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LGBTI refugees get creative to survive after homophobic violence drove them out of work

Written by gaytourism

One of the refugees at Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp tending to the chickens. | Photo: Supplied

A group of LGBTI refugees who faced violence after holding a Pride festival in their refugee camp have been forced to find new ways to make money because of anti-LGBTI persecution.

Gay Star News exclusively reported in June that LGBTI refugees in the Kenyan Kakuma Refugee Camp held the first Pride parade there. Many of them come from Uganda. The Kakuma refuguee camp is one of the largest in the world. All of the LGBTI refugees in Kakuma fled their home countries because of persecution they faced because they are LGBTI.

But now that the LGBTI refugees in Kakuma are more visible because of the Pride event, they have faced violence and death threats. They have also faced discrimination in employment, according to the refugees.

‘There are no opportunities for us to work in the camp or even outside the camp, we are segregated against, nobody wants to hire an LGBTQ refugee person in Kenya,’ said the head of advocacy group Rainbow Flag Kakuma, Mbazira Moses.

Sometimes if they refugees don’t have any money they only get to eat one meal a day.

‘The expenses we have in the camp that are very urgent in the camp. We have to pay for food, medical supplies, bedding, charcoal stoves for cooking, clothes, telecommunications and maybe internet,’ Mbazira said.

Chicks, bread and crafts

But now they’ve set up some enterprising initiatives to help them get by. The LGBTI refugees have set up poultry, bakery and arts/crafts businesses to make money to provide basic needs for themselves.

‘Our LGBTI friends in Japan gave us the courage to start up a mega poultry project to help in empowering the minorities. It’s aimed at feeding the most vulnerable like the ones who are HIV medication,’ Mbazira said.

‘We have an active project on the ground that is successful. We have 50 chicks so far.’

a man stands in front of a long table that is covered in loaves of bread

A refugee sells bread to get by in Kakuma’s refugee camp. | Photo: Supplied

But they are still struggling to cover the costs of buying the equipment to help their micro-businesses flourish. The more goods they can produce, the more profits they can make.

‘Your donations towards the success of the project will help in increasing output as the more birds we have the more returns and more profits to help improve our living conditions which are currently dire,’ Mbazira said.

People who want to help the LGBTI refugees can donate to the crowdfunding campaign which has already raised about $500.

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