My name is Emma Kiyimba. I am 23 years old, proudly Transgender, and I have a brother. l'm a leader of over 289 LGBTI people in Kakuma Refugee Camp. I was born in Uganda, (East Africa) but living in Kakuma Refugee Camp currently after I escaped my country when the church I was ministering in as choir leader tried to kill me when they discovered that l'm queer. It was a tough time in my life because these church members were the only family I had, I and my brother didn’t never met our biological parent. The church picked us from streets of Uganda where our parents dropped us at a very young age. Before the church, we spent years either on the streets or in abusive juvenile institutions where the police put us. After we escaped several times, the Church took us in and taught me a lot about God and being helpful to so many others.
It was very difficult for me to tell the church about me being transgender because church always preached against LGBTI. This was weighing on me and one day I came out to them and what happened next was unbelievable...I don’t want to think about it, but just know I escaped from death. I wish I knew my parents because maybe they would have accepted me the way am I but so sad that I even don’t know how they look like.
I escaped to the next country, Kenya, where l'm Seeking Asylum now. I had no money and I had to walk day and night, but I finally made it to Kenya where I registered with UNHCR Kenya. I thought it will be safe for me being in Kenya under the protection of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, but this was not true, life just continued to be tough for me, UNHCR took me to a Refugee Camp called Kakuma Refugee Camp where I met over 650 LGBTI+ people also seeking asylum. Meeting my colleagues put a smile on my face, but the life I found in the camp was unbearable.
Kakuma Refugee Camp has over 20,000 Refugees from different countries like. Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Congo and South Sudan. The LGBTI are over 650 now. The camp is so homophobic to us that we are discriminated by doctors at the Government Hospitals where we may get free treatments and medication. We often have to go to private clinics where we have to pay a lot of money for treatment. Everyday we are attacked by our straight refugee neighbors and locals who are extremely homophobic and transphobic. Locals call us a curse on their land and they say we are the cause of the drought in this area. Our shelters are set on fire, we are attacked with machetes at night, lesbians are raped, infant refugees are assaulted, and we suffer stonings and beatings. On the night of February 15, 2021, four gay men were set ablaze in their bedding as they slept in the open yard where they have no shelter. Three were rushed to hospital, seriously burned. This came at the end of a weekend of back-to-back attacks, where LGBT+ refugees were surrounded and stoned for several hours two days before the fire attack.
As a queer community, we’ve continued to face violent homophobic and transphobic attacks from fellow refugees and from locals of the land. The worst attack so far took place on June 19, 2020. At least 31 LGBTQ refugees were wounded badly in this massive attack, requiring hospitalization. They sustained injuries that include: deep cuts on their bodies, broken limbs, heavy blood loss, head injuries and more. Our property was either stolen or destroyed by the attackers. We did not get help from those mandated to protect us and our property. We got minimal first aid from a hospital that night and that was it. A couple of days later our injuries got worse. We needed help. We needed to go to hospital for proper care, were were hungry as our food was stolen during the attacks. We are calling on the UNHCR to evacuate us from Kakuma camp, which is clearly not a safe place for LGBTQ refugees. The campaign is on-going. There have been more attacks since June 19, hence, more casualties.
The LGBTQI+ refugees in Kakuma Kenya are currently living in extremely hostile, violent and homophobic conditions. we are being persecuted, beaten, stabbed and cut with machetes, gang raped, and burned alive by homophobic groups of men. We have fled our countries of origin from homophobic persecution, murder, and imprisonment. We’ve literally ran for our lives into the refugee camp seeking asylum. In the camp we’ve found the violent homophobic living conditions more dangerous than the countries we’ve fled from. we are living in substandard inhumane living conditions. we are forced to pay high medical costs from private hospitals to manage diseases and injuries from horrific violent attacks. We are forced to take turns staying up all night standing guard against violent attacks in which we are stoned with rocks, fire bombed, burned alive, beaten, slashed and raped. These are not isolated incidents, this is the reality of our daily life. We receive no counseling services for the trauma we are suffering.
The LGBTQI+ community in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya are in grave danger. Our lives are at risk every second of every day in the refugee camp. We are being tortured and suffering malnutrition. We are lacking medical treatment and are living in extreme poverty. We need immediate evacuation from the camp, we continue to ask for relocation to safe countries. Please contact the UNHCR Kenya and demand immediate evacuation for Queer refugees. Please donate money if you can to help us we are suffering in these inhumane conditions.
While we continue to advocate for our safety, we still need your financial support for our daily needs for as long as we are in this vulnerable situation at the camp. I encourage you to continue giving to us and to implore UNHCR to take the refugees facing these violent homophobic attacks to safety.
I humbly request you to donate to us please, your help can helps us cater for our medical bills, food, first aid materials, and special nutrition for those living with HIV/AIDS, etc. We need this fund to buy enough food because the food given to us by UNHCR every month is not enough to take us through. It's so little that it can only provide for a week at most. Other funds can be used to pay hospital bills in private clinics because the Government free hospitals discriminate against us and we can’t get help there. We have many people at hospital at the moment, however, many more need to see a doctor and some of those on treatment have review appointments coming soon. The need for food and other basic materials for sanitation still stands. There are also children who desperately need special attention. Children needs toys and reading materials. A candy treat every now and then goes a long way to cheer the children and bring a smile to their face. We need blankets. We sleep outside in the cold and having a blanket helps a lot. Our main meal is usually rice/maize meal and beans but we deserve a change every now and then.
Other items this fund will help purchase: firewood, charcoal, stove, condiments, mosquito nets to prevent malaria, clothes, mattress pads, vaccines, masks, hand sanitizer, firewood and matches, toothpaste, toiletries, transportation, solar panels for light, doctors appointments, emergency hospital visits, feminine hygiene products and underwear for the women, panels to build fences for safety, gasoline, showers, mental health services, soap, books and school supplies for the children to create a school, seeds to plant a vegetable garden, scissors for hair trimming, eye glasses, wound care items, prenatal items, baby food and items to care for the children, special food items for diabetics, medicine for HIV+community members, shavers, cooking pans and utensils, and storage containers for water.
When you fund to us then we are assured of a meal every day and a mug of porridge in the evening
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