Justin Wren is a professional mixed martial artist who formerly competed for the UFC and has over 13 professional victories under his belt. He reached his dream of becoming a pro fighter at the age of 18, but the experience wasn’t fulfilling as Wren was battling depression and drug addiction at that time and by the time he was 23 he attempted suicide. At the lowest point in life, Justin realized that he wanted to do something meaningful, make a change in this world that truly mattered.
He set his eyes on the Pygmies of Congo, who were trapped in a cycle of slavery and abuse by the Mokpala tribe. The Pygmies had no land, forcing them to work for food, which was as little as 2 bananas a day, for a whole family to share, to keep them hungry and dependent on their masters. Seeing their suffering Justin realized he knew what he had to do. “I was fighting against people, but really I was just supposed to be fighting for people” he recalled.
“It would be foolish of us to come to the slave masters and say ‘hey, we want to set your people free’,” Wren explained, “so you have to go out in a respectful way to both parties. You can’t love one side and hate the other”. So, Wren used water to help both sides. He teamed up with Water4 and founded ‘Fight for the Forgotten’ charity to employ the local workforce, giving them jobs, to drill wells in otherwise inaccessible areas. In this way, he not only helped the enslaved Pygmies, but also their slave masters, resolving the conflict without hostility.
Since the beginning of his journey 8 years ago, Wren has done a number of expeditions and charity drives with ‘Fight for the Forgotten’ to help his Pigmy family. He used some of his earnings to buy land for the Pygmies and dig wells that would not only improve their general health, but also save their children from dying of waterborne diseases. You can donate to the cause on Water4’s website.
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