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    The power of positive messaging

    Day 245

    You Are More Than Enough

    Hello hello from Nairobi, where my colleagues (and friends!), Jamie, Zeinab, and I, are once again working as part of a team to support the LGBTIQ refugee community!

    You may remember the series of projects we implemented earlier this year in response to an emergency relocation of nearly 200 refugees due to security and protection gaps in Kakuma Refugee camp, where they were staying. We also met many others living in urban Nairobi, part of a 500+ community.

    It broke our hearts to see the marginalization coupled with homophobia many in the community faced, but believe me when I say there were an equal number of bright spots – both amazing people and beautiful moments – that gave us such a strong sense of hope!

    This time around, we mostly checked in with the small community-based organizations, which had emerged over time from within the community themselves. These organizations, known as CBOs, are usually one of the first places people turn to for support.

    As Kenn from one of the CBOs told me, “there are a few of us who hold our community so highly that we will take on the burden of others’ pain on our shoulders. This isn’t a job for us, rather a calling, a way of life.”

    I stood in awe when I heard this from Kenn. It’s people like him and other CBO leaders’ commitment to serve others that have genuinely taught me about starting with giving selflessly.

    Another brilliant individual is Doreen from the Refugee Trans Initiative (RTI). We supported RTI to kickstart an awesome initiative earlier this year – a spa in the local urban area where their safe house is. While that’s slowly progressing, Doreen, one of the co-founders of the spa, thought it would be beneficial to integrate another component, which could spark joy for their customers: a silent “scream board”.

    Her vision is to include “a board for visitors and community members to write positive messages for those struggling with compounded trauma.” She went on to explain that she wanted people to read and silently scream these messages in their heads when they came to visit the spa to really help them feel like they are good enough.

    What a beautiful and thoughtful way to express and internalize affirmations!!

    Not only did we go shopping together for all the supplies needed to make this a reality, we got to inaugurate the board as well! What an honor. Here’s to the power of positive messages – you are more than enough!

     

    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 shamailau@wearealight.org.

     

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    Changemakers 365

    by Alight

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