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    Sharing joy, celebrating together

    Day 252

    We Are Family

    Life in Nairobi is tough for all asylum seekers and refugees, but particularly for LGBTQI people. “We’re out of the frying pan and into the fire,” one Ugandan woman told us as we sat with her in August. Many have been cast out and disowned by their families and friends at home, and abuse, discrimination, and violence continue to mar their daily lives in Nairobi. Faced with these challenges and thoughts of the loss of family, it’s easy for them to forget that there is love and hope in the world.

    But in this seemingly scarce and desperate environment, the community have come to learn that they are one another’s family. They act as mother and father, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles for one another all in one. They share the little they have amongst themselves to make sure they all have enough to eat, respond quickly if one of their fellows is threatened or attacked, and open their doors to one another to ensure no-one is left homeless.

    They are the epitome of love and hope in an environment that is seemingly threatening and scarce.

    LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees in Nairobi have many needs – from help with rent and food, to access to employment opportunities and basic services like health care, the situation is dire. But from our meetings with community members throughout our trip, we noticed one big gap in their lives – opportunities to come together and have fun.

    Owing to the high level of poverty within the community, it’s often hard to visit friends who are spread across Nairobi, especially when you’re worrying about paying your rent. Organizing a party seems impossible.

    But not for us – together with our partner organization ORAM we threw a party! One day where the community could forget all that was happening to them, their trauma and the hardships of their lives. They put on their best outfits and simply had fun from lunch late into the night.

    Alight was lucky enough to snag an invite, and we were blown away by the creativity of the community! We were treated to lip-synced and live performances (for those brave enough to share the mic) and sat down to a beautiful buffet lunch prepared by the community’s most talented chefs.

    There truly is no such joy like the joy shared with your loved ones.


    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


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    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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