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  • Writer's pictureKyle Kvamme

ORAM to create economic opportunities for LBTIQ Ukrainian women in Europe thanks to new grant

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

One of the participants of ORAM's Berlin Convening in July 2022. The Convening was a two-day conference for organizations and activists working with queer Ukrainians in Germany's neighboring countries. The topics addressed during the conference played a pivotal role in creating the economic empowerment project.

In response to the ongoing crisis caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, ORAM has been actively supporting LGBTIQ refugees from Ukraine. While we have assisted over 375 individuals, the need for sustained help is critical, especially as the conflict shows no signs of immediate resolution.

Last year, ORAM conducted research to identify the greatest needs of LGBTIQ Ukrainians living across the European Union. The research stemmed from interviews with LGBTIQ Ukrainian refugees. Employment emerged as a major concern during conversations with members of the queer refugee community.

“All our longer-term housing clients have mentioned [the] need for meaningful employment,” Anja Limon, ORAM’s Senior Program Manager, said.

Recently, The Alliance for Gender Equality in Europe (AGEE) awarded ORAM a grant to create stable economic opportunities for lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LBTIQ) women in both Central and Eastern Europe. Of the 365 concept proposals AGEE received, ORAM is one of only 26 organizations to receive this funding opportunity. According to Anja, the AGEE grant is only the second European foundation grant ORAM has received and “is a testimony to our growing presence, work, and credibility in Europe.”

“With this project, we can build on the expertise we have gained through doing economic empowerment work in Kenya for the last four years,” Anja added on the team’s excitement for ORAM to bring ORAM’s economic empowerment programming to Europe for the first time in the organization’s history.

The project will focus on providing LBTIQ women from Ukraine access to essential employment resources. This includes comprehensive training, mentorship programs, and eventual job opportunities in the data and tech industry, a vital step towards economic empowerment. “I am excited to see how various aspects of this project will come together and play an active role in assisting this vulnerable group in accessing economic opportunities,” ORAM’s Ukraine Program Manager, Camille Ogoti, shared.

To implement this crucial project, ORAM recently welcomed Jules Issi, who will manage the day-to-day implementation as ORAM’s Ukraine Project Officer.ORAM consultant Czeslaw Walek is serving as Corporate Liaison to identify LBTIQ-friendly corporations and companies at which to place trained participants.

“I’m looking forward to helping advance economic empowerment for LBTIQ refugees from Ukraine, seeking refuge and settlement in Germany,” Jules shared about his new role at ORAM.

The AGEE grant is a two-year award, so stay tuned for more updates from this important project!

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