MAREPA is a Non-profit Community-Based Organization that started late 2019 to provide safe housing for LGBTIQ+ refugees and asylum seekers while empowering members of these communities through education, training, and skills for their future.
LGBTIQ+ and TGNC individuals face grave danger throughout East Africa, forcing many to flee their home countries as refugees and asylum seekers. Tragically, this persecuted community has encountered a new kind of violence within Kenyan-based refugee camps from those that are supposed to provide protection, specifically at the Kakuma refugee camp where attacks on LGBTQ+ and TGNC refugees have gained international attention.
Many have been arrested, evicted, harassed, robbed, or beaten. They are left with nothing--no housing or possessions, often no legal documents, and no prospects in Kenya. Desperate, they turn to sex work which is very dangerous for long-term health and safety. They often have no options and no support, which led one of those refugees, Kelly*, to found MAREPA.
MAREPA is a Safe Shelter, a home that provides safe housing, food, internet access, and other resources to people within the LGBTIQ+ community who are also refugees or asylum seekers in Nairobi.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of house members.