In a shock announcement, the Gay and Lesbian Network (GLN) in Pietermaritzburg has revealed it is likely to shut down within two months due to lack of funding.
The organisation said in a statement that the NGO sector is facing difficult financial times in South Africa, with many groups closing. The same challenge is now faced by GLN, which only has funds to stay open for two more months.
GLN has submitted over 15 funding proposals and remains hopeful that at least some will come through, but they may be too late. The organisation explained that in the meantime it desperately needs support.
GLN has been running since 2003 and has done pioneering work with primarily young, unemployed and marginalised LGBTI people living in and around KwaZulu-Natal. GLN has reached over 200,000 people through its campaigns, print media, community radio, social media and participation in various structures in order to give LGBTI people a voice.
Over the past 15 years, GLN has offered the community vital programmes and projects, such as counselling, safe spaces, dialogues and workshops, events, legal support during hate crime cases, drama performances in schools and local communities, support for young LGBTIs evicted from their homes due to their sexual orientation and assistance to emerging LGBTI NGOs in rural areas of the province.
It has worked with a wide range of key stakeholders including religious and traditional leaders and healers, government departments, healthcare workers and schools. Many young LGBTIs have volunteered at GLN, developing their self-esteem and pride, and were able to take ownership of their future by going back to school and finding employment.
“It would be a pity if our doors close as LGBTI people across KwaZulu-Natal will continue to face discrimination, experience secondary victimisation at the hands of government service providers, bullying at schools, unresolved hate crimes, suicidal thoughts, low self-esteem and nonacceptance by families and communities,” said Anthony Waldhausen, GLN’s Director.
He appealed for urgent financial support from individuals, companies and government through an online fundraising campaign. The donations will go towards helping the doors stay open for about six months; keep the telephone counselling lines open, fund 10 staff salaries and allow the organisation to provide its services.
“All donations would be greatly appreciated and would make a huge difference to the lives of LGBTI people and save the Gay and Lesbian Network from closing down,” said Waldhausen. To help the organisation, click here.