LGBTQI people are an extremely vulnerable refugee minority. They face inequality; violence, torture, rape and execution—because of who they are; how they look and who they love.
What other refugee group faces honor killings by their own families?
What other refugee group is harassed, beaten, raped and sometimes murdered by their own fellow inmates and countrymen in a refugee camp?
The trauma refugees experience before, during and after fleeing their home countries is hard to comprehend for those of us who have always lived in relative safety.
In about 70 countries same-sex relations are criminalized. LGBTQI people are imprisoned. Many do not arrest or prosecute the murderers of LGBTQI people…..especially if the murders are carried out by family members protecting the “honor” of the family. They often turn a blind eye to religious extremists and militias who hunt and murder in the name of “God.” In six countries it is punishable by death. Sometimes public executions happen.
I am eternally grateful to SCM Medical Missions and Rita Zawaideh for partnering with me in helping so many! Since 2010 I have learned a lot from Rita and her vast network of international contacts. We have worked closely together in helping many refugees find places to hide when their lives have been threatened as well as getting them survival money, advice, and emotional support while in active migration. We work closely together to help these people through the ups and downs of the many years it takes to resettle them in a more welcoming country. Once resettled, we help and guide them to build happy and successful new lives.
We prioritize helping LGBTQI, Female Gender and Human Rights Activists and their families who are actively being hunted by repressive regimes. We are helping many who are currently in hiding, in active migration or have been resettled. Many would not have survived without the hard and smart work of Rita and SCM. We hope once they are resettled, they will inspire the generation left behind and help the newest arrivals.
During the time I have been working closely with SCM, I have witnessed them getting medical and basic living and survival supplies and professionals to people living through the devastation of war, poverty, and natural disasters in many countries. SCM got medical and living supplies to people living near the front lines during the Syrian civil war and had people working in the refugee camps in Jordan and Greece. They ran an orphanage in a cave. Recently, they opened a medical/ dental clinic in Lebanon. They have been sending supplies to help to victims of the February 2023 Earthquake in Syria and Turkey.
Meanwhile, back in Seattle; SCM has been helping hundreds of refugees mostly from Syria and Afghanistan begin their new lives.
To the refugee community I helped resettle to Seattle… Rita is “Mom.” She has the biggest heart of anyone I know!
Thank you SCM and Rita!
Dr. Michael Failla