I am personally very keen to help indigenous people, tribes and groups around the world. Not only because I feel that they should be respected and have at least the same rights as newcomers, but also to protect the cultural ways of living and their crafts. For hundreds of years the world has seen foreign invaders and colonisers push out indigenous groups. Only now are we starting to realise we had no right to do this and regret the loss of many different cultures and civilisations.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are a group called the Pygmy people. They live in the forests and specialists at hunting and gathering in sustainable ways. They have done this for millennia. However, they are now marginalised by other groups locally, by westerners and by foreign logging companies.
In order to protect these people our Foundation is helping an organisation called Land Is Life. They are launching an initiative called the ‘Economic Empowerment of Pygmy Women‘ initiative which is designed to improve the livelihoods of Pygmies, primarily women, through the creation of a sustainable resource management and value-chain program.
Basically, we want the Pygmy crafts and gathered products to be valued in local economic markets, making the Pygmy people respected and valued. The initiative will be careful to ensure that marketing and sale of their forest products are sustainable.