Trouble was all that four desperate Ugandan LGBTI refugees found when they tried to escape from the homophobia and food shortages of Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp. In June, they traveled 1,000 miles to Malawi, where they hoped for relief. Instead they found more hunger and more homophobia.
Now they want to return to Kakuma. Mbazira Moses, executive director of the camp’s LGBTI support group Refugee Flag Kakuma, is trying to raise money to pay for their return trip.
At Kakuma Camp, hundreds of LGBTI refugees are surrounded by tens of thousands of other refugees, many of them from homophobic East African countries.
Timothy Hobbs Kayiwa, the informal leader of the travelers, said that he and two other members of the group had saved 50,000 Kenyan shillings (about $500), which they gave to a truck driver “whom we told to take us far away from East Africa.” He drove the four men through Nairobi to Tanzania. From there, a friend of the driver took them to Lilongwe, Malawi.
They applied to the Malawian government for recognition as refugees, but were denied. They turned to the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which told them to return to Kenya. That will mean round-trip travels of about 2,000 miles and round-trip expenses totaling nearly $1,000, just to get back to where they started.
Malawian officials let them sleep in a bare room for a while, but told them they needed to leave in July. Two of the refugees needed medical care, which left no money for food, Kayiwa said.
“The situation out here is very difficult and way to challenging, just like at Kakuma Refugee Camp,” Kayiwa said. But at Kakuma, “at least they recognise our case.”
“UNHCR and the government of Malawi failed to register us. They have too much homophobia,” he said.
If anything, the homophobia they encountered in Malawi was worse than that in Kenya, Kayiwa said.
Mbazira Moses set a fundraising goal of $450 to get the men back to Kenya. So far, he has collected about $150. Donations can be made in the form of M-Pesa mobile money at +254799266789. For other methods of donation, contact Mbazira Moses at email@example.com.
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- Flooding endangers LGBTI Ugandan refugees in Kenya (May 2018, 76crimes.com)
- Kakuma refugees gain supporters, need more help (December 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Food shortages, violence still plague LGBTI refugees
- LGBTI refugees in Kenya: Food cutback, new security plan (October 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Kenya: LGBTI refugees trek for protection; funds needed (September 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Desperate LGBT refugees seek a way out, though it’s ‘suicidal’ (September 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Ugandan trans woman flees to Kenya, finds ‘complete hell’(June 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Prison for 17 protesting Ugandan refugees in Kenya (May 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Pictures of Police Using Force on LGBTI Refugees in Kenya outside UNHCR gates (May 2017, O-blog-dee blog)
- Kenya arrests LGBTI refugees, sends them into danger (May 2017, 76crimes.com)
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- The lonely life of an LGBT Ugandan refugee in Kenya (May 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Trans man Prince fled Uganda to save his life (March 2017, 76crimes.com)
- I escaped death in Uganda. Now I’m a sex worker in Kenya (March 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Final flights to U.S.? Needy LGBTI refugees seek safety (February 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Kenya: I’m homeless because of Trump’s refugee order (February 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Scarred in Uganda, LGBT refugee is about to reach safety in U.S. (January 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Out of Kampala’s frying pan, into Nairobi’s fire (September 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Ugandan Refugees and Asylum Seekers Start Self Help Project to Make Ends Meet (September 2015, Kuchu Times)
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