Responsible Travel Experiences
Responsible Travel – Through our women trips and the fact that the company is partly woman owned, Umoja Motherland tours works to connect women travelers to local community women projects as cooperate social responsibility. And also to better their livelihoods while inspiring them. We believe that when women come together, they can do great things. Therefore we also empower women by hiring them as our consultants, interns, tourist guides and drivers in order to inspire them and for them to earn a living. The tourism industry in Uganda is mostly dominated by men, Umoja motherland tours through its women who travel community projects thinks that this also helps change the perception about women in Uganda’s tourism industry and gives them great working exposure and self-confidence to grow.
We have strong partnership with a local Batwa women project called Change a life in Bwindi located in south western Uganda. The project helps mostly women at the outcasts of Bwindi national park, to raise themselves from poverty. The Batwa women have been taught hand skills like basket weaving, honey harvesting, Mushroom growing and their children sponsored with an education, they have a homestay for tourist and cultural center.
Batwa are the indigenous settlers of the Bwindi impenetrable forest. Batwa pygmies inhabited the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for thousands of years, but became conservation refugees because of government’s efforts to protect the endangered mountain gorillas. When they gazetted the forest as home to the Gorillas, the Batwa were relocated from their forest homes to the outcasts. And this changed their lives drastically
We book our women clients into the homestay as a way of supporting them tourism wise, take scholastic material for the children to keep them in school and provide solar system for them to have power to easy their livelihoods. We also help find market for their unique weaved items and also give a certain percentage from our women tours to their project to support them.
Why we chose to work with the Batwa community (Responsible Travel Experiences)
- The discrimination of the Batwa people because of their appearance by their neighbors is a lot.
- Batwa have a much lower life expectancy than their neighbors have. They are poorer, and have more limited access to health care.
- In the past Batwa women would be beaten in labour by health workers to stop them from crying, or even denied health care altogether when they tried to take their sick children to health facilities.
- Only one out of every fourteen Batwa women is on family planning compared to one out of four of the Bakiga women neighbors.
- Batwa children are more likely to die, more likely to be malnourished, are less likely to go to school and are less likely to sleep under a mosquito net than the rest of society.
- For many of the Batwa of Uganda, their resource base has either been destroyed or denied to them, through deforestation, through the control exerted over them by neighboring farmers, or more recently through conservation projects restricting or denying their access to the forest. As a result groups such as the Batwa of south west Uganda have been reduced to virtual serfdom and poverty.
- The men are affected by alcoholism-As any other disfranchised indigenous group on the planet, they resort to drinking as a way to deal with their situation.
- The women are left in homes to work as bread winners and take care of both their drunk husbands and children. Most of the women are victims of domestic violence, some are single mothers, and others are widows. With such huge responsibilities to run their families, they can’t relay on farming because their lands are forcefully taken from them.
Responsible Travel – With our support in working together with the change a life project, we offer alternatives to these women like tailoring, basket weaving, honey harvesting from which they can earn a living and solve their problems. We plant this skills in their brains through the training, resources, and finding market for their products for them. This knowledge they can pass on to their children and also are able to start up their own small tailoring, basket weaving businesses from the knowledge and skill they get from us. This is helping to reduce on the begging syndrome amongst the batwa.
Because of the intermarriages the tribe is slowly becoming extinct, which is sad and so change a life has constructed a small Batwa Museum that stores their culture and heritage. And Umoja motherland tours takes clients there for a small fee to maintain and keep it in sharp for future generations and tourists to visit and learn about them.
We have joined efforts and resources in the movement that change a life in Bwindi is taking. Training the Batwa that one can work and earn a living. That one should not always expect financial aid /funds from the international/western NGOs. We equip them with survival skills, from which they can create amazing things and sell them, from which they work and stop being lazy then earn a living to educate their children. From which they gain exposer and cut themselves loose from their neighbors or people that maliciously exploit them. With these skills they get to learn to live a normal life like everyone one else.
If you would like to be a part of our movement, please book our women safari and together lets change lives