Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and UFC lightweight star Dustin Poirier have joined forces to provide a helping hand for the Batwa Pygmies in Uganda.
Through their respective charity groups, the Manny Pacquiao Foundation and The Good Fight Foundation, Pacquiao and Poirier have pledged $50,000 each for the construction of 32 two-bedroom homes for the Pygmies on land brokered by the Fight for the Forgotten, ran by Justin Wren, an American humanitarian and philanthropist who also fights in the heavyweight division of Bellator MMA.
The land was also purchased with the help of The Good Fight Foundation’s fundraising efforts two years ago.
“There’s a Swahili proverb that says, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,’” said Wren as quoted from his foundation’s website.
“With Manny and Dustin walking alongside, we’re keeping all our promises to the Batwa, and beginning work with other Pygmy tribes as well. That’s what I call ‘going far.'”
Wren, who immersed with the Pygmies for a year in 2011 and was given the name “Eféosa,” which means “The Man Who Loves Us,” is on a mission to keep the promise he made by providing them basic needs such as homes, food, healthcare, among others.
The 33-year-old MMA fighter hopes to maximize the 43 acres of land (approximately 17.4 hectares) by converting it into a community with farming, leadership and agricultural training, a water tower, a medical clinic and pharmacy, a toilet facility with bathing and handwashing stations, and a soccer field, where children can play together along with neighboring tribes.
Pacquiao, for his part, expressed glee for the opportunity to be part of the Fight for the Forgotten project.
“I have had a strong desire to touch more people in need, in more countries, in more ways,” said Pacquiao, also a senator in the Philippines.
Poirier echoed Pacquiao’s sentiments and said that it was a “dream come true” to be part of an initiative with the same cause such as food security and healthcare. (Carlo Anolin) ###