As a gift you will receive a handwoven basket make by one of the local women in the village. Go to the bottom of the page to read more about Wendee and her foundation.
In January 2014, my friend Wendee Nicole traveled to SW Uganda as a journalist, reporting on how forest conservation can go hand-in-hand with improving human livelihoods — although such scenarios have been rare. The Batwa “Twa” pygmy hunter-gatherer tribe were forcibly evicted from their ancestral forest in 1991, when Uganda created Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to save critically endangered mountain gorillas. She saw the beautiful dances and cultural experiences of how they once lived – and then she saw the current reality.
Visiting the Batwa village of Karehe changed her life. Dramatic scenes of poverty: malnourished children with swollen bellies, people sleeping on the dirt, rats crawling around homes, adults so impoverished they sewed their single flip-flop sandal back together, and eyes that seemed to reveal desperation and a lack of hope. A photograph she took of one child in particular — Beckham — spoke to her and she felt called to go help make a difference in the lives of his family and community.
She sold her house in Kingwood and 90% of everything she owned and moved to Uganda, founding the nonprofit called Redemption Song Foundation. In just the 6 months since she moved there, she (along with one Ugandan staff who helps translate) RSF has built a 5th grade classroom at a rural school, and started two artisan co-ops that sell locally woven baskets to raise money. The co-op community decides how to spend proceeds; so far, that has included a bridge over the river, a new house for a single mom in Karehe, clean drinking water via a tap stand (to be built soon), and goats.
All trees used for building projects have been replanted with seedlings. Three HIV-positive women who previously did not take medication have begun doing so, every individual in Karehe is now enrolled in health insurance, and kids come to a weekly “Educational soup kitchen” where they learn hygiene and ABCs – along with getting healthy protein-rich (but vegetarian) meals.
Wendee is seeing a beautiful transformation in the community, it’s a new organization with a big heart and a big vision: spreading hope by growing sustainable ecosystems and healthy communities. All donations are tax-deductible and your enrollment in the New Zealand retreat will donate $30 to RSF, and you will receive one basket hand-woven by a Ugandan tribes woman.
Wendee Nicole, M.S; Founder & Director, REDEMPTION SONG FOUNDATION http://www.redemptionsongfoundation.org