Johannesburg-based media-advocacy group Iranti is stepping up its efforts to support the LGBTQIA+ community during the Covid-19 crisis.
The organisation has over the past eight years focused on advocating for trans, lesbian and intersex persons in Africa. This has been done through media, research, advocacy and strategic partnerships with governments, UN and African human rights mechanisms.
In a statement, Iranti said that the already existing challenges facing the LGBTQIA+ community in the region have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“Because many in our community form part of the working class and the informal trade in our country, discrimination and a lack of policy inclusion and protection of already existing rights, many are economically excluded,” it explained
“This has been intensified by the Covid-19 outbreak; it is therefore imperative that we have allocated money for relief efforts,” said Iranti.
“This year we have decided to step up our efforts in the community by allocating R300 000 in Covid relief efforts to support the LGBTQIA+ community in our region,” it added.
“It has been incumbent on the organisation to extend the work to relief efforts,” commented Deputy board chair, Robert Hamblin. “That Iranti has done so in the time where Covid-19 has exacerbated the hardship and alienation of many already marginalised queer children and adults alike, speaks to how the organisation’s work has consistently remained committed, not only to advocating for queer rights but also to supporting the people within the work.”
So far, Iranti has supported 80 LGBTQIA+ persons from various community-based organisations, with food vouchers and rental relief, mainly in the North West, Gauteng and Limpopo provinces.
One beneficiary of the relief from Iranti said they’d not been able to work due to the lockdown and that the help they received helped in alleviating the financial pressures from the pandemic. “With our pockets constrained the voucher has helped us in purchasing essential items during this difficult time,” they said.
Iranti has further extended support to partner organisations in Southern and East Africa in need of financial resources that could go towards data costs and office relief costs.
“These past eight years have taken Iranti on all the joys, aches and challenges that come with growth,” said Executive Director of Iranti, Jabu Pereira. “Over these years, Iranti has worked with the most incredible people at staff, board, donor and partnership levels. We continue to be impactful and particularly in this time when we are called upon to lead in ways that extend to humanitarian, mutual aid and care.”
Pereira added: “My wish for Iranti is that we always remain centering our communities who need us the most, that we always remain generous and firm on the changes we desire. I am so grateful to our donors who are woven in to understand the power of resources in creating social change.”