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Bees Abroad are a small UK-registered charity seeking to reduce poverty through beekeeping. Volunteer Project Managers assess and support beekeeping projects in developing countries worldwide. They use their expertise, working in the local community group to develop a viable project using indigenous bees and techniques appropriate for each location. Bees Abroad projects are normally self-sustaining after five years and no longer dependent on external finance and mentoring.
For the past two Inner Wheel years District 6 have been raising money to set up 3 groups of Batwa people in a beekeeping business, this will provide a sustainable future income for 65 people and their families.
The Batwa were evicted from the Bwindi Impenetrable rainforest in 1980 to protect one of the only two remaining populations of mountain gorillas in the world. Until their eviction this tribe of pygmies had lived as hunter gatherers largely untouched the modern world. Amongst other things they used to hunt for and gather honey from bees in the forest. The Ugandan government provided no land or support following the eviction.
Having lost their homes, their traditional way of life and their means of survival the Batwa found themselves on the edges of mainstream Ugandan society living in extreme poverty.
A Non-Governmental Organisation Bees Abroad had worked with before in Uganda approached Bees Abroad and asked if they could help as the Batwa traditionally collected honey from wild bees in the forest and so had an affinity with bees.
Between 2016 and 2017 District 6 raised the £2,830 needed for the first phase of the business, which produces honey, this is sold to the local community, especially the hospital for medicinal purposes and the tourists visiting the gorilla reserve. Some of the money has been used to start phase 2 which is producing wax-based products such as lotions and candles.
This past Inner Wheel year they have been trying to meet a target of £2,000 which will be used to further phase 2 and will make the project self-sustaining into the future.
The whole District has been bee obsessed for the past 2 years with bee themed fundraising quizzes and raffles, and a bee theme at the District International Rally. They've had great fun raising the money and are just over £200 short of our £2,000 target at present but are very hopeful that the balance will come in over the next week or so. The project is expected to last some two to three years and the budget is £2,830. There is ample opportunity to extend the project once the first stages are completed successfully.