At the heart of the Congo forest lives one of the oldest populations in the world, pygmies.
They represent around 1% of the population, and are routinely abused and exploited by Bantus, the main ethnic group.
Suppose, for a moment, you had $50,000 going spare.
It might require a little imagination – but give it a go, imagine all that cash, all it could do.
You could, for example, hire Kobe Bryant (annual NBA earnings $24,806,250) for a day, although not quite a full day, perhaps until just after tea time.
If basketball isn’t your thing, you could get yourself a nice Chevrolet Corvette, its 430 horsepower engine able to reach 60mph from a standing start in just four terrifying seconds.
You could acquire a postage-stamp sized land plot in Manhattan, or fund the tuition fees for a course titled Beyond Narnia: The Political Theory and Writings of CS Lewis, at Brown University, right here in Rhode Island.
Failing that, you could always use the cash to do something cool.
Did you know, for instance, that $50,000 would be enough to purchase 25 acres of land in the Democratic Republic of Congo, land that could be used to establish a permanent homeland for the Pygmy people, a community displaced in 1972, a community homeless for a shameful 39 years?
That would be – in our opinion, at least – a far better use of such funds than all of the above.
Since learning about the Pygmies’ plight, we’ve been determined to get involved, determined to do our bit, determined to make a difference.
We don’t have $50,000.
But we do have our OMs.
More about them later.
First, a little more about a topic that has moved us, here in our studio in Saunderstown, a topic that is moving people all over the planet, a topic that is connecting.
You see, in 1972, the Pygmies lost their jungle home, moved to make space for a National Park, never resettled, neglected and, to all intents and purposes, forgotten about.
These days, 150 families totalling around 600 people live in conditions described as ‘deplorable’.
Not allowed to grow their own food, the people are malnourished. With no access to school, medicine or health care, their plight is beyond severe. It is, according to those in the know, no exaggeration to describe these aboriginal people as being on the brink of cultural extinction.
It cannot be allowed to continue.
That’s where we come in – well, not us exactly, but good friends of ours, Margaret Johnson and Betty Merner, both from Rhode Island and both horrified to discover the deprivation the Twa people are forced to endure in their makeshift homes just outside Kahuzi Biega National Park, during a visit to Africa last year.
“When we asked Dominique Bikaba, a local man, ‘What is their greatest need?’ he said, without hesitation, ‘They need a place to call home – a piece of land to put down their roots, to raise animals, to grow crops, without the threat of being attacked or relocated once again’,” the pair reported on their Facebook page.
And so the Pygmy Land Project was founded.
These days, Betty and Margaret are dedicating themselves to creating an awareness, educating people about the Pygmies and their plight, touching lives, making connections, collecting much-needed funds.
The aim is to raise that $50,000 – enough to establish a proper homeland and to improve lives.
Enough to ensure the Pygmies own their own land for the first time ever.
Enough to make a difference.
Enough to do good.
You might be wondering where we – or rather, our OMs – figure in this.
Well, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve been asked to create some special OMs for this project, OMs to raise awareness and OMs to raise funds.
These OMs are being designed right now, these OMs are in demand!
There’s a growing queue of people awaiting our latest OM, a situation that augurs well for the Pygmies, and we’re both pleased and proud to be playing a part in such a special project.
We hope that this project – this Pygmy Land Project – moves you as much as it has moved us.
To donate to the cause you can visit their official website Empowercongowomen.org , or you can wait for our ‘Pygmy OM’ to make it’s debut and purchase one. All profits from the pygmy OM will go directly to supporting the Pygmy Land Project.
There’s strength in numbers and the bigger we are, the better life can be for these special people.
Come and join us. Get involved, lend a hand.
Together, we can do this.