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African Rainbow Family

Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTIQ) People of African Heritage including Refugees and wider Black and Asian Minority Ethnic Groups

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Health

MY TAKE ON THE NEW ASYLUM ASPEN CARD DEBACULE

An Aspen Card, as described by Privacy International  “is a debit payment card given to UK asylum seekers [people seeking asylum] by the Home Office. The Aspen Card provides basic subsistence support, but purchases on the card are closely monitored by the Home Office, making it an insidious surveillance tool.”

I believe that changes should not be made if there is going to be major failures. I liken the changes made to the Aspen card by the Home Office to the COVID-19 vaccine. Trials are made but the vaccine is not used immediately until there is 99% confidence in its success rate. With the Home Office Aspen cards, the opposite is the case.

On 21 May 2021, the Home Office basically introduced the change from one Aspen card provider, Sodexo to another, Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) and did not trial it to see how effective it would be. Instead, PFS issued cards en mass to people seeking asylum. This seemed like a trial and is failing in all ramifications.

I would like to reiterate that most people seeking asylum in the United Kingdom are given £39.63 a week as subsistence and also not allowed to work till their case is determined. This could take years. The £39 a week subsistence is not enough to cover basic needs. Now most people seeking asylum have not received the new Aspen cards. Where some have received them, there is no money in them. Some of these cards are being sent to wrong addresses or recipients.

This is absurd because this has been going on for weeks now and individuals/families are having to go without food or rely on food banks. More details can be found in the Guarding news:“Thousands of asylum seekers go hungry after cash card problems”

Charities such as African Rainbow Family and other organisations are being overburdened with this issue. These Charities are speaking out but as usual, just like the demands to increase the support, this demand is being kept in a waiting list or queue with the rest of our demands.

I call this inhumane because we should call a spade a spade. I am calling for the Home Office to look into this immediately!

You can make a donation towards food parcels for people seeking asylum here.

A big thank you to African Rainbow Family and other organisations that are supporting people seeking asylum with food parcels. I do urge people to support by raising their voices, donating and so on.

You can make a donation towards food parcels for people seeking asylum here.

End

BY NESSAKEM NWOSU – TRUSTEE, AFRICAN RAINBOW FAMILY.

Join our Trustee Board!

We are recruiting for new Trustees to join our Trustee Board!

African Rainbow Family (ARF) is a small registered charity (registration number 1185902) that support LGBTIQ people of African heritage and the wider Black Asian Minority Ethnic groups. ARF was established in 2014 in the wake of some Commonwealth countries in Africa’s toxic and draconian anti-gay laws which seek to criminalise LGBTIQs for the preference of whom they choose to love. ARF provides practical support for LGBTIQ refugees and people seeking asylum and campaigns for global LGBTIQ equality.

We need experienced members of the public to join our existing Board. We are particularly keen to recruit members who have one or more of the following skills:

  • Experience of managing a growing and dynamic independent organisation
  • Financial management – able to act as our treasurer.
  • Experience of managing press and publicity.
  • Experience in a secretarial role.

 For further details please click here or below for the Trustee’s Advert

To apply, please click here or below for the Application Pack

Closing date: 5pm Wednesday 30th June, 2021.

Need more information? Contact us at:

info@africanrainbowfamily.org

07711285567

Join Our Team!

We are hiring for two positions: Support Services Manager & Funding/Fundraising Officer! Could this be you? Then, we want to hear from you. Details below.

Positions Details

Position 1 title:                    Support Services Manager – Refugee Support

Salary:                                  GBP 25,000 per annum depending on experience.

Position category/type:      Migrant & Refugee Services

Date posted:                        10/05/2021

Application closing date:    04/06/2021

Interview date:                     Week beginning 14/06/2021

Location:                              African Rainbow Family’s (ARF) and Manchester

Contract type:                     Permanent and Full Time One year fixed term with possibility of

extension depending on funding availability

Full Time:                             
37.5 hours per week

Location:                              African Rainbow Family’s (ARF) and Manchester

Migrant Solidarity’s (MiSol) offices are based in The Monastery, Gorton Lane, Manchester. M12 5WF, ARF has meeting centres in Birmingham, Leeds, London and Cardiff which requires monthly travel to each branch. Currently, all ARF’s and MiSol’s Staff and volunteers are working from home due to Covid-19. A mix of working at home and/or the office is likely for the foreseeable future. When face-to-face service delivery resumes, there might be occasional travel outside of Manchester and these meeting centres with plenty of notice.

Package:                             

We offer a wide range of staff benefits, these include:

• 23 days holiday (including Bank Holidays)

• Up to 8% contributory pension

• Flexible working policy – online/remote due to Covid-19

If this is you, click the job application pack below to apply.

Position 2 title:                  Funding & Fundraising Officer

Salary:                                £10,192 actual (£21,840 FTE)

Hours:                                17.5 hours per week (Wednesday to Friday times to be agreed)

Appointment:                    1 year fixed term contract with possibility of extension depending on funding availability

Pension:                              NEST pension scheme

Reporting to:                      ARF Support Services Manager and ARF Trustees

Location:                             Manchester with some travel including to partner meetings

Job Description

Post Summary
We are looking for a Part Time Funding Officer working 17.5 hours a week, to join our small and dynamic team. The post holder will lead on building our grant income from trusts, foundations and relevant pots of funding, using their strong fundraising and communication skills to ensure that our team have the resources they need to make a difference in the lives of LGBT+ refugees and people seeking asylum. You will join a friendly team and working with our Media and Fundraising Volunteer and Support Services Manager.

The core of this role:

  • Work with our team and Media and Fundraising Volunteer to identify funding priorities.
  • Build relationships with new and existing funders.
  • Write and coordinate applications for funds.
  • Ensure grants are managed effectively and reporting to funders is on point.

If this is you, click the job application pack below to apply.

Covid-19 Impacts on LGBTIQ People Seeking Asylum

On 5th October 2020, our own Nadim Uddin, African Rainbow Family‘s member and Media Coordinator delivered a presentation on behalf of African Rainbow Family to the National Emergencies Trust (NET)’s Equity Scrutiny Group (‘ESG’). The presentation was held on Zoom and based on ensuring that the ESG works to ensure swift, fair and equitable disbursal of funds during the Covid-19 crisis from a local perspective.

Nadim presented to the ESG, the impacts of Covid-19 on LGBTIQ people seeking asylum including those that are not LGBTIQ. He presented African Rainbow Family’s emergency and ongoing response to our over 500 members across the United Kingdom. He also suggested what actions should be taken to reach, support all people seeking asylum especially during this pandemic and on the longer term.

Details of the presentation can be found here.

Nadim says:

“The virus does not discriminate, and neither should we.”

The NET said:

“The ESG needs to know the impact of Covid-19 across the country (each nation has a different response), the structural/systemic issues and impacts on communities (each country has different policies, procedures and law), issues for the Covid-19 recovery and, longer-term, what are the likely issues we will need to consider if there is an emergency like a significant flood in Cumbria or Scotland or another bomb attack, like Manchester.”

Nadim co-presented to the ESG with Paul Roberts OBE, Chief Executive Officer of LGBT Consortium.Paul presented from the national perspective. Feedback from the ESG was positive.

A member of African rainbow Family says:

“I don’t demand much, just enough to survive.’’

Consider donating to support our life-saving work with LGBTIQ people seeking asylum.

You can download details of the presentation.

For further information on this or any other subject(s), contact African Rainbow Family here.

End.

8th Oct. 2020.

African Rainbow Family: Submission on Unequal Impact of Covid-19

On 30th April 2020, African Rainbow Family made a Submission To Women and Equalities Committee on Unequal Impact: Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the impact on people with protected characteristics as it affects LGBTIQ people seeking asylum. You can read our recommendations to the Women and Equalities Select Committee here.

The inequalities affecting Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, which our members are part of, have been shockingly and brutally laid bare in the UK with the publication of the study by The Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre into Covid-19 deaths, revealing the pandemic disproportionately impacts BAME communities. Yet the reasons behind this, social inequality, lack of equity and racial discrimination are still overlooked by many. People seeking asylum are not allowed to work, they live on £5.39 a day and have a range of added inequalities of social isolation, lack of housing, finance and access to healthcare. LGBTIQ people seeking asylum are in particularly, hardest hit.

Self isolating, observing the government’s guidelines of stay home, save life and save the NHS in those shared accommodations has been negatively impactful on our members’ mental health and wellbeing given the amount of homophobia they are subjected to on a daily basis. The following was a quote from TH, one of our members:

“I don’t know how I am going to survive this! My other housemates always make homophobic comments at me whenever I pass through the communal areas. They usually say: it is because of these gay people that God is punishing the whole world and causing this unimaginable number of deaths. I wish for these gays to be struck down by lightening.” Says TH, member, African Rainbow Family.

African Rainbow Family takes the health and safety of our members and the population at large very seriously. We encourage our members to keep safe and healthy at home. We urge the Home Office to consider increasing the amount of weekly subsistence for LGBTIQ and non LGBTIQ people seeking asylum urgently during this Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. Some deaths can arise out of hunger and inadvertently counted as due to Covid-19.

Finally, there is need for the government to make a statement to address homophobic attacks upon LGBTIQ people seeking asylum in Home Office shared accommodations to avoid some of them becoming homeless or having suicidal ideation.

You can read our recommendations to the Women and Equalities Select Committee here.

End

Press Release: Coronavirus

COVID-19

African Rainbow Family’s Organisational First Response: Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19)

Ongoing arrangements for the office, meetings and support for members:

As a small Charity we are aware of the need to act to support and protect our members, coordinators, volunteers and staff especially those of us who are or can be ‘vulnerable’ for whatever reason. We hope the following statement clearly explains our response to the current COVID-19 situation and the channels through which we hope to maintain contact with and offer support to all of our members and stakeholders.

All group meetings are suspended for the present, though we are exploring ways to keep contact with each other. The office in the Monastery will be accessed on a daily basis by Jacqui to pick up mail and send emails. Jacqui will still receive emails and phone calls remotely and respond as usual. If an appointment or a conversation is needed please contact her on the mobile number 07711285567. You can do so by giving her a missed call and she’ll call you back or sending a text message on messenger, sms or WhatsApp. 

Current suggestions for social support include:

  • Having an online meeting. We know this would not work for everyone but may be useful for some members.
  • Setting up a buddy scheme with people regularly speaking with each other via phone and other forms of technology. Although we are aware that many members already have social support, we realise that this is not true for all members. 

We have had offers of practical support in the form of:

1. Food and essential shopping to be dropped off at the person’s door at a prearranged time, for members who need to quarantine or maintain isolation to reduce their risk of contracting or and spreading the virus.

2. Lifts to and from unavoidable appointments for people who need them. For instance, if you have an underlying health condition, you may need to reduce your use of public transport but still have to attend medical appointments. Travelling in a car can potentially reduce your risk of contracting the virus.

If any of the following underlying health conditions apply then you are most at risk from the coronavirus:

  • Heart problems that have caused you to see a doctor
  • Lung or breathing problems such as asthma or chronic bronchitis.
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Cancer
  • Any conditions relating to immune system such as Crohn’s disease, Lupus or HIV/AIDS
  • Any blood condition such as anaemia.
  • Reduced mobility
  • Any other serious medical condition not mentioned above.
  • Mental distress or mental health conditions

If you have any of the above but not exhaustive list, then please contact Jacqui on: 07711-285567 so she is aware of the support that would be useful to you.

An alternative number will be shared in the near future for anyone needing to access this support on a regular basis.

For more information, follow this link.

Lastly, all suggestions would be warmly welcomed, so please share ideas, thoughts, concerns, good practice that other groups are adopting, so we can update our actions and approach on an ongoing basis.

Do get in touch if there is anything further that we can do to assist at this challenging time.

END

The Report: Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum

African Rainbow Family
A World Without Prejudice

Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum

On 11th August 2018 in Manchester, African Rainbow Family held our second annual conference, Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum.

The conference attracted delegates from diverse walks of life with speakers whom are  ‘Experts by Experience’ (our members), including speakers from the House of Lords – Baroness Liz Barker, European Parliament – Julie Ward MEP, Manchester City Council – Councillor Bev Craig , No5 Chambers – Barrister S. Chelvan, grassroot organisations such as The Outside Project – Carla Ecola, Safety4Sisters – Sandhya Sharma as well as LGBT Foundation – Sophie. The report from the conference is available here.

‘Experimental’ data released by the Home Office in November 2017 for LGBT+ asylum cases (01/07/15 – 31/03/17) shows that over two third of  3,535 asylum applications made partly as LGBT+ were rejected. 2,379 clear LGBT+ claims were rejected, with only 838 approved (Home Office Asylum claims on the basis of sexual orientation EXPERIMENTAL STATISTICS 2017).

“In view of the immense pressure placed on LGBTIQ people seeking asylum by a way of the high bar sexuality proof policy of the Home Office, people feel desperate to prove their sexuality and or gender identity hence fall prey to sexual predators, abusive relationships, modern day slavery and all sorts of abuse” says Aderonke Apata, LGBTIQ activist and Founder, African Rainbow Family. The full report can be accessed here. You can also DOWNLOAD now.

The conference also enjoyed good will and generosity from various individuals and organisations that sponsored different parts of the event.  Sponsors are The FederationCo-op Digital, Olimpia Burchiellaro, Kirit Patel, Sandhya Sharma and Toby Bakare. We were also ‘supported by the Co-op Foundation and Omidyar Network’, Greater Manchester Unite Social Action Branch, UNISON NW LGBT SELF ORGANISED GROUP and UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group.

African Rainbow Family relies heavily on volunteers in delivering the essential work we do with LGBTIQ people seeking asylum. Should you feel like supporting our work to make practical social change, do consider donating here or contact us through info@africanrainbowfamily.org to discuss different options on how you might like to support our work.

END

Press Release: LGBTIQ refugee conference calls for end to sexual abuse, exploitation of LGBTIQ refugees and high standard of proof sexuality policy

LGBTIQ refugee conference calls for end to sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of LGBTIQ refugees and high standard of proof sexuality policy

  • Conference exposes unreported sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, domestic violence and servitude  in LGBTIQ people seeking asylum community
  • Refugee speakers will tell of their experiences of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and domestic violence. Explore ongoing plight of LGBTIQ people seeking asylum in UK
  • Conference will encourage victims to come forward for their voices to be heard
  • Call for Home Office to drop its high standard of proof sexuality policy

Manchester will host again, the second LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and refugee conference today [11th August], shining the light on the extent of active and subtle sexual and  domestic abuse, sexual exploitation, modern day slavery and trafficking that exists in the LGBTIQ people seeking asylum’s community in the UK. Mostly perpetrated by people who owe them duty of care.

The conference will, following the #METOO movement, feature LGBTIQ refugee speakers telling their personal experiences of abuse, exploring how the hostile environment which seeks to deport as many people as possible in order to meet Home Office’s  set targets, such as in the Windrush Generation; has reinforced a high standard of proof sexuality policy in the Home Office leading to many LGBTIQs being refused asylum and highlighting the plight still faced by LGBTIQ people seeking asylum today.

In many countries, particularly in Africa, homosexuality remains illegal and violent attacks on LGBTIQ people are common. Many are forced to flee, some to the UK, after being publicly ‘outed’.

Gay people seeking asylum coming to the UK face significant barriers. The Home Office culture of disbelief has meant that it refuses to accept that any LGBTIQ seeking asylum are homosexual unless they provide ‘proof of sexuality’. This position is an extremely toxic shift towards high number of deportation following the ruling in 2010 which prohibits the Home Office from deporting LGBTIQ people seeking asylum on the grounds that they could ‘be discreet’ about their sexuality in their home country to avoid harm.

We know that the Home Office has and continues to illegally and forcibly deport many LGBTIQ people seeking asylum through its brutal charter flight methods.

‘Experimental’ data released by the Home Office in November 2017 for LGBT+ asylum cases (01/07/15 – 31/03/17) shows that over two third of  3,535 asylum applications made partly as LGBT+ were rejected.
2,379 clear LGBT+ claims were rejected, with only 838 approved.

The conference is being organised by African Rainbow Family (ARF), a charitable group that supports LGBTIQ people of African heritage and wider BAME in the UK. ARF works with the growing African LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and refugee communities including wider BAME who face harassment, hate crimes and discrimination.
It will see a call on the Home Office to abandon its ‘high standard of proof sexuality policy, which ARF says is demeaning, humiliating, dehumanising, cruel and a driver of the culture of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation in their community.

Speakers will include:

  • Baroness Liz Barker, Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords
  • Barrister S. Chelvan, LGBTIQ No5 Barristers’ Chambers, 2018 Attitude Awards
  • ‘Experts by Experience’ (LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and Refuge)
  • Paul Dillane, Chief Executive of Kaleidoscope Trust
  • Julie Ward, Labour MEP for the North West of England
  • Carla Ecola, Director of The Outside Project, the UK’s first LGBTIQ+ crisis/homeless shelter.
  • Bev Craig, Labour Councillor for Burnage
  • Aderonke Apata LGBTIQ campaigner and founder, African Rainbow Family

Aderonke Apata, Founder of the ARF and a long-term campaigner on LGBTIQ asylum, who is also speaking at the conference, said:

“We are starting a cultural revolution which forms a platform to inspire LGBTIQ people seeking asylum to come forward, tell their experiences of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation and let their voices to be heard in order for us to see consequences in terms of their perpetrators who owe them a duty of care to be brought to justice.

“The Home Office’s high standard of proof policy drives a culture of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, modern day slavery and all forms of emotional, psychological and mental problems in the LGBTIQ people seeking asylum’s community

“I ask that the Home Office drops their high standard of proof in sexuality policy as well as the wider asylum applications.”

/ENDS

Notes to editors:

More information and tickets to the conference: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/unreported-sexual-abuse-exploitation-of-lgbtiqs-seeking-asylum-uk-tickets-48018563817

More information about the African Rainbow Family: https://africanrainbowfamily.org/

For press request, contact: aderonkeapata@africanrainbowfamily.org and                                    info@africanrainbowfamily.org

Homosexuality remains a criminal offence in 72 countries and in 14 is punishable by lengthy imprisonment and in 8, death – including in Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Pakistan.

Our sponsors:
The Federation Co-op Digital, Olimpia Burchiellaro, Kirit Patel, Sandhya Sharma, UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group, we are ‘supported by the Co-op Foundation and Omidyar Network’.

Stonewall Uprising: Rooting For Love

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Press Release, 4th July 2016

On the the 28th June 2016, members of African Rainbow Family, ACT UP LONDON and over 5000 people gathered at the Trafalgar Square in London to celebrate love and commemorate the 47th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and radical LGBTIQ resistance, love and unity! Details of event here. “The event largely regarded as a catalyst for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) liberation movement for civil rights”, It’s astonishing therefore, that consensual same-sex relationships amongst adults are still widely criminalised in about a third of the world’s population. About 75 countries criminalise homosexuality, 53 of these are from the Commonwealth where all of African Rainbow Family members flee from following the wave of homophobia whipped against them.

It was an opportunity for our members to really celebrate Stonewall Uprising which saw lesbian gay bisexual transgender intersex queer and asexual (LGBTIQA+ ) community standing up and shutting down state repression, homophobia, trans misogyny and racism. The legacy, that we all enjoy today. It was an amazing experience to be part of history not to let fall the passion, resistance and bravery of our brothers, sisters, siblings who fought for the rights we enjoy now! They demanded “equality for homosexuals”, “Gay Power” and “Freedom Now”!

African Rainbow Family at the event, demanded that The Prime Minister, David Cameron and his government, The Foreign Office and Department for International Development (DfID) should as a matter of urgency put their words into practice and act thus:

  • Make available Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) nationwide to people who wish to have access to it; as promised by David Cameron.
  • Protect LGBT asylum seekers, grant them sanctuary in the UK and shut down detention centres.
  • Use their influence in engageing with the 40n out of the 53 Commonwealth countries that still criminalise consensual adult same-sex relationships to repeal such laws as the first step in changing cultural attitudes towards LGBT people.
  • Adopt the recommendations of the newly published inquiry report into The UK’s stance on international breaches of LGBT rights by The All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT Rights (APPG LGBT).

We took the message of love, solidarity and struggle and Root For Love in Trafalgar Square. Built a community committed to radical grassroots protests and empowerment for the whole community as all injustices are connected. “No single issue-struggle” – Audre Lorde.

We would like to thank those who donated generously and sponsored our members on this trip to celebrate diversity through song, dance, spoken words and sequins whilst challenging outdated perceptions, xenophobia, healthcare austerity and bigotry!

We continually fight for justice and building a strong contingent to counter LGBT discrimination, austerity HIVphobia, gender based violence, anti-black racism, double standards of political and religious leaders and LGBT xenophobia that still continue to attack our community. You made it possible for us to:

  • Pay tributes to founders of true radical LGBTIQA+ liberation
  • Have a feel of how liberation as LGBTIQ people was made a dream come true!
  • Unite in a joyful protest to send good tides to homophobic, repressive and draconian governments of countries where people are still criminalise for LOVE.
  • Spur our members who come from countries with repressive draconian laws against LGBTIQ people to think of how they could influence change in their different countries and one day achieve their liberation and freedom to be whom they are and equal before the laws of their lands.
  • Raise awareness and retell the story of the historic Stonewall Uprising once again in our communities in the UK.
  • Attract the media, encourage schools to engage in how the freedom of equality we enjoy today in the UK came about.

End.

For enquiries and media interests please contact:

info@africanrainbowfamily.org or www.africanrainbowfamily.org

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