The attendees of the 2012 St. Lawrence University Kenya Semester Program are partnering with Paza Sauti: The People’s Poetry to raise $25,000USD for the Trans&Queer Solidarity Fund Kenya (TQSFKe). The TQSFKe was started in March 2020 by Makena, Mumbi, Karwitha & Kedolwa in response to increasing and compounding need in the Kenya LGBTQ+ community during COVID 19. In the spirit of mutual aid and community autonomy, these 4 began collecting and redistributing funds to LGBTQ+ Kenyans facing housing crisis, food insecurity, safety concerns and other urgent needs. Moments of universal struggle always impact marginalized/oppressed groups more, and this was the case for LGBTQ+ Kenyans. Due to the increase in need, the TQSFKe currently finds itself without any funds.
Even before COVID19, LGTBQ+ Kenyans faced constant threats to their health and safety. Members of this group regularly experience physical, emotional & economic insecurity as a result of Kenya’s continued insistence on maintaining colonial era laws against LGBTQ+ persons.
This fundraiser was originally conceived by Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa (they/them), a queer/shoga Kenyan writer, movement archivist and cultural organizer currently based between New Orleans and Nairobi. A graduate of Tulane University (2014), Mwende was a participant in the 2012 KSP program.
Mwende discovered the fund through their relationship with Mumbi, one of the fund's founders, and began to do small scale fundraising using their small following on social media. After 3 rounds of online asks and personal fundraising, Mwende was able to raise nearly $1500 for the fund during the summer of 2020. After receiving news that the fund was empty, Mwende began to strategize around ongoing/sustainable support for such a necessary effort. As the founder of Paza Sauti (a Nairobi based art & activism collective) and an attendee of the 2012 KSP trip, the union seemed natural.
After reaching out to Taylor McCabe (she/her), another 2012 KSP alumni, the two contacted fellow alumni of the 2012 KSProgram and this fundraiser was born.
If you are interested in hearing from the founders of the fund & this fundraiser, please email PazaSautiKenya@gmail.com for information on an open zoom call where organizers will speak to us more about their work and the impact of the fund.