Search
  • Katie Miller

The Dignity of Housing

Updated: May 4

ORAM’s Partnership with Safebow and Rain Dove By Katie Miller


Rain Dove is a force to be reckoned with. The 29-year-old genderqueer activist who founded Safebow – a grassroots organization partnering with ORAM to resettle LGBTIQ Ukrainians – makes starting a successful nonprofit and organizing thousands of people in a span of a couple of months look easy.


“I posted a few things online to try to raise some funds and some awareness…and I thought, we’ll raise a few thousand dollars,” Rain reflects. Roughly two months later, Safebow has raised almost $150,000 and evacuated thousands of Ukrainians, particularly members of marginalized communities.


Rain is a rare breed of social media influencer who leverages their following of nearly half a million individuals to help those in need, rather than make a profit or gain fame. But they didn’t always have influencer status – their inspiration for Safebow was somewhat personal, too.


“I spent four and a half years of my life homeless,” Rain tells me. “My goal with Safebow is to ensure that any person who gets on a call with us, they know that they’re heading home.”


Rain’s experience with homelessness informed their perspective on the type of aid that displaced Ukrainians deserve – “dignified” aid that is made possible through ORAM’s housing initiative.


“When we evacuate [people] and we’re working with ORAM, people come into a space, a private space with dignity where they can process what’s happening in their life and…they feel human,” Rain tells me. “Safebow is able to find cases very easily because I have a broad network…and ORAM is able to do this incredible work of giving people what I think is the most important asset in their journey…having a place to stay.”


Rain’s words ring true – housing is an especially pressing need for the displaced LGBTIQ community. In a recent survey conducted by Kuja Kuja, one of ORAM’s partner organizations, 48 percent of displaced LBGTIQ Ukrainians expressed a need for housing.

If organizations like ORAM and Safebow meet that need, queer Ukrainians can begin to find security in an environment of utter chaos; they can access job opportunities and essential health services while establishing residency in their new home countries; they can cook meals and eat in peace while checking in on loved ones in danger.


Rain and I are discussing the unique opportunity that ORAM and Safebow have to make a difference. “This is the first time in history that an LGBTIQ individual knows that if they cross over that [Ukrainian] border, they will step into…a place that has voted in favor of their right to exist,” they muse.


Then, out of nowhere, Rain leaps up from their computer. “Please don’t sting me…I’m really, really allergic to bees and I don’t have an epi pen,” they plead as they coddle a bee that has landed on their desk and take it to the window.


The irony of Rain’s small, selfless act sticks with me long after our conversation ends. Rain is the type of person who willingly puts themself in harm’s way – trapping bees, traveling to an active war zone – if there is an opportunity to do good.


With your help, ORAM and Safebow’s partnership has the potential to do a whole lot of good. Our organizations are in this fight for the same reason – it is our queer family who we are helping to flee Ukraine. In Rain’s words, “Every single person…is my family based on the fact that we share a community.”


“We had one person,” Rain says, “who told me, ‘All my life, I never trusted asking people for anything because I felt like people wouldn’t like me because I’m trans…this entire journey has made me realize that a lot more people want me to survive than I had thought, and that’s opened the world for me.’”


Join Safebow and ORAM in helping to ‘open the world’ for our LGBTIQ family by donating today to support our Ukraine response.



Katie Miller is ORAM’s Communications and Development Coordinator. Read more of Katie’s blog posts about ORAM’s work at https://www.oramrefugee.org/blog.

86 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All