LGBT Relief Fund 7

For: African Human Rights Coalition
Organizer: Mel Nathan
of $4,500 goal
78% Complete
Raised by 36 donors

The Story

My name is Melanie Nathan, I direct The African Human Rights Coalition.We work as unpaid volunteers to safe shelter, provide food, transport and advocacy for LGBTI people in and from African countries who have been forced into exile or hiding due to the persecution of sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Some LGBT refugees and people in hiding go for days without food or proper nourishment. Some have no place to sleep. Most have been rejected by family. There is no government to turn to and they are dependent on organizations such as the Coalition.  Many are feeling hopeless. We need your urgent help...  

We are a direct services organization, all volunteers, with no funding for operations or admin, yet extraordinary results.  The need for the people we support is desperate at this time. 

We provide humanitarian funding to LGBTI people in African countries who have been caught up in anti-homosexuality laws, draconian penal codes and endemic persecution resulting from state sanctioned homophobia and transphobia. The call for death, attacks and other forms of persecution continues -  riled up by anti-gay leaders, politicians, clergy and community alike. 

We work in several different African countries, including Cameroon, Nigeria, The Gambia, Senegal, Liberia, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and DRC where when we receive ad hoc funds we are able to provide safe shelter, food and medical expenses for LGBTI people who have been:

  • forced out of villages
  • fired from jobs
  • expelled from school
  • kicked out of home
  • evicted by landlords
  • assaulted by family, friends, community
  • threatened with death
  • tortured by police
  • blackmailed
  • forced into marriages
  • paraded before TV cameras and press
  • outed by newspapers and magazines
  • escaping police bond that could result in life imprison
  • escaping so called mob justice
  • fleeing after so called "corrective rape"

Current urgent on our list:

  • One gay man about to be evicted
  • Gay man without shelter interim rent/ transport/ food while arrangements are made to send him to Kakuma Camp
  • Two lesbians in need of urgent transport funds
  • One gay man urgent travel money needed
  • One Gay man needs a police clearance document from his country 
  • Rent each month for a lesbian asylum seeker in Uganda who INHCR refuses to register - pending our advocacy on her behalf
  • Gay asylum seeker in United States detention in need of commissary cash

No amount is too small.

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to the organization African Human Rights Coalition through our 501 (c) 3 Fiscal Sponsor please DONATE HERE.

Information: HERE

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on March 30, 2018

Posted on March 30, 2018

This is an update; Unfortunately several of the LGBTI refugees were attacked while camping outside of UNHCR compound, protesting food shortage and other unsafe conditions. 7 transgender refugees were severely beaten - we have written the report here. We have utilized all the funds received in support of refugees and asylum seekers as described and the fund is now empty at a time where we are trying to provide more food, including aide to those injured.

Posted on June 8, 2016

Posted on June 8, 2016

Thank you to those who have donated to this fundraiser.  We have given out all the money raised so far. We send small amounts as  it comes in. The situation for refugees is dire. The situation for LGBT refugees is far worse.

There are 2 lesbian refugees right now in desperate need of food and 'ladies pads' and also I need help to feed several people this month - if you are able to help, please let me know or see link below. Recently a very prominent celebrity member of our community suggested  - '... why are you bothered with Africa when we have so much need at home, here in the USA ?.....

Well of course the suggestion may seem outrageous, but people unfortunately think that way.  I look at us all as one global community. Some people help local causes, others work for global causes. And as obvious as it may seem, here is the answer to what makes this fundraiser so critical:-  There is very little else to help LGBT people in Africa - mostly because of institutionalized persecution:

In the USA - as bad as it may be for many- and not minimizing that at all - there is always help somewhere- if it means a soup kitchen, a government program, food stamps, Churches, NGO's shelters. In the USA we do not have institutionalized persecution- nor is our community criminalized and prevented from receiving services. In many African countries,  government condones and even encourages the abuse of LGBT people:

Imagine living in a country where you have not a single ally - not a single friend - family threatening and after you - No one who
you can safely find - no government to turn to when beaten or raped? Why? Because you are a trans or because you are a lesbian or because you are bi or because you are gay! So after you have been beaten or threatened - you run to another country - and you make it across the border, despite huge odds. When you get there, you have absolutely nothing and no money at all,  you are in yet another country that considers you an abomination - and that country is telling you also that you are a criminal.

You go to UNHCR and ask for refugee status. They put you in a camp and then the minute the main population of refugees find out where you are from, they know your are likely gay or lesbian and you have a target on your back.

You line up like all the other refugees for a food card. Day after day as you make your way through that line - you finally make it to the front and you are sent away without the food card because they know you are gay - yes the official makes an excuse - says come back -simply refuses to give you a card. You go back day after day to no avail. You are left scrounging for a small plate of porridge each day and there are some days when there is none.


Posted on May 10, 2016

Posted on May 10, 2016

The Government of Kenya has announced that it intends to close all refugee camps in the country, and while UNHCR implores Kenya to reverse this decision, we await information as to how they plan to deal with what could be a severe crisis.  LGBT refugees, after seeing the headlines, are now extremely stressed and uncertain as to how their cases will continue in the UNHCR system and are worried about their ability to survive, financially, as a prime funding organization withdraws its stipends.

The refugees who have escaped anti-homosexuality laws and persecution in several African countries are still unsure of how UNHCR will handle these cases.  Most of the LGBT refugees are not in the camps and are living in urban areas, such as Nairobi. However there are some living in Kakuma camp at this time.   It has been taking approximately two years for a legitimate LGBT refugee to be resettled abroad. To date scores have been resettled in countries such as Europe, Canada, USA and Iceland. Survival in Kenya pending resettlement has been extremely challenging.  HIAS has provided stipends to help urban refugees survive. However several months ago refugees were warned that the stipends would end in June, 2016.  Now this news has added to the uncertainty and stress.

In the meantime the funding needs for LGBT refugees are even greater since we first put up  this plea. We now prepare for the unknown. Since HIAS, the organization that has been providing stipends to LGBT refugees to survive in urban areas announced it will stop funding as of June, 2016, a decision that was made many months ago,  groups of LGBT refugees have been forming to create small businesses in the urban areas in the hope of generating income for survival.  However given this news of closure, it is highly unlikely that these micro businesses will survive the likely clamp down on urban refugees by Kenyan police.  It is clear that all refugees are not welcome in Kenya and the worry is that the Kenyan government will not honor the UN protection of refugees. Already LGBTI refugees have been the target of police harassment and brutality.    There is no knowing where this will lead.  We as an international LGBTI community need to start preparing, through critical fundraising, so we are ready to help LGBTI refugees, when this emergency heightens.

As Executive Director of  the African Human Rights Coalition,  I am pleading to our community to take note and to consider much needed donations, in whatever amount, so we are ready to shelter and feed LGBT refugees, beyond their current urgent needs:

I estimate we will need to come up with many thousands of dollars - as with this news the hope and viability for small business for refugees in Kenya is now dashed.  Although this fundraiser indicated an urgent need for $1800, has changed dramatically. We can expect the urgent needs of at least 150 LGBT refugees during June - August to be well over $450 per refugee.   We are currently working with 35-60 LGBT refugees at any given time.

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