Micro Rainbow CIC, an organisation supporting LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers, received a £3,000 grant from the Coronavirus Resilience Fund to support their safehouses for vulnerable residents over the pandemic.
There are 69 countries that still criminalise homosexuality, with some of those countries using the death penalty. Micro Rainbow CIC work with lesbian, gay, transgender, queer and intersex asylum seekers and refugees and support them through social inclusion, employability, and homelessness by providing safehouses. We spoke to Moud Goba, National Manager at Micro Rainbow:
“Most of our beneficiaries come to us because they’re being tortured and harassed in their home country. When they arrive in the UK and seek asylum, they’re placed into accommodation with other refugees who are sometimes from the same country. This leaves them at further risk of abuse from other refugees because of their sexuality or gender identity.
“In some cases they’re at risk of sexual harassment so we find that they abandon their accommodation to find safer accommodation or become homeless. So that’s why we provide our safehouses as a place of refuge, we have safehouses in Birmingham, London and Leeds.”
Micro Rainbow also provide support for their residents. Moud explained:
“Our main focus is social inclusion, LGBTI refugees are living in poverty, and they can be pushed out and ostracised from spaces because they’re gay. Their language barriers prevent them from going to gay bars and so they face extreme isolation on top of dealing with the trauma they faced previously.
“We help them with their mental health, with the support of our volunteers and community members, we take a holistic approach to tackle isolation by providing workshops, including dance and yoga sessions.
“It’s important that we also support their process of moving on from our houses by delivering employability training, CV workshops, interview training and work with them 1-2-1 for 6 months to ensure they don’t fall into homelessness.”
The grant from the Foundation came at a time where Micro Rainbow needed to find other ways to support their residents during several lockdowns, Moud continued:
“One of the things that we noticed when the pandemic started were shops running out of items, which meant our refugees, with their limited amount of money, couldn’t buy basic necessities. On top of this many food banks were shut down so we really did need that extra support.
“We also had to adapt our support workshops to make them virtual, we were able to use some of the funding to set up wi-fi in our safe houses which further helped with their social inclusion.
“With the funding we were able to get fresh food for them which was a huge deal at the time of the pandemic as some of our beneficiaries had multiple health conditions, it made such an impact.
“You take for granted that you can go and buy some meat for £3 or £5 but if you only have £37 to live off for the week to buy your clothes, food, sanitary products, it’s not a lot and so during that time being able to buy that fresh food for the residents, ensuring they’re not falling into food poverty was amazing.”
If you’d like to apply for funding please view our Available Grants here.