Grants Awarded 2013
In 2013, Keepers of the Earth Fund awarded grants totaling $234,040.
Bajoh Indigenous Development Association (Cameroon) – In 2012, KOEF supported the legal registration of the Bajoh Indigenous Development Association (BIDA), the first organization based within the forest-dwelling Bajoh communities of Cameroon. In 2013, BIDA reported that the destruction of sacred sites by loggers is eroding their communities’ traditional values and causing the rampant occurrence of accidents, deaths, and other strange events. As part of its Forest Peoples Initiative, KOEF supported BIDA to purchase the materials needed to revitalize two important shrines in their forest, and to compensate elders participating in intergenerational dialogue on traditional values with youth.
Building Equality (Tanzania) – Although Land Act Number 4 gives women in Tanzania the right to own land, Kwere, Maasai, Mang’ati and Zigua women from the Bagamoyo District are frequently denied their land rights, thus hindering their ability to produce food and generate income. KOEF funded Building Equality to train paralegal tribunals within the Bagamoyo District Council on Land Act Number 4, and to convert the text of the law into simpler terms for their community. By addressing the issue with both the community and the local government, Building Equality will strengthen the legitimacy of women’s land claims and increase the number of landowning women in the Bagamoyo District.
Coalition for Community Transformation and Development (Sierra Leone) – From 2009 to 2012, KOEF supported A World Institute for Sustainable Humanity (AWISH) to address food scarcity in Sierra Leone through rice production in inland valley swamps. In 2013, AWISH pooled its resources with seven other Indigenous community-based organizations in the region to form the Coalition for Community Transformation and Development (CCTD). KOEF funded CCTD to legally register with its local and regional government, in order to strengthen its platform for obtaining additional funding sources.
Ditshwanelo (Botswana) – KOEF provided Ditshwanelo (the Botswana Centre for Human Rights) with two separate grants for their work with San communities in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). The first grant supported a mapping project in the Molapo community, and the second grant supported an initiative to deliver water to several San communities throughout the CKGR. First Peoples Worldwide has been active in the CKGR since 1997, and these grants built upon our long history of work with Ditshwanelo and other San community-based organizations in Botswana.
Dzoma la Mupo (South Africa) – Dzoma la Mupo comprises representatives from the eight custodial clans of the Venda Peoples of northern South Africa. In 2012, KOEF supported three of the eight custodial clans to submit applications to register their sacred sites with the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA). In 2013, KOEF supported four more custodial clans to do the same. The application process involves creating a profile of the exhaustive array of history and traditional knowledge associated with the sacred sites, much of which has never been recorded, for presentation to the SAHRA. In addition to being an important first step towards securing legal protections for the sacred sites, the project stimulates discussion within the communities and provides a comprehensive written documentation of the Venda Peoples’ culture.
Environmental and Health Concern Organization (Uganda) – Batwa communities in Uganda live along the boundaries of their traditional forest, from which they were evicted to make way for the development of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The communities travel long distances for water, despite receiving large amounts of rainfall due to their proximity to the forest. As part of our Forest Peoples Initiative, KOEF provided the Environmental and Health Concern Organization with a grant to purchase and install two large rainwater harvesting tanks for the communities.
Fikambanana MPaniriky Miaro ny Fano (Madagascar) – Fikambanana MPaniriky Miaro ny Fano (FIPAMIFA) is a marine turtle management and conservation alliance based in the Vezo community of coastal Madagascar, comprised of fishermen, community leaders, and elders. Marine turtles form the economic and cultural backbone of the Vezo community, and they are becoming increasingly endangered due to overconsumption. KOEF supported FIPAMIFA to revitalize and strengthen their dinas (traditional laws and social norms) pertaining to the sustainable management and responsible hunting of marine turtles. The dinas include restrictions on hunting juvenile turtles and a moratorium on turtle hunting for three months out of each year.
Generation for Environmental Education and Enhanced Renewal (Nigeria) – The Indigenous Peoples of the Niger Delta (Ijaw, Ogoni, Itshekiri, Isoko, Urhobo, Isang, Anang, Ibibio, and Igbo) suffer severe poverty and environmental devastation due to decades of oil pollution. Remediation efforts by the government and corporations do not involve them and fail to provide adequate compensation. KOEF funded the Generation for Environmental Education and Enhanced Renewal (GREENER) to establish Environmental Monitoring Teams (EMTs) in ten communities in the Niger Delta. The EMTs were trained on detecting, documenting, and monitoring oil pollution in their territories, and on leveraging their findings to obtain redress for their losses. In addition to supporting the activities of GREENER, the grant provided startup funds to each of the EMTs.
Indigenous Heartland Organization (Tanzania) – In the wake of aggressive evictions of Maasai pastoralists from the Loliondo Game Controlled Area (LGCA) to make way for safari corridors and hunting companies, the Indigenous Heartland Organization (IHO) is mobilizing communities to develop strategies for combating land grabs. KOEF supported IHO to raise awareness of land laws and village certification processes, develop sustainable land use and resource management plans in collaboration with traditional leaders, and initiate dialogues that will reduce conflicts between pastoralists and neighboring agriculturalists. By encouraging community-based approaches to conservation and promoting peace among communities in the LGCA, the project will bolster Maasai’s firm resolve to remain on their grazing lands.
Kakenya Center for Excellence (Kenya) – The Kakenya Center of Excellence educates and empowers Maasai girls to become agents of change in their communities, and to end destructive practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and early forced marriage. KOEF supported the center’s Health and Leadership Training, which provides Maasai girls with leadership skills and knowledge to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. The training promotes camaraderie among the girls, and incorporates Maasai storytelling traditions by inviting Maasai grandmothers to speak about their culture. Graduation from the training is marked by a traditional ceremony involving the entire community, which will be acknowledged as an alternative rite of passage to FGM.
Literacy Action and Development Agency (Uganda) – Lack of access to clean and safe water poses a major challenge to Batwa communities in Uganda. As part of our Forest Peoples Initiative, KOEF funded the Literacy Action and Development Agency to construct and install rainwater harvesting jars for 90 households in three Batwa communities. The jars are capable of harvesting up to 45,000 liters of clean and safe water from each rainfall, and will reduce natural resource conflicts with other communities. In addition, water committees were established within the communities to ensure adequate maintenance and protection of the jars.
Mengbwa Actions Jeunes (Cameroon) – The community of Bagyéli Bandéwouri is comprised of 25 families that live exclusively off hunting and gathering in the forests of Cameroon. Products obtained during their “forest walks” are either consumed by community members or sold to generate income for school fees, clothing, oil, and other supplies. As part of its Forest Peoples Initiative, KEOF supported the community to construct facilities for the storage and preservation of products obtained during their forest walks. This enables the community to preserve their products for longer periods of time, while strengthening their capacities to determine best methods of using them.
Ogiek Cultural Initiatives Program (Kenya) – The Ogiek Cultural Initiatives Program (OCIP) identified the destruction of the Mau Forest as being the single greatest threat to the Ogiek, one of the last remaining hunter/gatherer communities in eastern Africa. KOEF supported OCIP to conduct workshops in their community about the importance of conserving what is left of the Mau Forest (including workshops for women, youth, and elders), and to reintroduce endangered plant species back into their traditional territories. The project also supported Ogiek beekeeping efforts, for the dual purpose of increasing honey production and promoting Ogiek land rights. There are more than 10,000 beehives throughout the Mau Forest, and strengthening the Ogiek’s customary ownership of them will simultaneously strengthen their customary ownership of the forest itself.
Ogiek Peoples Development Program (Kenya) – In 2012, KOEF funded the Ogiek Peoples Development Program (OPDP) to raise civic awareness in their community about Ogiek land rights, natural resources management, and the Kenyan Constitution, which was amended in 2010 to recognize the rights of hunter/gatherers and other marginalized groups in the country. In 2013, KOEF supported OPDP to build on this work by facilitating roundtable meetings between the Ogiek Council of Elders and numerous government agencies (including the National Land Commission and the National Gender and Equality Commission), and conducting community workshops and trainings on Ogiek land rights. The project placed a specific emphasis on the land rights of Ogiek women and youth.
Organisation d’Accompagnement et d’Appui aux Pygmees (Democratic Republic of Congo) - As part of its Forest Peoples Initiative, KOEF funded the Organisation d’Accompagnement et d’Appui aux Pygmees (OSAPY) to map Pygmy territories in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The maps will demarcate lands used for hunting and gathering, lands of cultural and spiritual significance, and lands open to other activities. OSAPY will distribute the maps to government officials and neighboring non-Pygmy communities, and erect signs to designate the boundaries of Pygmy territories in the region.
Pastoral Women’s Council (Tanzania) – KOEF funded the Pastoral Women’s Council (PWC) to establish two cultural bomas in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area of Tanzania, where goats will be bred for distribution to Maasai women. The project is designed to sustain itself for numerous breeding cycles and help more than 400 Maasai women establish herds. Although women are traditionally forbidden from owning livestock in Maasai societies, PWC consulted with the Maa Council of Elders to lift the ban. The project provides the women with exposure to property ownership and opportunities for income generation, while preserving the ancient Maasai practice of livestock herding.
Pastoralist Development Network of Kenya (Kenya) – In 2012, KOEF supported the Pastoralist Development Network of Kenya (PDNK) to facilitate a meeting of the Maa Council of Elders to discuss the Kenyan Constitution, which was amended in 2010 to recognize the rights of pastoralists and other marginalized groups in the country. In 2013, KOEF built on this work by supporting PDNK to facilitate a national conference in which the Maa Council of Elders was formally introduced to the Kenyan government, potential funders, human rights organizations, and other relevant institutions. The project also provided additional training for the elders on the ongoing incorporation of Indigenous Peoples’ rights into Kenyan law.
Pwani Leadership Council (Kenya) – KOEF funded the Pwani Leadership Council to construct a meeting house for the decision-making bodies of 22 Amidzi communities living in the coastal Pwani region of Kenya. The meeting house was constructed in the style of a traditional Amidzi homestead. In addition to strengthening the communities’ self-governance capacity by providing a truly traditional place to make decisions, the meeting house will improve their cultural integrity and generate income by serving as a tourist attraction to teach visitors about Amidzi culture and operating a small vegetable farm.
Sengwer Indigenous Peoples Programme (Kenya) – A World Bank financed project aimed at conserving the watershed of the Embobut Forest is resulting in evictions of the Sengwer Peoples from their traditional territories by the Kenya Forest Service. The Sengwer are challenging the project through litigation in Kenyan courts and a complaint with the World Bank, which initiated an investigation in July 2013. To empower the Sengwer in these two pending cases, KOEF supported the Sengwer Indigenous Peoples Programme to conduct their own research into the project and its negative impacts on their communities, thus enabling them to develop their own tools for defending their rights.
Teemashane Community Development Trust (Botswana) – The Okavango Cultural Trail is a San community-driven tourism initiative that connects four San communities in the Okavango region of Botswana. At each of the communities, tourists experience traditional music, dancing, storytelling, and hunting demonstrations. Income generated from the tourists is distributed to the communities’ Village Development Committees, to be used as they see fit. KOEF supported the Teemashane Community Development Trust to promote the Okavango Cultural Trail and to develop fencing, campsites, and other tourism infrastructures in the communities along the trail.
Ati Community (Philippines) – The traditional territory of the Ati Community spans the entirety of Boracay Island in the Philippines. The community acquired legal title to two hectares on the island, yet private developers are challenging their right to live there, resulting in ongoing harassment and the recent murder of a community leader. KOEF supported the community to construct houses on their titled land. The houses were built mainly by community members themselves through the traditional practice of dagyaw, in which the entire community comes together to raise a home. In addition to providing a roof over the heads of community members, the houses will strengthen their claims to their titled land.
Bundu Tuhan Biocultural Heritage (Malaysia) – Fearing that their youth are becoming increasingly disconnected from their ancestors and traditions, the Bundu Tuhan community is seeking ways to actively involve young people in the preservation of their biocultural heritage. With support from KOEF, the community engaged its youth in the research and documentation of cultural and traditional heritage sites throughout the Bundu Tuhan Native Reserve and the surrounding Winokok Forest. The project included trainings on participatory action research methods, community workshops to plan the research and documentation processes, and fieldwork for the research and documentation itself. The project is part of the community’s broader mission to preserve their adat (code of customs and traditions).
Community Awareness and Services for Ecological Concern (Philippines) – After being displaced by conflicts and pineapple plantations, the Higa-onon community of Mindanao formed the Higa-onon Upland Farmers Alliance with the goal of returning to their traditional territories and preserving their cultural traditions for future generations. KOEF supported Community Awareness and Services for Ecological Concern in a participatory project with the alliance that provided the community with education on sustainable agriculture, training on the implementation of their documented customary laws and traditions, and information on their rights under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Higa-onon Ha Migsabuwa Ta Lanao (Philippines) – The Higa-onon and Manobo communities, located in the remote hilltop forests of Mount Tambulan, are deprived of education and other basic government services, thus earning them the nickname “Forgotten People.” They believe their cultural survival is dependent upon learning how to read and write, as it will better enable them to protect their lands from encroaching resource extraction. KOEF supported Higa-onon Ha Migsabuwa Ta Lanao to construct a school within the Higa-onon and Manobo communities, where children and adults are provided with both academic and traditional lessons for community empowerment. KOEF also supported schoolteachers selected by community members. This community-initiated and culturally-incorporated education scheme will enhance the community’s ability to adapt and respond to external influences while maintaining their traditional lifestyles and cultural integrity.
Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai’i Nei (USA – Hawaii) – Since European contact, grave looting has plagued the sacred burial sites of Native Hawaiians. Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai’i Nei has spent decades traveling around the world to practice the kulena (responsibility) of reacquiring their iwi kupuna (ancestral bones). It is vital for ancestors to be buried in their homelands so that their spiritual essence can infuse the land with their mana (spiritual power) and nourish their living descendents. KOEF funded the transport of 145 ancestral bones from the Natural History Museum of London to Hawaii for repatriation and reburial. The project reunited community members with their ancestors, while raising awareness of grave looting and providing a powerful example of responsibility in action to youth in the community.
Natripal (Philippines) – In 2011, Natripal received a grant from KOEF to complete the first stage of documentation required to submit an application for ancestral title to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), on behalf of the Tandulanen community of Palawan. In 2013, KOEF provided a second grant to Natripal to complete the second and third stages of documentation (which involve the delineation and validation of the community’s territories), enabling them to accelerate the application through the NCIP’s bureaucracy. The impending recognition of ancestral title has empowered the community to grow assertive of their land rights to outsiders, and instances of beach buying and land squatting have declined to a minimum.
Ngati Whatua Orakei Whai Maia (New Zealand) – KOEF supported Ngati Whatua Orakei Whai Maia to foster community development at the neighborhood scale in the Maori community of Ngati Whatua, through the promotion of kainga ora (healthy homes) and the preservation of matauranga kai (traditional food knowledge). The project involves the cultivation of rare traditional crops (such as Maori taros, Maori potatoes, tapa trees, and harakeke plants), workshops on traditional hunting and fishing practices, instructions on healthy food production and waste minimization, and teachings from the tohunga (keepers of traditional knowledge). Foods produced by the project will be distributed the traditional way – elders are fed first and the remains are circulated among the whanau (family) and the manuhiri (visitors).
Nirmanee Development Foundation (Sri Lanka) – Since time immemorial, Indigenous Sri Lankans have extracted the sap from kithul trees and used it for medicinal, nutritional, and spiritual purposes. The Sri Lankan government recently lifted its ban on kithul tapping, but insists on doing it through processes that prioritize profit and introduce harmful chemicals to the environment. KOEF funded the Nirmanee Development Foundation to establish cooperative production centers focused on reconnecting communities with their traditional methods of kithul tapping, which avoids harmful chemicals, requires consultations with astrologers to identify best times for extraction, and involves rituals throughout the extraction process.
Timuay Justice and Governance (Philippines) – The three Indigenous tribes from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were excluded from peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front concerning ongoing conflicts in the region. As a result, an emerging peace framework called Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) contains no specific protections for Indigenous Peoples, despite the damages the conflicts have had on their communities. KOEF funded Timuay Justice and Governance to establish the Bangsa-Mamalu Working Group, which will formulate laws concerning the three Indigenous tribes from the ARMM and engage with relevant government agencies to incorporate them into the BBL.
Waa’gey (Micronesia) – Residents of the outer islands of the Yap region of Micronesia are increasingly migrating to the center islands for better economic opportunities and to avoid rising sea levels, and are rapidly losing exposure to their culture. KOEF supported Waa’gey, an organization that uses traditional knowledge and skills to confront the challenges faced by residents of the outer islands, to instruct young apprentices on traditional methods of carving canoes and fish traps, and weaving baskets, mats, and lava-lavas. The finished products will be displayed at the Yap Living History Museum, providing children with an early appreciation of the cultural practices of their ancestors.
Asociacion para la Promocion y el Desarrollo de la Comunidad (Guatemala) – KOEF funded the Asociacion para la Promocion y el Desarrollo de la Comunidad (CEIBA) to produce assessments and maps of mines, hydroelectric dams, and other industrial megaprojects on the traditional territories of Mayan communities in the Alta Verapaz and Baja Verapaz departments of Guatemala. CEIBA will then design an information campaign highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of these megaprojects, and organize a forum of community leaders to develop a plan of action. The broader aim of the project is to strengthen the communities’ systems for decision-making and giving or withholding Free, Prior, and Informed Consent for megaprojects.
Camentsá Biyá de Mocoa (Colombia) – The Camentsá Biyá are struggling to maintain autonomy over their lands and preserve their culture, in the wake of encroachment from the government and other outsiders. The long distances between the various Camentsá villages hinders communications and creates inconsistencies in their responses to these challenges. KOEF funded Camentsá Biyá de Mocoa to convene more than 200 representatives of five Camentsá villages, to diagnose the problems facing their communities, develop a mandate for addressing them, and create a proposal for the territorial unification of Camentsá lands. The meeting also provided the villagers with opportunities for cultural reflection and spiritual harmonization.
Corproamazonia (Ecuador) – KOEF provided funding to Corproamazonia to develop organic gardens for twenty families living in the Kechwa Silvayacau commune of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Bananas, cassava, cocoa, corn, peanuts, rice, sweet potatoes, and other native crops will be grown in the gardens using traditional knowledge and growing methods. The crops will be grown for both consumption and income generation. The project is expected to become financially self-sustaining after one year, and the profits will be used to replicate the gardens for all of the families living in the commune.
Instituto Mesoamericano de Permacultura (Guatemala) – Despite the aggressive promotion of genetically-modified seeds by government and corporations, Mayan communities in Guatemala are increasingly returning to their traditional seeds due to their health benefits and resilience to disease and changing climatic conditions. To support these communities, the Instituto Mesoamericano de Permacultura (IMAP) is developing a computerized seed bank for the storage, management, and exchange of traditional seeds and the traditional knowledge behind them. KOEF funded IMAP to purchase equipment for the seed bank, and to facilitate educational workshops for local Indigenous farmers on the importance of using traditional seeds.
Llaguepulli Mapuche (Chile) – Perceiving inadequate access to financial resources to be limiting their community capacity, the Llaguepulli Mapuche community is partnering with MAPLE Microdevelopment to establish the first Mapuche community-owned financial institution in Chile. KOEF supported the Llaguepulli Mapuche during a six-month preparatory phase to produce a business model for the financial institution that will incorporate community needs and values, and enable community members to collectively invest in capacity-building endeavors that are important to them.
Organization of Indigenous Communities of Masisea (Peru) – The Organization of Indigenous Communities of Masisea (OCOIM) aims to restore and preserve the traditional territories, knowledge, and governance structures of Shipibo communities in the Peruvian Amazon. In 2012, KOEF funded OCOIM to map Shipibo territories, and to train an estimated 2,000 Shipibo leaders on counteracting exclusion within modern political systems. In 2013, KOEF funded OCOIM to continue its training of Shipibo leaders, using the newly-produced maps as resources for understanding and asserting their land rights.
Black Mesa Water Coalition (USA – Arizona) – Despite the abundance of energy extracted from coal mining on Navajo territories, 75 percent of households without electricity in the US are on the Navajo Reservation. Rather than generating wealth and prosperity for the Navajo, coal mining has contaminated and depleted their soils and waters and established detrimental economic dependencies on the fossil fuels industry. KOEF supported the Black Mesa Water Coalition to bring the Navajo and their allies together to discuss these and other challenges facing their communities, and to discuss strategies for strengthening Navajo food sovereignty.
Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture (USA – Arizona) – In order to strengthen the local food economy, improve health, and preserve culture on the Hopi Reservation, Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture developed an apprenticeship program to teach traditional methods of agriculture, beekeeping, rainwater harvesting, orchard maintenance, and watershed restoration. With support from KOEF, ten emerging community leaders partook in the program. Upon completion of the apprenticeship program, participants will have the opportunity to partner with local organizations to develop food-related projects in their respective households and neighborhoods.
Indigenous Permaculture Program (USA – California) – The Indigenous Permaculture Program (IPP) harnesses Indigenous traditional knowledge, locally available resources, and the power of conscious choice to strengthen food security and promote economic self-sufficiency in Indigenous communities throughout the Americas. In 2009, KOEF funded IPP to facilitate traditional knowledge exchanges among Nihuat communities in El Salvador, thus expanding local capacities for reforestation and sustainable agricultural. In 2013, KOEF supported the legal registration of IPP, in order to strengthen its platform for obtaining additional funding for a series of community gardening workshops on the Hoopa Valley Reservation in northern California.
Indigenous Youth Foundation (USA – California) – Climate change, environmental toxins, and other hazards are endangering salmon populations and the Indigenous communities who depend on them as a source of nutrition, spirituality, and cultural survival. In response, the Indigenous Youth Foundation partnered with the International Indian Treaty Council and the Yurok Tribe Wellness Court to host an intertribal salmon conference. With support from KOEF, representatives of Indigenous communities along the Pacific coast gathered in northern California to exchange traditional knowledge and practical approaches for the restoration and protection of salmon populations.
Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center (USA – Alaska) – KOEF funded the Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center, which is based in the Tlingit village of Klukwan, Alaska, to construct a root cellar for storing vegetables grown in two community gardens. The root cellar will strengthen the communities’ traditional subsistence economy and promote the concept of haa xaseigoo xanu haa atxaayi (“our life is close by our food”). The produce will be used for school lunches, annual celebrations, and other purposes that benefit the community at large, and will improve health by increasing access to fresh produce, which is expensive to import due to the remoteness of the community.
Longhouse Media (USA – Washington) – Longhouse Media is an Indigenous media organization that catalyzes communities to use media as a tool for self-expression, cultural preservation, and social change. KOEF provided Longhouse Media with a grant to support the production of four short videos highlighting the unique culture of the Samish Tribe, whose traditional territories span the coast of the Salish Sea, between Washington and British Columbia. The videos will promote inclusiveness and cultural pride among Samish community members, many of whom are spread across the Pacific Northwest and no longer live on their traditional territories.
Tlowitsis Nation (Canada) – In the 1960s, the Tlowitsis Nation had to abandon their territories, which span the coast of northeastern Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland inlets of British Columbia, because the Canadian government closed their education and healthcare facilities. They are now working to physically and culturally reunify the Tlowitsis diaspora. In 2012, KOEF funded a self-governance project which alerted Tlowitsis elders to logging activities near areas of cultural and spiritual significance. Building on this work, in 2013, KOEF supported the Tlowitsis Nation to comprehensively document areas of cultural and spiritual significance, archeological importance, and traditional resource use. The data enables the Tlowitsis Nation to effectively protect their cultural identity when negotiating with logging companies interested in their lands.
Vancouver Native Health Society (Canada) – Downtown Vancouver has a large population of First Nations community members, many of whom experience poverty, food insecurity, and homelessness. At its Tu’wusht Garden/Kitchen, the Vancouver Native Health Society reconnects Vancouver’s urban Indigenous residents with traditional methods of food-producing and food-sharing, to improve their physical, mental, cultural, and spiritual health. KOEF supported the organization to procure fish, berries, and other traditional foods from surrounding forests and waterways. The foods are prepared and served to community members during weekly gatherings at the Tu’wusht Garden/Kitchen, providing them with a source of nutrition, cultural exchange, and emotional and spiritual fulfillment.