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COVID-19 curtails fundraising efforts for LGBTQ refugees in Vancouver, donations needed

Last Updated Jul 23, 2020 at 2:27 pm PDT

FILE - The 2018 Evening in Damascus fundraiser. (Courtesy Danny Ramadan)

COVID-19 has made fundraising for LGBTQ+ refugees difficult and more help is needed right away, says event organizer

The annual An Evening In Damascus fundraiser helps support queer refugees settling in Canada

Organizer says most of ticket sales used to pay performers for live-streamed event

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Donations are urgently needed to help queer refugees, says a Vancouver activist, explaining COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on many.

The founder of An Evening in Damascus, a fundraiser that helps LGBTQ+ refugees settle in Canada, says the impacts of the pandemic are having a trickle-down effect on fundraising efforts.

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Every year Danny Ramadan hosts the event to raise money for Rainbow Refugee. An Evening in Damascus usually brings in revenue through ticket sales, but this year, most of that money is going to have to go to compensating musicians, drag queens and bellydancers who will perform at the live-streamed event.

So Ramadan is making a plea for more donations whether people are planning to attend the event or not.
Ramadan says paying everyone a livable wage was always the intention of the event, which aims to create a community for LGBTQ Arabs in Vancouver.

“When a person arrives from overseas, they go through challenges of finding a home, finding a job, learning the language, integrating into the community — which is all now, much harder to do.”

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But it’s equally as important to raise money for refugees in need both here and abroad.

“And those new arrivals, who are trying their very best to find their way into the community and find their footing, are faced with those unique challenges of not being able to connect with that community in a meaningful way.”

Donations in 2020 will help refugees in urgent need of supplies and support and can be made through Rainbow Refugee.

Ticket sales close at 6 p.m. Thursday.