SAFE SPACE PROGRAM
Kenya, South Africa
The rainbow flag flies high above the compound in the Kakuma
Refugee Camp that many LGBTI refugees call home.
Around the globe, persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or intersex continue to face persecution, and many are forced to flee their homes in search of safety. Now in its third year, the CWS Safe Space program encourages faith communities to extend welcome to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions – collectively known as SOGIE – including LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers.
This year, CWS conducted introductory training on SOGIE and its nexus with forced displacement and asylum processes, with more than 750 faith leaders in Kenya and South Africa. Our team produced a short video called I Am Who I Am, in which LGBTI refugees share their experiences in Kenya and their countries of origin and emphasize the importance that faith plays in their lives. This video serves as a training tool in outreach and sensitization on safe and inclusive faith spaces.
By encouraging knowledge and attitude shifts among faith leaders, the CWS Safe Space program is part of a broader effort to create public discourse that is free from homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia. In the words of one Kenyan training participant, “Pastors, our work is to provide spiritual guide, give safe space to every human being and the opportunity to worship God without discrimination, intimidation, isolation or condemnation.
in learning workshops
& civil society in
National policy events
attended by CWS Safe
Space program participants
LGBTI refugees in community-
based protection trainings