Seven trans Ugandan refugees are raising money with the help of an Australian ally to ensure they can keep making art to support themselves.

The group, currently living in Kenya as they await processing of their asylum claims, have lost their UNHCR support and have been selling beadwork to survive.

Charles Asiimwe Itwara fled Uganda—where homosexuality is punishable with jail time—due to persecution, only to find the Kakuma Refugee Camp was also unsafe.

“Unfortunately, with thousands of other desperate LGBTI refugees, this camp is a very unsafe place for LGBTI refugees,” said Itwara.

“I lived there in the past but had to move out after I was attacked.”

Itwara said that UNHCR, short of funding, is only able to support refugees in the camp, leaving Itwara and others to support themselves in Nairobi.

The group of refugees have been making and selling beadwork to help them get by, but they need money for more materials to continue working.

While most crowdfunding platforms do not include Kenya in their supported countries, New South Wales-based Liz Lang is helping the group by administering a campaign to raise the money.

Lang said the refugees have been working hard making and selling beadwork to support themselves.

“I know it’s been a bit rough [financially],” she told the Star Observer.

“It really is great beadwork though. I’m hoping it helps until they get their asylum claims processed.”

Itwara said that the beadwork project is helping people who can’t find other work because of transphobia.

“So right now we ask help from any well wisher who can support our project to grow strong… to even help our fellow [trans people] who can’t go to seek jobs from the community because of discrimination and superstition,” said Itwara.

Lang said that people wanting to support LGBTI refugees can also consider donating to Canadian charity Rainbow Railroad, who work in regions all over the world, including Chechnya.

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