This is the letter we have been sending out this week to many of our supporters:
December 7, 2019
Dear Friends and Supporters,
It has been over two years since we last updated you on Friends’ Ugandan Safe Transport (FUST). This is because two of our conductors felt they needed to back away from active participation in the project due to stress and personal safety concerns — which is certainly understandable given their longevity and dedication to the project. FUST continued with only one conductor during that time and we didn’t feel an urgent need for active fundraising again until now. The Ugandan government is reviving the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2013 which was repealed in 2014.
The proposed legislation calls for the death penalty for LGBTQ citizens. As a result, many LGBTQ Ugandans are in desperate need to get out of the country, so we are gearing up our fundraising efforts again. Currently, we are in direct contact with the two Ugandan transport allies, both of whom we know personally and have worked with before.
CURRENT STATUS AND REQUEST:
Within the last four months, five members of the LGBTQ community have been murdered. One of our friendly allies was severely beaten three weeks ago and is in the hospital in Nairobi awaiting surgery. We are in urgent need of funds to pay for his surgery and medical expenses as well as to transport passengers to safety that are being held in hiding. There are currently 67 passengers in hiding awaiting transport. Our primary conductor has successfully transported 42 people to the border in the past three days. This is a very risky, remarkable accomplishment.
Our Ugandan friends report that fear and panic within the LGBTQ community is extremely high. We are again asking for your support in this time of urgent need. Thanks to you, our donors, we have raised $190,000 and safely transported 1990 passengers since FUST began in 2014.
As most of you know, FUST is a project initiated by Olympia Friends’ Meeting (Quakers) in April 2014. It has the support of more than 25 Friends’ Monthly and Yearly Meetings, several other faith communities and many individual donors. It is a project conducted by and controlled by Ugandans for Ugandans. Our role is to provide the financial support which allows conductors to do their work. No funds are used for staffing or administration except for postage and mailing supplies. To date, 14 countries have accepted LGBTQ Ugandan refuges. We hope to expand this number.
If you have question or would like to know more, please visit our website which provides background information, FAQs, updates and links to other relevant sites We also invite you to visit our blog at http://friendsugandasafetransport.org/blog/ and read the personal, heartfelt stories of some of the refuges you helped be transported to safety. You may also wish to view a February 2016 local television program, “Bold, Friendly Action to Help LGBTQ Ugandans Flee to Safety,” done by Olympia Fellowship for Reconciliation (FOR). You can watch it on the homepage of our website: http://friendsugandansafetrasport.org.
We are most grateful and appreciative of your support and donations. We hope you will continue to support FUST in these most critical times.
With warm regards and good wishes during this holiday season.
Gabi Clayton and Kathleen O’Shaunessy
Co-mangers, Friends Ugandan Safe Transport Fund
Download this letter in PDF format here.
If you are able to financially support the work of Friends Ugandan Safe Transport Fund, please go to our DONATE page. Thank you!