The work of the Kellermann Foundation, supporting the displaced Batwa pygmies of Southwest Uganda, is nothing short of miraculous. The Batwa were Hunter/gatherers for 1,000s of years in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, until it was named a World Heritage Site in 1992 to protect the endangered mountain gorillas. The Batwa struggled to survive until Dr. Scott and Carol Kellermann were asked to go to Bwindi and evaluate the people. What began as a modest medical mission evolved into the Kellermann Foundation, which has built a first-class hospital, serving the Batwa and surrounding people, a nursing school, education programs, agricultural programs and spiritual support. My husband and I met Dr. Kellermann in 2005, and after hearing of his passion and care for the Batwa and their culture, we began supporting KF and have been involved ever since. KF's mission...providing hope and health in Uganda...has never wavered. As a 3-year KF board member, I am continually impressed with the staff's organization, diligence and concern with every detail of the operation of the Foundation. My family is honored to be associated with the amazing work of the Kellermann Foundation.
This is an inspiring organization that brings light into lives that have been shrouded in far too much darkness. Their strong leadership is sincerely committed to their mission.
The story of the Batwa pygmy community, the eviction from their native Bwindi Forest , the prejudice they've endured and their struggles for basic survival has, for the most part, stood in the shadow of the more popular media story about saving the Mountain Gorilla population.Few people know about the Batwa pygmies. One organization however has been shining a light on the plight of the Batwa over 15 years. The Kellermann Foundation, founded through grass roots support for the work of California physician Dr. Scott Kellermann and his wife Carol Kellermann, has intiated programs and projects that directly bring health care, education and economic empowerment to the Batwa and their neighbors. Through the collaboration of committed donors, volunteers and Ugandans they are achieving real and measurable improvements in health outcomes, educational opportunities and economic sustainability. As a long time donor, volunteer and visitor who works with the Batwa, I am inspired by the good work that is taking place in Bwindi and look forward, each time in returning to visit a beautiful area with a warm and welcoming culture.
The Batwa pygmies were evicted from the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in 1992 when it was made a World Heritage Site to protect the endangered mountain gorillas. The Batwa were given no compensation and became "conservation refugees". The Kellermann Foundation has helped support health care, education, cultural preservation and income generation for the Batwa and provides them hope for the future. It is fine organization with high integrity.
The Kellermann Foundation, though its support of hospitals, clinics, schools, women's centers, water/sanitation and income generation in southwestern Uganda has dramatically improved the lives of the Batwa pygmies and the surrounding tribal groups. It is a great joy to be involved with this organization. I recently returned from Uganda working with the projects supported by the Kellermann Foundation. The foundation's support of the 120 bed Bwindi Community Hospital has made it a top rated hospital in Uganda and a nursing school was recently opened to provide highly trained registered nurses. Over the last decade maternal mortality has been reduced 60% and malaria rates dropped by 90%. Over 125 homes have been built for the Batwa and their culture preserved. The Batwa pygmies have replaced their cycle of poverty with hope. The Kellermann Foundation makes a difference!
As a board member and volunteer in the Kellermann Foundation, I know first hand that the number one priority of the organization is to address the needs of the Batwa pygmies and surrounding peoples. KF seeks to develop a relationship with the people first, and then determine from them what their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are. Through the hospital, the nursing school, and the development program, not only are Ugandan lives being saved but people are also becoming educated and learning to support themselves and their communities. It's all about a deep love for these people, which started and continues with Dr. Scott and Carol Kellermann, and a true desire to come along side them to help improve their lives. I am honored to be a part of this organization.
The Kellermann Foundation has grown over the years from one couple with a vision to improve the lives of the Batwa people of Uganda by opening a small 2-person clinic into a 112-bed hospital and development program that reaches as many as 100,000 of the local people in eastern Uganda. They offer the local people not only health services but also many opportunities to make an impact within their own country. For example they recently opened a nursing school that will educate locals in nursing to serve the people of the Uganda area. And the Batwa Development Program comes along side the Batwa people to provide them the skills they need to become self-sustaining. This is a wonderful organization that is making huge strides towards improving the health and well-being of thousands of people in the Bwindi area of Uganda.
I met Dr. Scott and Carol Kellermann about ten tears ago and they invited me to go to Uganda to witness the work they were doing. The were concentrated on work with the Batwa Pygmy people who had been removed from the Bwindi Rainforest in favor of the preservation of the Mountain Gorillas.
By the time I arrived Scott had already improved the life of the Batwa people by purchasing land for settlements and providing medical care that had increase life expectancy dramatically. The had also opened a hospital that was serving the needs of all who lived in this remote area of Uganda.
Over the years I have visited several times and have seen the mission grow in ways beyond my imagination at my first visit. The hospital has become one of the finest rated hospitals in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Foundation has worked to help the Batwa people hold on to their prehistoric heritage that is threatened by their removal from the forest. Clinics have been built and maintained. Schools have been built offering education to the Batwa for the first time ever. And in recent years, a new nursing school has been opened allowing for healthcare to expand to the remotest villages in Uganda.
I have been blessed to witness lives changed and lives saved in the most difficult of circumstances. It has been my great pleasure to support the Kellermann Foundation and witness that its work is making a tremendous difference for the Batwa people and the people of the Bwindi area of Uganda.
After reading about and getting to know Dr. Scott and Carol Kellermann and their medical mission work in Uganda, I decided to see it for myself. I made my first visit to Bwindi in 2013 and now make Uganda my home.
The Kellermann Foundation made my visits in 2013 and 2014 very comfortable and fulfilling. They provided fine accommodations and I was fortunate to help the Bwindi Community Hospital communications team.
It is amazing how much has been accomplished in Uganda by the Kellermann Foundation. With Dr Scott and Carol launching a field medical clinic it has expanded into a 120-bed hospital, administration building with community health outreach.
Lives in the community here have been saved due to the hospital's work. At the same time volunteers like me have seen their lives changed by the experience.
Well done, Kellermann Foundation!
We were recruited by Kellermann Foundation (KF) to serve as volunteers with their Ugandan partner, the Batwa Development Program. We will have served for three years in January, 2017, when our time in Bwindi, Uganda, ends. Our work has involved financial consulting and linguistic research into the Batwa narrative tradition.
We have excellent communications and support with KF. They are keenly interested in our reports, and do a great job of partnering with their Ugandan partners. At least once a year, sometime more, KF home office people, as well as Scott Kellermann, the founder, come and visit.
KF has set up three Ugandan partners: Batwa Development Program, Bwindi Community Hospital, and Bwindi Nursing School. All three are Ugandan administered and effective in their outreach.
Long term volunteers come and work with all three Ugandan partners. They have come from the UK, Canada, Switzerland, and the United States. Examples of these include medical people, managerial consultants, clergy and linguists. KF will partner with other sending organizations. One of these, my own sponsor, is SIL International.
For the past two and a half years I have volunteered on the ground in Bwindi, Uganda working with a small team of 12, 7 of whom are Batwa. They administer funds from Kellermann Foundation. At present, these funds are schooling 242 primary students, 17 High school students, 5 vocational students, and 1 nursing student - all Batwa. Training women in income-generating crafts has expanded to an additional two settlements for a total of four. Funds from Kellermann Foundation have also paid for health insurance and treatment for 344 Batwa, covered additional treatment of Batwa at two distant clinics, run agricultural workshops in 10 settlements, provided small animal husbandry projects, and with the Batwa, have built seven houses with latrines and kitchens and improved several older homes by adding latrines and outdoor kitchens. In addition, they provide the means to run classes at each settlement on community living, governance, and conflict resolution, all necessary for a successful transition from independent hunter-gatherers to self-governing productive communities.
I travelled to Uganda six years ago and spent a week in Buhoma, the village in which the Bwindi Community Hospital, begun through the efforts of Scott and Carol Kellermann, is located. The lives that have impacted in this part of the world where access to basic healthcare is scarce is indeed impressive. But the most striking achievement is their focus on public health from the get go. By training and sending nurses and others health care workers out into the villages, especially Batwa Pygmy villages, the hospital and the KF which supports the work, have been able to teach village residents the basics of infant nutrition, the need for vaccination as well as the use of netting to prevent malaria. These efforts and many others have significantly reduced infant mortality, malaria and overall have contributed to health education and awareness of the local residents. Dr. Scott Kellermann's drive and vision begun this work and now well trained Ugandan doctors, nurses and administrators run this hospital and its ongoing public health programs. If you are a Pre-med student, look into the opportunities to intern at Bwindi!
I first volunteered with the Kellermann Foundation in 2007 when I traveled along with Scott Kellermann to Bwindi. I have traveled for volunteer purposes every other year to the region since my first visit. I am always in awe at the progress that has been made from one trip to another. More importantly, the people and the relationships I have formed since coming into contact with this organization is the reason I continue to travel to the area. The work this Foundation has accomplished is second to none!
I visited Uganda about 10 years ago to trek in the forest for mountain gorillas. I did that and visited the Kellermann Foundation's medical facility. I enjoyed the gorillas but more than that I loved the people I met in the village and at the hospital. I have since financially sponsored nursing students. I also sponsored a young girl from a Batwa village to a residential high school. She since graduated college in Kampala and is working with the Batwa. I just heard she is in NYC presenting information to a UN Council committee about the Batwa and others. To me, this is a success story AND it's true!
Review from Guidestar
I went to Uganda for the first time in April, 2014. Our first stop was Bwindi, where we toured the Hospital and the wonderful, new, Nursing School. My heart was so touched to see the Nursing school, and I know that my late Aunt, Nursing Education pioneer and advocate Jo Eleanor Elliott, was with me on that visit. It is my goal to support a nursing student as soon as I am able to. We met with the Nursing students who are in class for 3 months, then in clinical learning at the hospital for 3 months. They have a 3 year program and are then able to run basic Health Centers in Uganda. We also met two wonderful nurses from the States who were there for a month teaching the students. If only I had skills to go back and share....I would be there in a minute. In lieu of another visit quite right away, I will raise funds to support a nursing student. Education and Community Health are so important for this region, and the Kellermann Foundation is supporting both!
When we donate to a non-profit organization, we do so with the expectation that they will use our gift to foster self-reliance within the populations that they serve. The Kellermann Foundation has has dealt with the human crises in Southwest Uganda by teaching the population to find ways to fulfill their own needs instead of having someone else do it for them. The successes of the Bwindi Community Hospital, Batwa Development Program, and the opening of the Uganda Nursing School Bwindi have been phenomenal over such a short period of time, even by American standards.
The Batwa tribe was on the verge of extinction due to their being dislocated by the government to preserve the mountain gorilla (who were not harmed by the Batwa)from their natural habitat and to encourage tourism - all successful, however, the tribe were unable to fend for themselves and no assistance was offered. The Church of Uganda (Anglian) recruited a tropical medical specialist and Dr. Scott Kellermann answered the Call and founded the Kellermann Foundation. Dr. Kellermann has developed the most amazing hospital considered the best in all of Uganda, and has provided not only health care, but several systems/entities to help them become self-sufficient. The KF raises awareness and support for the plight of this people group in the US and will continue to do so until the very last person is healthy, self-sufficient and productive. They are a faith-based organization and therefore provide more than medical assistance; they care about the whole person - spiritual, social and economics as well.
I have been involved with the Kellermanns and the Kellermann Foundation for more than 12 years at this point. I served on the board and was chairman for a number of years and left only for health reasons. I have been involved with a number of charitable organizations over the years and the Kellermann Foundation is the best run of any I have seen. It has done a huge amount with very limited funding and very low expenses. Scott has always felt that the recipients of help really needed to also help themselves and a number of programs have been set up to do just this. The setting up of the new nursing school is just one example of this premise.
Simi Lyss, MD
The idea of volunteering at Bwindi Community Hospital was planted by Scott Kellermann nearly four years ago. I needed to take a couple years to venture out of my own comfort zone to embrace the idea with open heart and spirit. I am a nurse of 35 years and I was told the hospital could use nursing expertise. My recent experience has been in end of life care and support. I had no expectations and went a very long distance to be welcomed by the wonderful people in the community. The job unfolded with the input of many people and we settled into the afternoon delight of sharing professional practice knowledge with the thirteen nursing students. What a pleasure! They were inquisitive, bright, intelligent, and very patient with our teaching skills. I so enjoyed encountering them outside the classroom, at the hospital; they were open to instruction anywhere. There was such strong professional and personal collaboration with the medical and non-medical staff -- we fast became friends. It is evident a sense of friendly competition is inherent at Bwindi and the two puzzles I brought were always in use at mealtime. I was able to win over the children by blowing giant bubbles and watching as they leaped into the air to touch them. The hospitality team at the Bwindi Guest House was wonderful-- the food delicious, the lodge clean and comfortable and the staff were so helpful. My absolute favorite experience at Bwindi: I was asked to speak to the Community Health Team by Haeven. In a very small room, drowned out by hard rain on the roof, they listened intently as I spoke to them about Hospice and Palliative Care and how it might apply to their community, goals of care, multidisciplinary approach and meeting the comfort care needs within their means. Perhaps, this was my purpose. I know how I felt. I am touched deeply by my three weeks to Uganda and hope to return again next spring with a larger team.
Picture a stone age man who is thrust into the 20th century and left to figure out how to survive when he can no longer hunt and gather food because all of the land belongings to the government or other people. That is what happened to the Batwa when the government forced them out of the rain forest. When Scott and Carol Kellerman first saw the Batwa, they had no place to live, no medical treatment, no schools, and no advocate to speak for them.
Twelve years after Scott and Carol began their work, I travelled to Uganda and visited the Batwa communities that had received services from various entities supported by the Kellerman Foundation. They had a hospital that today is considered to be the best one in all of Uganda. They had clinics in outlying areas. They had schools. Many Batwa widows had houses and plots of land where they could raise food for their children. They had mosquito netting. There was an HIV clinic for expectant mothers, so they could avoid their babies being born HIV positive.
Since I visited the Batwa, the first Batwa young people have gone to college. A nursing school has been built and opened. More families have land and houses. The list of improvements goes on and on.
What a wonderful, marvellous organization this is.
The foundation shared office space with me in 2013. I found the people here in the states to be as dedicated as the ones who work in Uganda
The Kellermann Foundation supports the Batwa people of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Southwest Uganda. The Batwa are a Pygmy tribe who were removed from their their life in the Forest in order to preserve the habitat for the few remaining Mountain Gorillas. The gorillas are doing well, the Batwa have suffered greatly. Dr. Scott Kellermann and his wife Carol started a clinic to help them. Over the past ten years the Foundation has grown the clinic into one of the finest hospitals in Africa. In the process , the life expectancy of the Batwa has more than doubled. The outreach now extends to all people of this corner of Uganda. Recently they have opened a Nursing School and a Building Trades School.
In order to preserve the Batwa heritage as hunter gatherers they have opened the "Batwa Experience" to pass on the traditions of life in the forest as well as a cultural experience for visitors. This work has won many honors. I have been pleased to make three trips to work there and have another planned. I have personally witnessed the life giving and life saving work of the Kellermann Foundation and working with it has been one of the great joys of my life.
Fr. Clif Gardner
I am a Travel Advisor. in 2012 , a colleague and I spent one month in Africa seeing new and different sites to enrich our lives and offer tour clientele. He dream was to walk with the gorillas, mine was to visit the pygmy tribe in Bwindi Inpenetrable National Park in Uganda. This was an experience of a life time. I spent most of the day visiting in the mountains with the Batwa people (the Batwa Experience), laughing talking and learning about their culture and each other (via a native translator). Upon my return to the low land - I had the opportunity to visit the schools and facilities build to assist with service o and for the Batwa people.
This was my first introduction to the Kellerman Foundation. It was there I witness the results of the good works of the Foundation and its people. I spoke with the local elders (one who escorted me on my hike) and saw the true commitment they felt about their growth and the contributions made to them and their people. More importantly to me - I saw the works of artisans of the tribe involved in making and bringing their goods for sale in the Developments' shop and children running home from school. Such a good feeling! I donate and hope to continue- by sending others and $$ donations.Thanks to the assistance and support of The Kellerman Foundation.