Hope Alliance in Uganda
A Special Community's History
A special community lies in the remote mountains of Uganda. The forest is their home. They have learned to coexist with the wildlife surrounding them. The people are known as the Batwa pygmies.
This Bwindi community believes that all living things are connected, and they harbor a responsibility to protect the environment. Their way of life is simple, and they rely on the land for survival. Villagers start their days tending to crops and taking care of their animals. The children go to school: a small building made of mud and sticks, where they learn about their culture, history, and the environment.
In 1961, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was officially named an animal sanctuary for mountain gorillas, colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, and many birds. This caused the Batwa pygmies to be evicted from their home, the forest. Families in this community now live as squatters on the edge of the forest. The Bwindi community faces many challenges in this way of life. Their lack of access to even basic healthcare is a significant concern. Many villagers have to travel long distances to get medical treatment. However, they have a strong community spirit. They come together to support each other in times of need.
The Kellermann Foundation Steps In
In 2003, Dr. Scott Kellermann and his wife Carol under the Diocese of Kinkiizi, Church of Uganda began an outreach clinic under a tree for the Batwa pygmies. They worked tirelessly to provide medical care to the villagers. The clinic quickly became a lifeline for the community and is now known as Bwindi Community Hospital.
Although a giant step towards sustainable healthcare in Uganda, there is still an insufficiency of qualified eye doctors to meet the population's needs. Of the 8 optometrists in Uganda, 7 practice in Kampala. Uganda has one of the world's lowest ophthalmologists per capita ratios, 1:1.5 million.
Hope Alliance in Uganda
We recognized this need and began running vision clinics in Bwindi in 2017 The outpouring of love and sense of community inspires us to keep returning. It has been our dream to create a permanent clinic here. We are proud to announce our upcoming Vision Expedition to Uganda from August 2 - 15, 2023! This trip is particularly special because we will be visiting the site of our future permanent Hope Alliance Vision Center in Bwindi. Our mission is to create sustainable care models wherever we serve, and partnering with Bwindi Community Hospital and the Kellermann Foundation is a significant step towards achieving sustainable vision care.