Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

2017
07.31.2018
Rangers Project
On #WorldRangerDay, we are so proud of the efforts of our rangers, who show dedication and resilience, despite the dangers they face.

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07.22.2018
Ephrem Balole, Manager of Virunga SARL, receives his PhD
Congratulations to Ephrem Balole, Manager of Virunga SARL, who received his PhD from the University of Kinshasa last week! Ephrem has been r...

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06.06.2018
Rangers Project
We are so proud that Jolie, one of Virunga’s female rangers, shared her story of what motivated her to become a ranger at the European Devel...

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06.05.2018
Fallen Rangers Project
Representatives from the Rumangabo Widows sewing workshop attended the European Development Days conference in Brussels, where they showcase...

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05.31.2018
Virunga coffee launches!
One for the coffee fans out there: every purchase of Higher Grounds' Kawa Kanzururu Coffee goes towards supporting the development work of V...

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05.31.2018
Rangers Project
We are so delighted to share the news that the mountain gorilla population has surpassed 1000! Incredible news for Virunga and incredible news for conservation, and testament to the continued work of Virunga's Rangers in ensuring the protection of the species.

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02.13.2018
Fallen Rangers Fund
Children of the fallen Rangers playing in the child care center at the widows workshop! On-site child care reduces the initial stressors tha...

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12.05.2017
Fallen Rangers Fund
A total of 68 widows and 190 children of fallen Rangers, are now, thanks to the Fallen Rangers Fund, being offered financial support, education, and meaningful employment.

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09.11.2017
Rangers Project
Today, Park Rangers along with the Gorilla Doctors team successfully located the Rugendo group and removed a deadly snare from the arm of yo...

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07.30.2017
Rangers Project
Happy World Ranger Day! We are extremely proud and grateful to all our Rangers. These men and women are deeply committed to Virunga and ensu...

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07.29.2017
Rangers Project
Last week marked the completion of 5 months of incredibly tough training for Virunga's newest Rangers. 6500 applied, 81 made it through.

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01.12.2017
Fallen Rangers Fund
A beautiful selection of napkins made by the widows of fallen Rangers are on sale at Mikeno Lodge.

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Photo Credit: Brent Stirton; Logo Credit: David Shepard

Photo Credit: Adam Kiefer; Logo Credit: David Shepard

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: David Shepard

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: David Shepard

Photo credit: Orlando von Einsiedel

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: David Shepard

Explore Africa’s oldest and most biologically diverse protected area

Unlike anywhere else in the world, Virunga National Park contains some of the greatest national treasures on earth

About Virunga

Learn more

Stability through sustainable development in the eastern Congo

The Virunga Alliance is working to create an alternative economy that enables surrounding communities to benefit from the National Park

Virunga Alliance

Learn more

Meet the heroes who risk their lives to protect the Park’s wildlife and local communities

Rangers’ work is critical to the stability of the Park and the safety of the lives that surround it

Rangers Project

Learn more

Meet the orphan gorillas of Virunga’s Senkwekwe Center

The world’s only sanctuary caring for mountain gorillas separated from their families by poaching or conflict

Gorilla Orphan Project

Learn more

Introduction

About the Fallen Rangers Fund

The Fallen Rangers Fund was established to provide critical support, employment, and training to the widows and children of those Virunga Rangers killed in the line of duty.

About the Fund

Since the establishment of Virunga as a national park in 1925, over 175 Rangers have lost their lives protecting the wildlife and habitats within the Park, as well as the people living around the Park’s boundaries. Before the Fund was in place, widows received little to no financial support, with their families often becoming severely impoverished.


In 2007, Park management set out to find every widow of a fallen Ranger. Since then, the team has managed to identify nearly all of those Rangers’ families, dating back to 1991, when the regional conflict began.

After the tragic loss of a Ranger, a private fund is immediately established to garner support from our community and all donations towards that fund are given directly to the Ranger’s widow.


For six months after the Ranger’s death, the Park continues to pay the Ranger’s full salary to his widow. After six months, the widow receives a pension to provide additional support as the family adjusts to their new way of life. Widows and their children receive free medical services provided through Park facilities.

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Training Facilities

Widows are offered the opportunity to take part in sewing training and employment within the Park’s community manufacturing facilities. The ultimate goal of these workshops is to help support these women to get beyond bare subsistence living. Equally important is to foster a sense of community and strengthen their optimism for what the future holds.


Photo credit: Kila Siku

Rumangabo Sewing Workshop

At the Rumangabo workshop, opened in September 2016, women are taught sewing—skills from which they can earn a living. They learn to make a wide array of products from curtains, and napkins, toiletries pouches, and cushions covers.


Photo credit: Kila Siku

Childcare at the Workshop

A childcare and education facility has been created at the workshops, to further support the families. Widows are also provided with educational opportunities such as reading, writing, and family planning.


Photo credit: Kila Siku

Mutsora Workshop

The Mutsora Workshop, which opened its doors in September 2017, hosts the widows from the Northern Sector of Virunga. At Mutsora, the women can be found making jam, wrapping soaps, mending Ranger’s uniforms or shoes—contributing to Virunga’s daily life in a variety of ways.


Photo credit: Kila Siku

In-home Employment Options

For those who prefer to stay at home to look after their children, there are options to train in making small handicrafts such as bracelets and jewellery.


Photo credit: Kila Siku

Workshop Production

The workshops are now producing items for our tourism shop, large orders for zoos and botanical gardens, and private orders. For information on how to order, please email info@virunga.org


Photo Credit: Kila Siku

The Future of the Fallen Rangers Fund

The support from our international community continues to ensure that the widows of Virunga’s fallen Rangers have the assistance that they need in order establish a future for themselves and their family members. Private donors and organizations, such as ECO Rainforest Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have helped to set up the initial fund.

The goal is to grow a permanent endowment for families of fallen Rangers and as it grows, the fund will be able to cover the base subsistence cost of a family, as well as provide an educational allowance for children and family medical coverage.

Join the Effort to Protect Virunga National Park

You can make a difference by joining our community of dedicated individuals who aim to protect Africa’s oldest national park and bring peace and prosperity for the four million people who depend on it.