George Reginald Freeman marching in support LGTBQ rights

George Freeman & Onike Shorunkeh-Sawyerr – Helping Ourselves Together (HOT)

Date grant awarded: March 2019

As a proud feminist and human rights defender I am using my expertise to be an authentic voice for policy, behavioural and structural changes for asylum seekers, refugees, undocumented immigrants and other marginalized people in Europe. I am committed to go the extra mile through campaign, dialogue, educating communities and advocacy to reduce discrimination, stereotype, homophobia, trans-phobia and patriarchal norms for the attainment of equal rights, social justice, diversity and inclusion for everyone. I am inspired to contribute towards creating a world without discrimination based on difference.This project is important to me because I have personally faced series of discrimination and challenges as an immigrant in Spain, so I know how difficult the situation can be and how little support is allocated to people with these specific needs.

Pride Equity International will expand operations in France by conducting two days training for twenty asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants on the asylum process including their rights and responsibilities; develop information packs, providing training for two volunteers on how to handle telephone calls, offering quality helpline services to be able to document and record information from African asylum seekers and refugees including LGBTQI people. The training will be done by the Director who has already acquired the knowledge from the previous helpline training in Barcelona with one professional; he will develop all the training materials, Service Desk Guides (SDG), confidentiality policy and presentations. The people trained will be handling the phone calls and replying to the messages and online chats. The helpline is a supportive, non-judgmental and confidential space for African asylum seekers and refugees. The trained helpline specialist in Barcelona and Paris will give direct support to African immigrants. We will embark on sensitization, moral and technical support to African asylum seekers and refugees in Barcelona and Paris with documenting their stories before submission for asylum process; write attestation letters and unbiased report for court proceedings. We will continue our advocacy for policy and structural changes. The project deals with a very specific target demography group of African asylum seekers and immigrants including LGBTQI people which are not covered by other organizations.

The initial TPP grant was a breakthrough, because we were able to provide more assistance to over 250 asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants in Spain, France, Belgium, Germany and other parts of Europe with getting their refugee status recognized. We established the first African Asylum seekers, undocumented immigrants and refugee help desk providing direct support, referral where applicable and accessible advisory services. Through our participatory theater and campaign messages in schools and Universities, we were able to change the mindset of over 200 students who are now agents of change within their communities.

PEI achievement from the TPP seed grant gained traction from Amnesty International, African LGBT Network, UNHCR Madrid, B-Spark Values Led Leadership Academy and other stakeholders who partnered with us by creating access to scholarships, advocacy events, sensitization campaigns and peaceful protest to raise awareness in communities and learning institution was very exception.

We will continue our project in Barcelona and also expand our operations in France by replicating best practices of the Helping Ourselves Together (HOT) project. We will conduct two days training for twenty asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants on the asylum process including their rights and responsibilities; develop information packs, providing training for two volunteers on how to handle telephone calls, offering quality helpline services to be able to document and record information from African asylum seekers and refugees including LGBTQI people.