From 3-10 March 2018 in Zagreb, MRI’s UK Project Manager, Moud Goba together with Ivan Grguric of Platypus, Croatia delivered training in supporting LGBTI migrants to 33 youth workers. Participants from Croatia, Belgium, Serbia, Greece, Lebanon, Malta, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania and the UK attended the week-long course.
LGBTI refugees remain among the most vulnerable within refugee and migrant communities. They continue to suffer discrimination and physical and psychological abuse. Often the abusers are other refugees in camps, hostels or government provided accommodation. In addition, they are ostracized by their families and migrant communities from whom non-LGBTI refugees receive advice and information, language assistance, accommodation and economic support. As a result, this exclusion and discrimination causes extreme isolation and poverty of LGBTI refugees. In the UK, MRI provides safe housing, and economic and social inclusion programmes to tackle these problems.
The training course explored the interconnected challenges affecting this marginalised community. Three main issues were tackled:
- safe housing,
- economic independence, and
- social inclusion to support integration.
The diversity of participants and their experiences fostered a rich exchange of ideas, best practices and skills.
Participants became more aware of the specific challenges faced by LGBTI migrants. This course equipped youth workers with skills and knowledge to include support for LGBTI refugees in their work. It also gave them more confidence to do so.
Speaking at the end of the training, one participant said:
“This training has opened my eyes to the difficulties LGBTI asylum seekers face in their journeys. I will disseminate and share the knowledge attained at this training with colleagues. We hope to set up specific support for LGBTI refugees.”
Participants identified possible areas for future projects and collaboration. These plans aim at addressing the needs of this invisible community in several countries. Therefore MRI will continue to share its experience and engage with LGBTI refugee groups internationally.