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    Shedding a light on abundance

    Day 247

    Telling Their Own Stories

    I’m back with Doreen, from the Refugee Trans Initiative, who never fails to inspire me. She’s always dreaming up new ways to think of a better tomorrow for her friends and the rest of the LGBTIQ refugee community in Nairobi.

    One fine Kenyan winter day, we spent many hours with RTI thinking about how their small businesses could grow further into support systems not only for the residents, in their safe house, but beyond. And it was during this day we heard about “Silent Scream Board” idea (which I still think is a brilliant idea to promote wellbeing!), and another new idea around storytelling integrated into holistic spa services.

    The RTI spa had been doing well, but the team running the initiative reached a point where they felt like they needed to re-evaluate their strategy moving forward.

    Doreen told us with excitement that they were developing a plan “to train fellow LGBTIQ refugees in beauty therapy – a combination of spa and [talk] therapy skills.” She went on to say that clients often came to the spa to take a mental break from their harsh realities, and while they were so happy to be that refuge for them, she realized that they could serve as a platform for more – therapy, health awareness, networking.

    While this was the long-term vision, what they really needed now was a DSLR camera to start telling all of the RTI success stories to the world, including future, will-be successes such as the “beauty-therapy training.”

    The RTI team already had in-house skills to create basic but powerful visual stories, which they would use to raise funding for their bigger initiatives. We were so on board with their vision! I mean, is there truly anything more powerful than telling our own stories to the world?

    Days later, Doreen sure felt the same way. Elated that she had a new camera to work with, she immediately began sending me a-day-in-the-life-of type of photos. I can’t wait to see the creative stories that the team puts together!!


    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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