During wars and armed conflicts, LGBTQI people face special challenges. One of these is access to safe housing. Turning to government-run shelters is not always an option, due to the risk of violence, abuse and harassment. Visible targets, such as rainbow families, are especially vulnerable. This is why RFSL supports LGBTQI organisations running shelters in Ukraine.
All photos in this article have been provided by NGO Fulcrum UA, one of RFSL’s partner organisations. Since the full-scale invasion was launched in February, the organisation’s work has completely changed direction. In a short amount of time, they have opened two shelters for LGBTQI persons where the people who’ve fled can receive food, warm water and support.
“We are trying to support internally displaced LGBTQI persons on their way to come back to their normal life”, Fulcrum describes.
The organisation has had to invest a lot of time and energy in getting the shelter fully equipped and running. Among other things, Fulcrum has had to install a sink and buy mattresses. In total, the shelter has received 33 people, who have stayed from one night up to two months, depending on their needs.
Not only have they run the shelter. Fulcrum has also supported 45 individuals they have been in contact with, covering their medical expenses and emergency costs for food and transport.
Thanks to support from RFSL and other donors they have been able to buy and renovate a van, which they have used to transport supplies such as food, medicine and equipment for the shelter. The van can take 2,5 tons, and has already carried at least 15 tonnes of humanitarian supplies.
In the future, Fulcrum wants to continue working with long-term support to internally displaced LGBTQI persons, but they also want to support LGBTQI people who have lost their jobs due to the war. Therefore, Fulcrum wants to be able to offer courses in English, training in IT and career counselling. On top of that, they plan to offer professional counselling and support in finding accommodation.
It is because of our monthly donors and members that RFSL can support LGBTQI organisations in Ukraine and the rest of the world. You can become a member here.