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A rainbow of home: Vancouver volunteers give new home to LGBTI refugees

Special UNHCR pins marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) which is observed on 17 May. ©UNHCR/Susan Hopper

A dedicated group of volunteers and activists committed to LGBTI refugees, provide Andre with a new home in a welcoming community.

Vancouver, Canada

Rainbow Refugee volunteers in Vancouver organize to help bring Andre, a gay refugee living in a camp in East Africa, through a program which allows sponsoring groups to resettle vulnerable refugees identified by UNHCR. After fleeing persecution, violence and harassment at home, LGBTI refugees can often still be at risk in exile. UNHCR identifies vulnerable refugees for resettlement, including LGBTI refugees. Rainbow Refugee, with affiliated groups across Canada, works to assist refugees and persons seeking asylum based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and HIV status. By raising funds to assist LGBTI refugees they are able to support them as they begin their new life in Canada.

“Both my parents were escaping the Vietnam War. The narrative of being a refugee has always been very strong in my family and so I’ve been looking for ways to help other people who have been in similar situations.” – Tribesty Nguyen, Rainbow Refugee volunteer and BVOR sponsor.

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