On the 26th of March, Frances Webber, the Vice-chair of the Institute of Race Relations’ Council of Management and a former barrister specialising in immigration, and refugee and human rights law, wrote of the self-isolation required to prevent the spread of COVID-19: “Those without homes or privacy cannot distance or self-isolate; nor can they observe strict hygiene, without access to hot water and soap. For homeless people in night shelters or on the streets, for prisoners and immigration detainees sharing overcrowded cells or rooms, toilets and communal canteens, and for asylum seekers living in destitution there is no escape from the infection.”
Today, I’m in conversation with Moud Goba of Micro Rainbow, the charity working in service of LGBTQ asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. From a culture of disbelief at the Home Office to having to survive on £37 per week, Moud takes us through the many hurdles our LGBTQ siblings encounter when they come to England seeking refuge. Moud discusses her own experience as an asylum seeker, how Micro Rainbow helps combat economic disempowerment, homelessness and isolation, and the work we must all do in looking after the most vulnerable in our society. And a trigger warning: the conversation today includes mentions of both sexual and physical violence. Please listen with care.
Moud Goba is a project manager for Micro Rainbow and one of the founders of UK Black Pride.
The impact of COVID-19 and the attendant lockdowns and isolation is especially difficult for our siblings seeking asylum in the UK. Micro Rainbow has a wish list on Amazon, which allows those who can to send food to Micro Rainbow’s safe houses.