Sun Rays Group is organizing a fundraising for its LGBT Community. Sun Rays Group's mission is to support and empower young MSM (Men Who Have Sex With Men) in Uganda. Being gay is a crime punishable by up to life in prison or death penalty in this Country. Suspension of public and private transport makes it difficult to reach out to the young MSM individuals in need of our services.
The use of hand sanitizers, hand gloves, and face masks, which are currently lacking at our offices and shelter, is necessary to help us fight COVID-19. Access to protection from the local police in the event of raids by local communities, in the current pandemic based lockdown, is harder. We currently operate a shelter of 12 members with 6 staff.
COVID-19 conteinment measures strictly affected our community:
- The suspension of residential households having more than 5 members forced us to temporarily re-settle the excess shelter members into the individual homes of the staff members as a security precaution to avoid probable police raids. However our staff members are incapacitated to accommodate them with daily basic needs such as food, sanitary materials, etc.
- Inflated food prices immediately affected our food security of breakfast, lunch, and supper at our shelter and offices.
- Need to adopt stronger security protocols by hiring two security guards to protect our shelter from highly probable future shelter raids after one of our sister shelters was raided on homophobic grounds.
- Reliance on individual homes of staff members to temporarily accommodate the excess shelter members in order not to exceed the presidential directive on gatherings of more than 5 members in residential homes.
- Purchase of 1 motorcycle and 2 bicycles: we seek to use the bicycles for shorter distances and the motorcycle for longer distances for various movements of shelter and office items during the lockdown to maintain smooth conducting of our day to day activities.
- Purchase of face masks, hand gloves, and hand sanitizers: we seek to use the mentioned materials to improve the individual protection mechanisms that will help control the spread of COVID-19 amongst our staff and members we serve.
- Purchase of immunity-boosting foods: we seek to improve our food security situation through purchasing food in bulk that will be enough to support our staff and shelter members during this crisis. Furthemore, we aim to improve our individual immunity systems through unique purchases of fruits with higher pH such as avocado, mangoes, pineapples, and oranges.
- Hiring of security guards: improving our security status amidst the increased security risks of shelters is a priority. Through the hiring of two security guards that would be available for day and night shifts this could be possible. When the police were called for protection, they instead arrested the sixteen Sun Rays Group members at the shelter, transported them to Nsambya Police Barracks, and charged them with the crime of “carnal knowledge against nature.” Against their will, our members were subjected to forced HIV tests (some of which were manipulated to assure HIV+ results), painful anal exams, and photographing.
The direct beneficiaries of the budget will be 12 shelter members and 6 staff members. Food and fruit costs will be budgeted for 12 shelter members and 6 staff members for three months based on the average market prices. We would also be able to cover the costs of rent, beddings, food, utilities, toiletries, and other shelter needs necessary to sustain the operation of the shelter for the following three months.
We have requested our leader -Mayanja Charles- to serve as a lead in our campaign. As a trusted advisor to Sun Rays Group, and someone who has already underwritten one of our programs, he will assure that 100% of donated funds go directly to Sun Rays Group; not one cent (or, in Uganda, not one shilling) will be used to pay any member or anyone else a fee or salary. All funds are strict to be used for the wellbeing of our community members.
We are truly uplifted and inspired by the outpouring of support from people everywhere who are standing up for justice and equality. Thanks to your support, we will be able to continue to “walk the walk”. We thank you for reminding us that we do not stand alone.
Mayanja Charles is a representative of Sun Rays Group in Uganda, his duties include coordinating and performing emergency response actions. Sun Rays Group is no profit organization operating since 2016. Sun Rays Group mission is to support and empower young MSM in Uganda, a Country where being gay is a crime punishable by up to life in prison. “We are a 100% volunteer organization and our funding comes solely from donations received from individuals and other human rights organizations. We are facing an example of how COVID-19 restrictions are being used to violate human rights.” says Mayanja Charles.
To participate in the fundraising direclty contact Mayanja Charles for further instructions at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: Media Diversity Institute