LGBTI Ugandans at Kakuma Camp in Kenya have found some reasons to celebrate, despite the refugee camp’s food cutbacks and the continuing hostility from other refugees.
An online funding campaign has raised $1,000 for supplementary food for about 200 LGBTI refugees there, with a goal of $3,000. Connell O’Donovan of Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A., launched the fund drive with this note:
There are over 200 LGBTI refugees in the United Nations’ Kakuma Camp, northwestern Kenya, who live in deplorable conditions, and are not receiving the food, medicine, goods, and services they need, and their needs are typically ignored by the camp’s UN administration. Their enclave within the larger camp is in the worst location, near a river, so when it rains, they get flooded out, and they also have to deal with snakes, mosquitoes, and malaria.
Through Facebook, I, Connell O’Donovan, am in daily contact with one of the Queer leaders there, Moses Mbazira, who is an extremely trustworthy, competent, and compassionate young man. Another organization in Tokyo, Japan is helping to raise funds for the LGBT Kakuma refugees, and Moses is meticulous in posting snapshots of monies received, monies spent, photos of inventories, of pallets of goods he purchases, and then how it is equally distributed among the refugees there. I have done two test runs of sending Moses mobile money through WorldRemit.com (which charges a very small money transfer fee), and am confident this is a viable way of getting desperately needed money into the right hands as efficiently as possible.
Every penny I receive will be forwarded to Moses at Kakuma Camp, for him to decide how best to spend it, whether on food, clothing, or medicine/medical services. Please help by giving what you can to ensure that our sisters and brothers in the Kakuma Camp are not forgotten!
After the group marked Transgender Day of Remembrance in mid-November, LGBTI refugee leader Moses Mbazira wrote:
Today in Kakuma refugee camp trans women plus trans men came out to celebrate a day that reminds them about the lost lives of all people in that kind of life who were persecuted and died because of whom they are. Let’s join hands and fight against homophobia.
In the face of the 30 to 50 percent food cutbacks throughout Kakuma Camp, the group is preparing for Christmas celebrations, in conjunction with a Japanese support group and a further appeal for supporters to send M-Pesa mobile money via Mbazira at 254799266789.
The group continues to endure repeated assaults, as well as inaction from the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, which oversees the camp. Mbazira wrote:
LGBTI COMMUNITY CONTINUOUSLY FACE ATTACKS IN LESS THAN A WEEK.
In less than a week LGBTl members not only are being challenged by the food cut and medical inadequacy! … Other hostilities like physically assaults continuously raid and break their walls of survival. It’s less than a week now but many LGBTI are terrorized by the surrounding homophobes who stab and aim at ceasing their existence in the camp while using sharp swords and daggers. …
We chose to live and face the world as we were assigned in God’s creation since even if we would like or try to change we can never resist the call of our nature. It’s the right time. We call out God from every corner of the camp for protection. But words always preached by spiritual leaders in big churches and mosques in Kakuma Refugee Camp … focus on preaching hate. ….
UNHCR has always promised improving on our protection but the mere promising doesn’t solve the situations without action. … We need security, We need good medication, We need social support, we need employments, we need good sanitation with stable shelters and we need all rights other enjoy. We have always addressed this on a weekly basis to the UNHCR counseling protection desk but the turn up isn’t visible in expression on what they have fixed.
- No escape from danger: LGBT refugees fled to Kakuma Camp for their lives, only to be greeted with hostility (November 2017, Voices of Utah)
- Food shortages, violence still plague LGBTI refugees (November 2017, 76crimes.com)
- LGBTI refugees in Kenya: Food cutback, new security plan (October 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Kenya: LGBTI refugees trek for protection; funds needed (September 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Desperate LGBT refugees seek a way out, though it’s ‘suicidal’ (September 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Ugandan trans woman flees to Kenya, finds ‘complete hell’
- Kenya arrests LGBTI refugees, sends them into danger (May 2017, 76crimes.com)
- For gay refugee, Kenya is tough, but better than Uganda (May 2017, 76crimes.com)
- I escaped death in Uganda. Now I’m a sex worker in Kenya (March 2017, 76crimes.com)
- With Trump stymied, LGBTQ refugees reach the U.S. (February 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Final flights to U.S.? Needy LGBTI refugees seek safety (February 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Kenya: I’m homeless because of Trump’s refugee order (February 2017, 76crimes.com)
- LGBTI Refugees Hurt by Trump Ban (February 2017, O-blog-dee)
- Scarred in Uganda, LGBT refugee is about to reach safety in U.S. (January 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Out of Kampala’s frying pan, into Nairobi’s fire (September 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Ugandan Refugees and Asylum Seekers Start Self Help Project to Make Ends Meet (September 2015, Kuchu Times)