Housing Homeless LGBTIQQ in Uganda; 2017 Christmas Gift!
History of LGBTIQQ Shelters in Uganda 2004-2009
The last time a shelter for LGBTIQQ evicted, disowned and expelled for their orientation or acting queer in Uganda was known to operate was between 2004-2009. This was when Most At Risk Populations' Society In Uganda (MARPS IN UGANDA) run an apartment at Bukesa (within Kampala Capital City Authority), which was let out at a three months single renewable shelter support. This project got so overwhelmed by need but at the same time was targeted it had to close down at a time when the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was being promulgated. By 2009, it had housed 178 persons. 8 were lesbians aged 17 years to 29 years; 70 were Transgender persons aged 16 years-24 years; 50 were identifying as gay aged 18 years-55 years; 50 were identifying as Bisexual, Queer, Questioning and Non-conforming/non-binary. It cost us Uganda shillings 21,500,000 to run the facility between 2004-2009. An addition resource center was opened up in Kawaala (a suburb of Kampala Capital City Authority) where we had the first LGBTIQQ Clinic with three medical doctors who volunteered time and expertise to care for LGBTIQQ persons in Uganda. This facility was opened up in 2008-2011 and it had the first Gender-Neutral Bathrooms in Uganda! It cost us Uganda shillings 48,000,000 plus some change to run the facility for four years. This money was paid from salaries, revenue from 2 video shacks, 5 Boda, a mushroom growing project and revenue from 3 quick foods/ kicommando stalls in Nakulabye and Wandegeya.
New shelter Officially Opens:
Let's Walk Uganda is now the only Ugandan LGBTIQQ-friendly organization that has provided shelter to homeless LGBTIQQ since 2016. They do this in a humane, respectful, non-disparaging way. They encourage members to respect the space and before the members are allowed in they have to be inducted in the regulations they have to follow if they are to stay for a temporary period.
Let's Walk Uganda Has the Only Functioning LGBTIQQ Shelter in Uganda:
People who are evicted from their homes always reach out to us. Most of the cases are young people of age 25 years and below. Our organisational standard operating procedure is to first establish facts behind the eviction to ensure that its true he or she has been evicted and under what circumstances.
If the person is below 18 years we seek advise from our legal friends and in most cases we try to reunite them with family. The beneficiaries sign an agreement, we take them through counselling and advise them on how best to to stay alongside fellow members. We also make report on each person in which we establish if the person has any illnesses so as to know how best to help him or her.
Beneficiaries stay with us temporarily and in the process we try to help these people acquire some skills through our programs of training lgbt youth. We devised a plan to place beneficiaries in an income generating activity programme as a way of putting them on the path to financial independence.
Currently, we provide beddings, food and indoor recreation. We work with partner organizations to provide health and legal services if needed.
Please tell us about yourself so that our readers get to know about you. Please begin with your names:
Why did you come up with this organization?
We came up with the organization to address the need for an LGBTIQQ Homeless Shelter. LGBTIQQ members suffer with issues of unemployment, homelessness and hardships to reach friendly health services. We saw a gap which we felt should be bridged. Yes all these issues still stand out in our LGBTIQQ community but Let's walk Uganda (LWU) is trying its best to curb a few here and there. We believe with time our future will be more brighter.
What are the activities your organization engages in?
Let's walk Uganda (LWU) does the following:
a. Economic empowerment, this is done through training of LGBTIQQ members with skills like catering, hair dressing, craft-making and computer skills. We look at a future where most if not all members can sustain themselves financially and in position to afford the basic needs.
b. Health advocacy, we do this with different organizations and health providers like MARPI among others who provide friendly services. We also carry out health dialogues and VCT among the community members.
c. Human right advocacy, as let's walk Uganda we believe greatly in human rights and therefore work with several organizations with similar agenda, to provide legal services to community members for free.
d. Provide shelter to homeless members and ensure that we provide them with skills to help them stand on their own.
How many beneficiaries do you serve?
So far our organization serves almost 100 LGBTI members in various parts of the country. We have 8members so far at our safe home project. 6 are attached to a skills training project and hope to increase the number if we can be supported financially.
Which area do you serve?
We apparently working mostly in Kampala , Wakiso, Mukono and Buikwe but hope to expand our services to other parts of the country given the fact that we have members in most areas of the country like Jjinja , Mbarara , Masaka and others.
What is your HIV Prevention plan?
Our HIV prevention plan is that we wish to curb HIV spread among the homeless LGBTIQQ members. These ones are the most vulnerable, this is because, when members become homeless they become restless looking for money here and there running into acts of selling their bodies for money. at the end acquiring Hid. So our Hiv prevention plan runs in that direction. We shall work with MARPS in Uganda to help us align our HIV plan with the expectation of quality HIV Prevention for the LGBTIQQ Community in Uganda.
|We maintain a clean place|
|We are so happy|
|This is our place, we are the only ones in Uganda running this kind of facility!|