Review of our activities during the first two years and the projects we are supporting
Community We Want
Community We Want is an LGBT organization in Uganda aimed at wealth creation and economic independence by applying commercial tools and an enterprise based approach. Participants are taught hard skills like pastry baking and event planning, decorating and management, but also soft skills like empowerment, awareness of boundaries and expectations, constructive use of time, commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies and positive self-identity.
Rainbow Heritage Initiative
Rainbow Heritage Initiative (RHI) is a grassroots program in Uganda aimed to assist LGBT refugees who had to flee from conflict and war zones in Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Without documents or the right to seek formal employment, these migrants have no choice but to make a living with informal trading. RHI has created a micro-loan scheme, through which participants can borrow a little bit of money to establish simple trade on local markets. The primary goals are to foster economic self-sufficiency of LGBT refugees and to protect them from violence by the general population.
Coalition For Human Rights Education
Coalition For Human Rights Education (COHRE) is a non-profit organization with the aim to empower LGBT youths in learning, making wiser choices, and beating systemic and policy failures such as criminalization of homosexuals, lack of protection laws, and often practiced school expulsion of LGBT students. COHRE helps participants to develop their personal talents and practical skills (e.g. hair dressing, handcrafts, poetry and composition, graphic design) beyond stigma and discrimination, so that they can become self-reliant and independent.
Pride Uganda is an annual celebration that has been on-going since 2012, growing steadily. For the initiators it’s a difficult balancing act: On one hand organizing an important event that is gaining popularity, on the other trying to ensure safety of its attendees by keeping the event a secret from the general public. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. 2017 for the second time in a row, the event was raided by police. Nevertheless, the organizers weren’t defeated: Pride Uganda 2017 took place a few months later at a private venue.
Queer In Uganda
Trip to Uganda: In September of 2016, Rainbow Support Network president Jakob Keel and photographer Patrick Rohr travelled to Kampala in order to research the situation of LGBT people in such an infamously homophobic society. Networking with local grassroots organizations, they were able to meet individuals who find ways to organize and offer assistance to others under most adverse circumstances. They encountered a lively, courageous and very engaged community, which has to fight a daily battle for things we take for granted here in Switzerland: privacy, education, work and a roof over our head.
Jamaica: Extreme homofobia
Jamaica is a country where homophobic violence is prevalent to an unexpected extent. LGBT people – even ones who are merely suspected – are routinely abused, attacked, hurt and often even killed. Law enforcement turns a blind eye when lynch mobs are targeting LGBT individuals. In a small island nation is it nearly impossible to escape this violence, once a person has become a target. Rainbow Support Network collaborated with a local grassroots organization in order to bring at least some of the most helpless individuals to safety through emigration.