Support for LGBTIQ Refugees in Argentina during COVID-19 Pandemic

Thursday, October 15, 2020

by Mariano Ruiz, 2019 HRAP participant currently working with Fundacion AMAL Argentina

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the most urgent needs of LGBTIQ refugees living in Argentina due to preventive and mandatory social isolation applied in our country since March 16th. The LGBTIQ refugees we assist come from countries such as Venezuela, Jamaica and Russia and have been recognized as refugees for reasons of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression as they are nationals of countries where sexual and gender diversity is criminalized. Although the Argentine regulatory framework is very progressive in terms of protection for LGBTIQ people, the fluctuating economic situation pushes many of them to work in unregistered jobs, without protection status or economic security.

As a consequence of preventive and compulsory social isolation and due to the type of jobs performed by all of them, they cannot work, facing difficulties accessing groceries, hygiene supplies and paying rent of places where they live, running the risk of being evicted. The current situation, added to the blows and duels typical of migration, triggers manifestations of a lot of emotional and psychicological pain, which could produce psychosomatic reactions, and even lead to attempts against their own lives.

Through our project we aim to:
  • Provide basic groceries/hygiene supplies: By assembling essential food assistance bags, beneficiaries will recieve a delivery on a weekly basis for three months. The bags include essential hygiene items for the prevention of COVID-19.
  • Housing Assistance: LGBTIQ refugees will receive two instalments of direct economic assistance of 25% of the rent value they pay. This collaboration will help them complete the payment of living spaces, ensuring access to decent housing.
  • Psychological Assistance: Through individual sessions, psychological assistance will be offered to each LGBTIQ refugee who requires it in order to be able to cope with the current situation of confinement and uncertainty, so that this does not present a rupture of their psyche. The psychotherapist will be responsible for accompanying the development of psychic traumas, providing tools in situations of greater emotional impact, stimulating connection with the therapist and other possible networks. The sessions will take place in English in a virtual and individual setting, at the request of the beneficiaries on a weekly basis for 3 months.
  • Assistance in employment access: We will develop 8 virtual workshops where the following topics will be addressed: CV design and assembly (adapted to each refugee), mock interviews and role playing, presentation of the portals and job search engines to help identify current opportunities in the market. We will also carry out training on topics related to entrepreneurship, access to microcredits and social monotax for refugees who have the possibility of creating small businesses.

This project is funded by OutRight International throught their "COVID-19 Global LGBTIQ Emergency Fund."