but also lose the accumulated knowledge and skills that came with it, and humanity is that much poorer. In order to address climate-change it becomes increasingly important to search more innovatively for solutions. 

Help the Mbendjele by donating whatever amount you can to Project Bwanga : Sort Code: 77-91-09 | Account Number: 30020060

HOW YOU CAN HELP

By sharing this site with your friends and by donating whatever amount you can afford to:

PROJECT BWANGA

Sort Code: 77-91-09 | Account Number: 30020060

BIC: LOYDGB21J11 | IBAN: GB45 LOYD 779109 30020060

Thank you so much for helping!

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Ingrid Lewis

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    10 months ago

    Ingrid Lewis started crowdfunding

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    Page last updated on: 5/28/2018 4:50 PM

    Supporters

    10

    • Fabia Franco

      Fabia Franco

      May 28, 2018

      Wonderful project INGRID, all the best for continuing success! Fabia xx

      £30.00

    • Georgina  Wardell

      Georgina Wardell

      Nov 22, 2017

      Ingrid, what a wonderful project to support - I am very happy to do so!

      £50.00

    • mireia soler

      mireia soler

      Nov 21, 2017

      Great job!!

      £50.00

    • Mia Sarjeant

      Mia Sarjeant

      Nov 21, 2017

      Fantastic Ingrid ! We are with you all the way ! Keep going

      £50.00

    • akiko miya-nagata

      akiko miya-nagata

      Nov 20, 2017

      £30.00

    • Sabine Gromer

      Sabine Gromer

      Nov 19, 2017

      Wishing lots of love and contributions to this important cause. x

    • Francoise Schelstraete

      Francoise Schelstraete

      Nov 8, 2017

      £20.00

    Ingrid Lewis

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    About the fundraiser
    Ingrid Lewis

    Ingrid Lewis

    London, United Kingdom

    I am a public health professional. My husband, 3-year old son and I lived a nomadic life with the Mbendjele from 1994 until 1997. We have been going back ever since. Together with traditional healers I set up the first mobile clinic in 1996. Read more here: www.bwanga.org

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