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    Connecting, gathering, supporting each other

    Day 255

    Reigniting Hope, Finding Solidarity

    Life can be tough for LGBTQI refugees living in Kenya. With abuse and violence from family members and the surrounding community being their primary reason for flight, most LGBTQI refugees find themselves alone in Nairobi facing renewed discrimination, abuse, and violence. On top of this, fear and negative attitudes towards them result in many support programs being inaccessible to the community, compounding feelings of isolation, and for some, bringing their mental health to breaking point.

    While changing attitudes towards LGBTQIs among service providers is an endeavor that Alight is embarking on to ensure all are included in humanitarian programs, training sessions are costly and time consuming.

    During our visit we heard stories of suffering in the community and the desperate need for quick and accessible mental health support. so we kept thinking – there must be something that we can do now.

    We were desperate to find some quick relief for the suffering that we were witnessing.

    We sat down with Delan and Raymond, two LGBTQI refugee activists living in Nairobi that run The Nature Network, a grass-roots organization working tirelessly to improve the lives of the community through media and advocacy. The topic of mental health was nothing new to them – their day-to-day lives were spent supporting community members in their safe house and beyond, providing informal support to those who needed to talk about their experiences both at home and in Nairobi.

    Delan and Raymond spoke at length about the importance of raising awareness of mental health within the community, and while getting professional help from a trained therapist was important, sometimes just getting people together to talk about their mental health can do a world of good.

    So that’s just what we did. A few days later we provided assistance for highly impoverished community members, often those most in need of mental health support, to join us for lunch and a psychosocial session run by Delan and Raymond who expertly held the space.

    Each participant spent time unpacking how they were feeling, finding solidarity and support in one another, reigniting hope through their shared experiences of hardship.

    When you’re displaced because of your sexual orientation or gender identity and fear abuse from every angle, just getting together with other people like you is vital in liberating you from loneliness and isolation, reminding you that you are not alone and there are others struggling just like you.

    From the session we learned that sharing your story can be one of the most powerful acts of compassion, both to yourself and to others, as your words will always resonate with someone, somewhere.


    Meet Jamie! Jamie is Alight’s Global Inclusivity Advisor based out of London, UK, and works with our teams internationally to ensure marginalized communities are given the tools necessary to live lives filled with joy, meaning and purpose. He is particularly passionate about working with LGBTIQ asylum seekers and refugees in East Africa, who are some of the world’s most vulnerable. Need to contact Jamie? Feel free to reach out:


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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!

    Let's Connect!