Living in a country where human rights are not respected makes it impossible for LGBT youth to enjoy fundamental human rights. Expulsion from School, rejection by family, lack of basic needs, such as meals, medical care, clothing and a permanent home has become normal in their lives. Hundreds of youth struggle to survive but surrounded by homophobic police officers, suffering rejection from their parents, they also have to struggle to stay healthy.
Living on the streets and the constant battle to become successful in life ads to the daily struggle without access to quality education, medical care and family support,
As part of the Usalama shelter, 12 LGBT youth receives medical care in the best hospitals in Dar es Salaam, eat three meals a day, have a home to live. As support, the project staff provides encouragement and counseling to help them deal with the struggles they face in life, even access to skills and training is provided. All with the hope of alleviating poverty and dependence.
Due to the political environment in the country we are now changing from running a shelter which has been targeted by the authorities to home based support, 6 youth have been adopted in families and they are living a happy life. We are also in negotiations with a partner who is willing to help support the adopted youth. The big challenge is finding families that are willing to adopt LGBT youth but also the capacity to recruit more youth in the project.
Sijaona`s Story: "My name is Sijaona was happily living with my family in Morogoro but one day my brother saw me kissing my friend and he rushed and told my father that he saw me kissing. My father called me and asked me if I was gay but I denied because I was afraid of what would be next, then my father told me that if he learns that I`m gay that will be my last day to live, I really got terrified but did not realize what my father had in mind. My father told my brother to secretly follow me everywhere I go after two weeks my brother saw me hugging my friend then he went and told my father again the same story. My father bribed a police officer and told him to lock me in and charge me robbery so that I may die in prison.
Fortunately my mother learned about the my father’s plan, he went to the police station and bribed another police officer and helped me out, then my mother gave me money and told me to go far away from home and begged me not to go back because my life was in danger.
I travelled to Dar es Salaam, three days later I was arrested but this time I was charged with loitering and spent seven days in the police cell. There was not one to bail me out, on the eighth they released and told me to go back home. I could not go back because I knew I was going to die if I went home. I went back on the street met many street boys taught me to smoke and drink, they then asked me to lived with the in a small room where they lived. They told me that the only way to survive was through selling sex (became a sex worker) I joined the group but life has never been good for me I hate going to clubs every evening.
I learned about a shelter went there and asked them to let me stay but they told me, that there is no room because there are many people. I really need a home to live".
We are not attaching any photo because os security reasons,the government has ongoing efforts to subvert LGBTQ individuals and supporters