Project report: Gender-Vector, Kyrgyzstan

Grantee: Gender-Vector, Kyrgyzstan
Project: “Social Isolation: the route to overcome” – training sessions to support the LGBT community

The main goal of our project, “Social Isolation: the route to overcome”, was to help the LGBT community in Kyrgyzstan overcome the socio-economic vulnerabilities that had emerged as a result of COVID-19. 

The direct beneficiaries of the project were representatives of the LGBT community. The indirect beneficiaries included friendly medical workers, human rights defenders, and employees of partner organisations.  

The project was implemented from July 01 to December 31, 2021. It was made possible thanks to the support of the BEARR grant, for which both our team and the beneficiaries are very grateful. 

With the deterioration of the situation in 2021 due to COVID-19, the LGBT community in Kyrgyzstan began to rapidly plunge into a socio-economic abyss. As a result of social isolation, the already-vulnerable LGBT community were pushed into an even more precarious position. 

Countless LGBT people lost their source of income and, consequently, their rented housing. With the growing economic crisis due to the pandemic, many Kyrgyz organizations where LGBT representatives worked began to significantly reduce their staff. And the first people fired were gay and transgender people. Social isolation in Kyrgyzstan drove LGBT people into a hopeless and depressive state. 

During the quarantine measures, representatives of the LGBT community were constantly at home, and were therefore clearly visible to their surrounding neighbours due to their characteristic appearance, especially transgender people. This led to the categorical rejection of “such neighbours”: the usual harassment of our people which continues to this day. Many LGBT people had to find somewhere else to live.  

Due to the demands of social distancing and the conditions of social isolation, LGBT people faced daily problems, with difficulty accessing community centres or significant events. 

The project activities were structured in such a way as to cover the most important issues and their solutions, which helped the beneficiaries of the project feel safe: 

  1. In close co-operation with the Employment Centre in the city of Kara-Balta and the Chui Region, we provided assistance and support to help LGBT people find jobs. Meetings were held with LGBT representatives of the Employment Centre, where beneficiaries (around 40 participants) received answers to their questions and were recommended real vacancies. Additionally, thanks to the efforts of the volunteers and project staff, we were able to monitor information about work opportunities, including remote work, in periodicals and online media sources. 
  1. The volunteers provided effective assistance in finding rental housing by: searching for safe housing through the media, including the Internet; analysing real estate databases by districts; and negotiating contracts with partner organizations that have shelters for vulnerable groups tolerant to the LGBT community. 
  1. For educational purposes and to support the social adaptation of LGBT people, we held training sessions and discussion platforms with 60 of our beneficiaries. The topics of these sessions were:
    • Human rights – in particular, a consideration of issues related to the illegal dismissal of LGBT people from work and how to legally resist it; a friendly lawyer was involved.  
    • A mini-training on “Violation of one’s own psychological state associated with social isolation and how to resist it”; a friendly psychologist was involved.  
    • A Zoom Q&A session once every two weeks with a lawyer and psychologist, where beneficiaries of our project asked questions related to the current issues facing our community.  
  1. At three discussion platforms, project beneficiaries and specialists shared their own experience in overcoming social exclusion and its consequences. 

At the end of the six–month project, a round table was held with the participation of the project beneficiaries: representatives of the LGBT community; representatives of the Employment Centre and the Social Protection Service; a friendly lawyer and psychologist; and media representatives who covered the implemented project, which was made possible thanks to the BEARR grant. In total, about 200 direct beneficiaries received support from the project.  

As a result of the project:  

  • 80 beneficiaries received jobs, where they still work to this day;  
  • 37 representatives of the community received new specialties and are in demand on the labour market today;  
  • 68 beneficiaries of the project were assisted in finding a new home. 

We have received positive feedback from the project beneficiaries themselves and from indirect beneficiaries. 

Organisation contact details:
Kyrgyz Republic, Kara-Balta, Kovrovshchikov quarter, 14/25 
+996 3133 3 41 72 
+996 3133 3 39 13 

Author contact details:
Sergey Kostenko 
Chairman of the Foundation

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