The Batwa tribe is a minority marginalized group of people who are located in the surroundings of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.
Before 1992, they used to live in the interior of the forest and to survive hunting animals and collecting vegedivs. However, in 1992 they were expulsed from the forest with no compensation and with no place to live.
Due to their vulnerability for what has been mentioned before, Faith Angels Ministry has been supporting them in very different ways (donating food, donating toiletries, educating them in farming techniques…etc.)
Right now, there is a concern about the situation of the young girls in the Batwa community due to the increase of unwanted pregnancies in underage girls. According to Andrew, in the previous months at least 25 girls aged between 12 and 18 got pregnant.
Those pregnancies are not happening because of consent, but due to the high number of rapes that are affecting the girls of the community. Usually, rapists wait for the girls when they are near to the forest or on their way home and take them to their houses to abuse them. Most of the rapists are in their 30s and 40s so they are mature men that know what they are doing and that already have a family.
One of the problems that the Batwa’s and Faith Angels are experiencing is to make sure that those rapists face the law. When someone asks the girls who made them pregnant sometimes they can’t even tell because they have been forced by many men, so they can’t identify who is the father of the baby. And some of the rapists are not even part of the community, so sometimes they can’t identify them because they don’t know them.
In certain cases, when the rapist is identified by the victim, the rapist is offered to take responsibility for the baby in order to not face the law to prevent the girl to be the only caretaker and only income of the household which would be very hard for the girls due to their age. When the rapist accepts, they can avoid jail but have to contribute to the expenses of the baby. Even though it might be seen as a controversial thing, this practice sometimes helps young girls to continue their education which sometimes is considered the best option for some of them.
Teenage pregnancy doesn’t happen only in the Batwas. According to Andrew, it happens in all the communities of South Uganda. According to Andrew, one of the reasons why so many men commit rape in Uganda is because they are uneducated and reckless and even though they know the consequences of their acts, still do it hoping to not be caught. In most cases, they don’t. Just 60% of the rapist go to jail. When they are caught, they go to jail and when they don’t, in most of the cases they don’t care about the girl of the baby and they live a normal life with their previous family.
Even though this problem has existed for decades, Covid has made it worse. Due to Covid 19, girls have been staying at home, girls haven’t been going to school so they have been exposed more to these people and have become more vulnerable to them.
It is very hard to find a solution to this problem. There are many consequences of the abuse suffered by the women. Not only a life trauma but also the responsibility to become a primary caregiver being a teenager.
Faith Angels is developing a plan to educate them and train them in good parenting, and how to feed or take care of a baby but also train them in income-generating activities. (baking bread, making dough, making soup…etc.)
They also want to send the girls back to school when the school will open to continue their education if they still want to, which would allow girls to get better jobs and more opportunities for their lives.
In the next Newsletters, we will keep informing you about these programs and others from Faith Angels Ministry.
NEW YEAR’S DAY IN UGANDA (JANUARY 1)
Marking the beginning of a new year, celebrations begin on New Year’s Eve and continue to the next day (which is also a public holiday.) There are fireworks, music, and entertainment across Kampala, as well as large church services and religious gatherings.People stay up until late, either at home or the home of a friend. The moment Uganda and the world move from 31 December to 1 January, they start shouting, singing, drumming, and fireworks all suddenly explode.
Many churches will hold mass meetings in stadiums and parks they have rented for the occasion as well. You may find prayer and praise services going on for 24 hours straight on New Year’s Eve and Day in Uganda. So the celebrating is very mixed: cultural, religious, and pure entertainment motives all coincide.
NRM LIBERATION DAY (JANUARY 26)
NRM Liberation Day is a national holiday in Uganda observed on January 26th each year.
Also commonly known as National Liberation Day, the holiday marks the overthrow of the previous government by the National Resistance Movement on this day in 1986.
ARCHBISHOP JANANI LUWUM DAY (FEBRUARY 16)
On the 16th of February of each year, there is a public celebration that marks the life of the second African Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga Zaire.
EASTER CELEBRATIONS IN UGANDA
Easter is a common holiday worldwide and because Good Friday and Easter Monday are also public holidays, many Ugandans make the most of the four-day weekend by traveling to see their families. The big cities are not at all emptied out, though, for there are many who stay in town and hold big, colorful Easter parties. Wearing bright, new clothes, exchanging gifts, and feasting on local delicacies are all a traditional part of the celebrations.EID AL-ADHA
Eid al-Adha, or the ‘Festival of Sacrifice’ is observed worldwide each year. It is a public holiday in Uganda, just as is Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan. Also known as the ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’.
MARTYRS’ DAY (JUNE 3)
Observed on June 3 each year, Ugandans celebrate Martyrs’ Day in honor of St Charles Lwanga and his companions.
The day commemorates the 45 martyrs, both Catholic and Anglican, who were killed on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II, then King of Buganda between 1885 and 1887.
NATIONAL HEROES DAY (JUNE 9)
National Heroes’ Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Uganda observed on June 9th.
The day commemorates those who lost their lives in the Ugandan Bush War (1981 – 1986).
UGANDAN INDEPENDENCE DAY (OCTOBER 9)
This holiday is Uganda’s National Day and is always celebrated on 9th October. Independence Day marks Uganda’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1962.
CHRISTMAS (DECEMBER 25)
Visiting church on Christmas Eve begins the celebrations which culminate with a public holiday on Christmas Day. Ugandans may take the opportunity to travel to see family and friends, enjoy a feast, and taking part in carol singing or nativity plays.