We provides relief for impoverished LGBT refugees by providing them with Safe House and Emergency Relief (SHER) fund to cover their food, shelter, clothing and medical expenses.
Turkey is very LGBT-unfriendly and LGBTs living there while their asylum claims are considered face many challenges, including fear for their safety. The Turkish government provides little to no social assistance to the refugees. Work permits are not issued to the refuges and so it is extremely difficult for them to secure employment. Getting any kind of work is also hampered by the language barrier and by Turkish society’s intolerance of LGBT individuals. Consequently, most of the refugees live in poverty, lacking funds to purchase the necessities of life. They also have no money to pay lawyers or other consultants to assist them with preparing and filing their asylum claims with the UNHCR.
The IRQR provides relief for these impoverished refugees by providing them with financial assistance to cover their food, shelter, clothing and medical services. These activities are personally conducted by Arsham Parsi, an Iranian gay who fled to Turkey from Iran because of persecution and was granted asylum in Canada, Mr. Parsi is the founder and Executive Director of the IRQR and its sole employee. He conducts these activities with the benefit of ongoing input by the IRQR Board of Directors and subject to the Board’s continuous oversight.
Approximately every three months Mr. Parsi flies from Canada to Turkey and stays there for approximately two weeks to check on the condition of refugees being assisted by the IRQR, to confirm that they have the bare necessities. He also verifies that funds previously provided by the IRQR to each refugee to buy necessities were in fact used for that purpose.
IRQR developed an application form for refugees to apply for SHER assistance. Many of the questions in the SHER application relate to the beneficiary’s financial situation, with the intent being to identify all of the beneficiary’s financial resources and expenses so that the amount of assistance required from the applicant can be computed. Financial information is required for the 12 months prior to the date of the application.
IRQR awards SHER assistance in four cycles per year, with each award covering expenses for a three-month period. If a recipient requires assistance beyond three months, he/she must apply anew in asubsequent cycle. Applications are reviewed and evaluated by the IRQR’s financial committee pursuant to the its evaluation policy. The financial committee makes its recommendations to the IRQR’s board of directors, which makes the final decision on whom will receive assistance.