On April 27th, ICL hosted a Lunch & Learn featuring Christopher Nkambwe, a transgender activist and founder of the African Centre for Refugees in Ontario Canada. Christopher sought asylum in 2019 as homosexuality is still considered illegal in Uganda and punishable by jail time. Within just months of arriving in Toronto herself, Christopher had created her charity in order to help other queer refugees in their transition to Canada. In April's interview with journalist Andrea Houston, Christopher reveals how her organization has been doing since she first created it in 2019.
"We've been here for less than two years but we have been able to make it," Christopher says. "People know our existence and we are giving out our services for free. I'm using the funds, the small money that I have made as a cleaner... to serve my community."
Since the charity's beginning, Christopher has been able to amass numerous volunteers and help over 300 queer refugees arriving in Canada. Her centre provides information, resources, and a safe haven for refugees in a foreign, sometimes unwelcoming environment. In November 2020 Christopher's organization received a $10,000 grant from the Community One foundation to continue to serve the LGBTQ+ community in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
"I'm so glad that people are believing in me and we are working to look for other people in the community to serve them at zero cost," she says.
When asked what inspires her to do the selfless work she does, Christopher replies it's very personal. "I'm doing this on a personal basis and I'm doing it out of passion and love."
Christopher's story is truly astounding. Click the video above to watch the full interview.
Check out the African centre for Refugees in Ontario Canada's work here.