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    Coming together for a shared meal and shared purpose

    Day 249

    Breaking Bread

    In Nairobi, one of our strongest alliances is with a coalition of grassroots, community-based organizations called the Refugee Coalition of East Africa. The “Coalition,” as it’s informally known, is well respected among the international humanitarian agencies based in Nairobi for its unified support to the LGBTIQ refugee community.

    I’m personally super inspired by their commitment to see beyond time and resources to serve with love and compassion. They’re leaders, activists, counselors, and humanitarians, all rolled into one. And we’re on a mission to find ways to elevate their role in the community.

    During my short trip to Nairobi, I was honored with an invitation to their first strategy meeting after their recent elections. With a new Executive Director in place and other new team members, this meeting was mostly about building a strong team foundation so they could continue to expand their vision and programming.

    Given that food should really be a part of any meeting (it keeps minds sharp, of course!), we had talked to the organization about hosting us – Refugee Trans Initiative – to see if they could provide some lunch.

    Vanilla, the ED, had told us they had some pretty awesome chefs in the house and they would be delighted to cook up a yummy lunch that we could eat after business was taken care of. Her confidence in their hosting and cooking abilities had us sold!

    After a 2+ hour meeting, we all sat down to continue bonding over one of the most scrumptious East African meals I’ve ever eaten, hands down. I never doubted that lunch would be good – I was excited when I saw the ingredients Vanilla and her boyfriend were buying when we went grocery shopping – I just didn’t realize I would be able to taste their love and care in the food!

    New friendships, yummy lunch, and a group of young people dedicated to uplifting one of the most marginalized communities in Nairobi? I can think of nowhere else I would have rather been.


    Meet Shamaila! Shamaila is part of the Global Connections team based out of Minneapolis. She supports partnerships and fundraising for Alight’s initiatives with the diaspora, LGBTIQ+ refugees, Rohingya women, and beyond! She is deeply passionate about supporting the most marginalized communities worldwide – those living in the shadows — to reclaim their voice and has found Changemakers 365 a powerful tool to support this. Want to learn more about our work with marginalized communities in Nairobi? Contact Shamaila at


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    Changemakers 365

    by Alight


    The world’s tough problems can seem insurmountable. So at Alight, while we tackle those big problems we also do what’s doable. Right then. And that’s what Changemakers 365 is all about. Learn more!


    Changemakers 365 members give either $30 per month or a one-time gift of $365 (it’s free for anyone who has ever lived in a refugee camp). Join us!

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