Happy PRIDE Month
-By Bradford Mattin
Hello Valued Donors and Friends of Spectra Project,
Happy Pride Month!
As we celebrate the Pride in who we are and how far the LGBTQ community has come, we must continue to help our brothers and sisters outside the USA, many of whom lack safe housing and resources for daily living as they anxiously await decisions about their refugee and asylum status.
What follows, in this first of our scheduled Quarterly Newsletters, is an update on the many changes and challenges facing the people we support and how Spectra Project is helping.
* As many of you know, Spectra Project partnered last year with Safe Place International to support their safe houses in Istanbul. However, due to the increasingly hostile political environment in Turkey, which resulted in physical danger to both residents and volunteers, Safe Place International concluded that it had to move the center of its operations from Turkey to Greece.* Happily, as of today, all of the residents of the Istanbul safe houses have found secure apartments. Based on past results, where 100% of the inhabitants at the Istanbul safe houses have been successful in getting refugee status and are now living in various countries in Europe, we are hopeful about the prospects of those who are still waiting.
Our energies now turn to Greece and the hundreds of LGBTQ refugees arriving there from the MENA (Middle East North Africa) Region. We are excited to announce we are continuing our partnership with Safe Place International. While the refugee situation is complex in both Turkey and Greece, Greece is an EU country, and Safe Place International has great support with both a Greek attorney and Greek accountant. Safe Place International has, at present, 18 apartments in Greece where its operations are now centered.
* At present, Safe Place International is housing 50 people in Athens, with 10 on the waiting list. Although Safe Place International has more buildings, they are awaiting further funding before welcoming even more residents.
* The immediate goal in Athens is to obtain funds for, among other things a Community Center that would offer services like food, food to take away, a food bank, emergency medicine, education particularly via online learning (Coursera).
YOUR contribution to Spectra Project can make a TANGIBLE DIFFERENCE.
Since it takes asylum-seekers 3-6 months to get funds from UNHCR, and the UNHCR funding then lasts for only 6 months, many asylum seekers resort to survival sex in order to sustain themselves. Safe Place International, in conjunction with Spectra Project, hopes to offer options like its hair salon program to provide asylum seekers with income-producing skills they can use going forward.
Spectra Project Specific Goals:
* Take on direct sponsorship, covering the bills of a of a specified number of refugees, in identified “Spectra Project apartments.”
* Provide metro passes (at 30 euros per month) for a specified number of refugees — the “Spectra Project transit passes.”
* Sponsor an intern (cost TBD) — the “Spectra Project Intern.”
* Sponsor a paid caseworker, skilled in treating PTSD which all refugees have, at approximately 1100 euros per month — the “Spectra Project Caseworker.”
* Many of you associate Spectra Project with our founder, Subhi Nahas. Subhi has decided to step down from his official duties as President of Spectra Project and become our Ambassador At Large. We fully support his decision and celebrate all he has done for Spectra Project, and we look forward to our continued partnership.
* Bradford Mattin has been voted in as the new President and is excited to continue Spectra Projects mission.
We promise to keep you up to date with stories coming from our Safe House in Athens and share the successes that your donations make possible.
Please donate today and immediately help LGBTQ refugees find a safe home and share our Newsletter to spread the word. Thank you for your continued support.