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Sexual Minority Rights Projects

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Handmade Jewellery

Our members make high quality, beautifully beaded jewellery. These artworks are a chance for the artists to live with dignity as well as support the Organisation that protects them. Because of Congolese's homophobic laws, they live in hiding and many of them survive by sex work as other employment opportunities are closed to them.

This can be a great opportunity to get them out of the extreme poverty they are in and provide an alternative to sex work which they have had to rely on for survival.  Weka Organisation is itself in economic crises and, unless they get new financial opportunities, it might not be able to maintain its activities.

 

We are looking for some initial investors in the production of these works as well as prestigious, ethical commercial opportunities to sell these items for the fair price they deserve.

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Participatory filming and recorded testimonies

Many of our members feel that it is important for them to tell their personal stories in order to create awareness and compassion for their situation. We will do this through short interviews which give them the opportunity to express themselves and talk about issues important to them. The interviews will be recorded as visual video, audio or in writing, depending on each members' willingness to be exposed.

Participatory filming workshops are another way in which interested members will be able to interact with the public. Participants will learn to use cameras and other equipment to deliver a story they choose and direct themselves. Pilot videos to participatory filming methods and interviews can be found in our YouTube channel.

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Providing emergency accommodation, warm meals and emergency finances

The legal and social marginalization of LGBTQ individuals results in many violations of their liberty and threats to their safety. Because of this, responding to emergency scenarios are a big part of our work and monopolize a large part of our budget.

Emergencies range from urgent operations for assault cases to securing the release of people arrested solely due to their sexual orientation. There is also an ongoing need to provide HIV prevention drugs and durable medical equipment.

The general economic situation of LGBTIQ and Sex Worker is getting tougher and the crisis hits our members even harder. Many of them face growing poverty and even real hunger. We want to start providing one warm meal a day in our office to all our members in need. Our office space also functions as emergency accommodation to our members when they face severe security issues or are unable to provide for themselves for whatever reason.

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Empowering Young LGBTQ Refugees and Sex Workers through Vocational Skills

The goal of Empowering Young LGBTIQ and Sex Workers through Vocational Skills is to contribute to the creation of a safe and sustainable source of income for the most marginalized groups in DRC to satisfy their basic needs of life.

This project offers technical and financial training to those without formal education as well as building the self-confidence necessary to become financially independent and self-sufficient. Participants will learn the basics of income-generating activities and skills.

By exposing young LGBTIQ and sex workers to some basic ideas of cottage industries, e.g. tailoring, beading, beauty Salon and soap making skills, they can be empowered to start their own small-scale income-generating activities. These classes teach all aspect of a business from the core idea to the revenue model. This will enable them to sustain themselves and participate in the local economy.

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Grassroots level awareness campaign for LGBTQ and sex workers rights

There is very little education or discourse around LTBTIQ+ issues or rights in DRC; therefore, there are few opportunities for people to question the common homophobic attitudes.

Long term grassroots campaigns are the best way to reach high numbers of people on a personal level and change their perceptions. We aim to run a series of talks and dialogues focused on four different audiences:

  1. University students - it is important to reach students of law, education, social work, etc. so that they enter their professional lives with a better understanding of these issues, able to make changes from within the systems they are part of.

  2. Parents - the most traumatizing discrimination to LGBTIQs is from their family members. Young parents should learn what sexual minorities are and how to better deal with the possibility of having an LGBTIQ child.

  3. Church leaders - this is the most challenging crowd, as much of the incitement of hatred against LGBTIQ and sex workers can be traced back to churches. However, we know from our experience that some church leaders are open to listening, so they may accept these issues, integrate them into their preaching, and allow LGBTIQs to participate in their services.

  4. United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) - This is the main institution handling refugee issues. Most of the employees are unfamiliar with the LGBTQ and sex workers' main challenges and therefore cannot provide the necessary service for the different situation faced by our members.

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Tailoring

Many of our members are very talented. They produce high quality African clothes and jewelry. Unfortunately they have very little opportunity to sell their products. This new participative photographic project, will allow us to reach new audiences and hopefully markets. We will start publishing the photos and videos in the next days.