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  • Joe Sims

Happy 4th birthday to us!

Happy 4th Birthday 500 Reasons!!!! A huge thank you to you all - those who have been with us from the start and those who have joined along the way. Between us we have given £105,000 to well over 200 causes all over the world - all thanks to you wonderful people looking out for those who might need a bit of support, spotting those people or organisations who might otherwise slip through the gaps and pointing us in their direction. You are all heroes!!! This week’s nomination comes via Simon Pollard and feels incredibly prescient as we reach the end of LGBTQ+ history month here in the UK. A time when the LGBTQ+ community and the progress we have made towards equal rights is celebrated. Sadly, there is still a long way to go especially in parts of the world where same-sex conduct is still a criminal act and homophobia and transphobia are rife leaving members of this community fearing for their lives and often with no-one to turn to. Thank you Simon for pointing us in the direction of this shelter which is at risk of closing so that we can help provide a refuge for those who need it. Here is Simon’s nomination: Hi all I hope you’re safe and well. Thanks again for the continued wonderful work you’re doing - I feel so privileged to be a part of this fantastic organisation and love seeing the causes we’re supporting each week, as heartbreaking as they all are. I wanted to nominate ‘Key Populations Uganda’ who fund LGBTQ+ shelters in Uganda. I’ve nominated a similar cause in the past, on the back of being sent an email from All Out, a charity that I support. Here’s the text from the e-mail: My name is Abdel and I'm a 22-year-old transgender woman from Uganda. Two years ago, I was forced to leave my parents' home after being constantly insulted, threatened, and humiliated because I'm trans. But things only got worse for me when the pandemic struck. Like many LGBT+ people in Uganda, I lost my job when the lockdowns forced my salon to close. Suddenly, I was out on the streets, completely alone and helpless. Thankfully, I heard about an LGBT+ shelter run by a local group called Key Populations Uganda. I was able to find a place to stay, food to eat, and – finally – a safe place to be myself. I shudder when I imagine what would have happened if I hadn't found them. But there are so many other LGBT+ people losing their jobs and being forced into homelessness as pandemic lockdowns continue to disrupt our lives across the country. The shelter just doesn't have enough funds to stay open as more and more LGBT+ people here find themselves without homes. That's why Key Populations Uganda is teaming up with All Out to keep the shelter open. Your donation will help this shelter and others like it in Uganda pay for rent, food, medication, and beddings. Key Populations will also use the funds to set up two economic empowerment projects: poultry farming and a beauty salon. People who lost their jobs will be trained to work on these projects to help them get back on their feet. This year has already been tough for LGBT+ people in Uganda. Uganda criminalises same-sex conduct, with up to a life sentence punishment. And we've seen increased violence against our communities since the recent Presidential election. Politicians used the LGBT+ community as a scapegoat, fueling homophobia and transphobia in order to gain support. Now more than ever, we need safe spaces for LGBT+ people. Our communities are landing on the sharp end of the pandemic, too often ignored or forgotten about. This shelter saved my life. With your support, it can make a difference in the lives of other LGBT+ people in Uganda. I completely understand if you can’t support them at this time - I’m sure there are so many urgent nominations. I just wanted to bring it to your attention. Thanks again, Simon
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