Africa

Kakuma refugees gain supporters, need more help

Moses Mbazira poses with a rainbow LGBT flag in his tent at Kakuma Camp. (Photo courtesy of Mbazira Moses)

Moses Mbazira poses with a rainbow LGBT flag in his tent at Kakuma Camp. (Photo courtesy of Moses Mbazira)

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!

Connell ODonovan wrote: "A friend in California mailed me a $100, so I already forwarded that amount on to Moses at Kakuma Camp. Here they are holding the sack of rice and the sacks of flour that the $100 bought for them, while they celebrate Transgender Awareness Day with the new rainbow flag someone from Japan sent them. Moses is in the salmon t-shirt, holding the rice. He is such a good man!"

Connell ODonovan wrote: “A friend in California mailed me a $100, so I already forwarded that amount on to Moses at Kakuma Camp. Here they are holding the sack of rice and the sacks of flour that the $100 bought for them, while they celebrate Transgender Awareness Day with the new rainbow flag someone from Japan sent them. Moses is in the salmon t-shirt, holding the rice. He is such a good man!”

After the group marked Transgender Day of Remembrance in mid-November, LGBTI refugee leader Moses Mbazira wrote:

Trans refugees celebrated their trans identities during Trans Awareness Week in November 2017. (Photo courtesy of Refugee Flag Kakuma)

Trans refugees celebrated their trans identities during Trans Awareness Week in November 2017. (Photo courtesy of Refugee Flag Kakuma)

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.

Christmas list for LGBTI refugees at Kakuma Camp.

Christmas list for LGBTI refugees at Kakuma Camp: rice, potatoes, flour, bananas, beef, nuts, vegetables, spices, cooking oil, soda, mineral water and firewood. (Photo courtesy of Refugee Flag Kakuma)

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.

Related articles:

2 thoughts on “Kakuma refugees gain supporters, need more help

  1. Thank you so much for drawing much needed attention to the awful plight of LGBTIQ refugees in Kakuma Camp. They truly need all the support and love we can give them! Connell O’Donovan, Salt Lake City, Utah – USA

    Like

  2. Pingback: I rifugiati di Kakuma guadagnano sostenitori, ma hanno ancora bisogno di più aiuto « Support Uganda

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s