The Pygmies

The Bambuti tribe of Congo, commonly called the pygmy community, is the earliest settlers of Congo. In the past, the pygmies lived predominantly in the forest, where their livelihood was based on hunting animals and gathering fruits and herbs from the forest resources.

With the declaration of the forest as a national resource and deforestation, the traditional forest people have been evicted from forest dwellings. With nowhere to call home, most pygmies work for others to get food or risk hunting in the remaining restricted forests.

They lack basic needs such as clean water, food, shelter, and access to education for their children. They live in temporal tiny-leaved huts.

Partnership for Indigenous Peoples (PIPES) International has worked with the pygmy communities in Congo since its inception in 2011. Samuel Mwangi, the founder of PIPES, had worked with the forest people for six years before founding PIPES.

In 2011, PIPES established a school in the Mugunga village on the outskirts of Goma to serve indigenous children, orphans, and vulnerable children. The school grew from thirty kids to over seven hundred students. Additionally, in 2014, the organization resettled twenty displaced families on Idjwi Island. Today, the families farm on their land, keep cattle, and fish in lake Kivu to support their children.

The pygmies traditionally believed in a forest god called Tore. However, with the introduction of the gospel, many have understood the good news and are growing in their Christian faith.

PIPES continues to support the community with discipleship, education, and economic development programs.

Since 2018, PIPES has expanded its work and now serves the indigenous people of Rwanda and Burundi.