The mountain gorillas in the Virunga mountains are threatened with extintion. In the past, they shared their habitat with the Batwa Pygmies. In the early 1990's the Batwa were evicted from the parks of Bwindi and the Mgahinga National Parks, in the effort to protect the mountain gorillas and their habitat. The Batwa were evicted with no compensation and it has been over 20 years now. They are impoverished and the government is still not helping. The Batwa are the poorest among the poorest, without (farming) land of their own. Thereby they have no or very limited acces to education and healthcare. I was shocked to see these pygmies being abandoned while the government is making a lot of money on tourists visiting the mountain gorillas. These pictures are taken in front of their houses, where i asked them to stand and feel proud for one second.
Dutch photographer Jan Janssen is best known for being an people-photographer. He was born and raised in the south of the Netherlands. While using only the natural availible light, he always has his eyes on composition and details. His heart is with the elderly in our society and the Buddhist inhabitants of the Himalayas. He specialized in documentary photography with a photographic culmination in 2013, when he launched his successfull photobook "The Himalaya, my home". The book was awarded several times with international awards. He is currently working on a series on poverty in Europe. I feel honored to participate in the I.P.A. International Photography Awards. Warm Regards, Jan Janssen, Netherlands