BREAKING: His 6 year old son is hospitalised with Malaria and Pneumonia and needs treatment urgently
Ahmed, a courageous LGBTQ+ activist from Uganda, has been through unimaginable horrors. He’s been tortured by the police, ostracized by his own family, and lost his partner to brutal violence. Forced to flee the country, he had no choice but to leave his beloved children behind. Now, we have a chance to not only help Ahmed recover from his physical wounds but also to ensure he can survive and reconnect with his children. With immediate medical assistance and essential living support for the next 6 months, we can make a huge difference in Ahmed’s life. We are his lifeline to safety and reunion with his children. Your contribution can bring hope back into Ahmed’s life.
Episode 1 – When hospital becomes prison
June 2022 – Ahmed is a bisexual Ugandan man, atheist and LGBTQ activist, father of two beautiful children with a contagious smile. After he received threats and violence from the Ugandan military personnel due to his religious and sexual orientations, he had to leave his country to preserve his kids’ safety and his own life.
After almost two years of wandering, further discrimination and violence, Ahmed has now reached a neigbouring country. He has managed to register as an asylum seeker at UNHCR, but he is still waiting for his application to be completed. In the meantime, he is constrained to a hospital floor, unable to pay for the medical bills and the treatments he needs.
A number of violent acts have impaired Ahmed’s health in the past two years, including several beatings, sexual harassment and assault, and gunfire. He was assaulted by the Ugandan authorities, beaten among other prisoners by Tanzanian immigration officers, and shot in his left leg at the border between Uganda and Tanzania.
As a result of the physical violence he has suffered, Ahmed now finds himself on the floor of a hospital with a damaged spine and severe backache, with testicular and abdominal pains, and with an impaired urinary tract that demands the intervention of a specialist. His stay at the hospital is essential for him to recover and to see once again his children.
Ahmed is not able to sustain himself financially anymore. He needs your help to pay for the pending medical bills and for getting a private appointment with an urologist, as the public hospital in which he stays is unable to provide him with the specific care he requires. You can support him in his treatment and recovery, and aid him to go back home safely to his children’s arms.
Nevertheless, he is hopeful about the future. His legs are now sensitive to stimuli such as touch and pain, and the doctors told him that he should be back on his feet in six months. He now only sees two threats to his recovery and to his relocation to somewhere safer: the danger of being discovered by his previous attackers, and the risk of running out of funds.
“I live in fear. I’m afraid of being found here because I already received a message showing that… the people who persecuted, molested and threatened me in Uganda know my whereabouts and are still looking for me.”
On July 10th, Ahmed received the following message from an unknown number on whatsapp: “We understand you are in ….. but we will get you anytime. At least, we’ll cut the meat for the dogs to eat [translated].” The Ugandan mob that first attacked him for his bisexuality more than two years ago has still not quenched its hatred and its thirst for violence. Furthermore, Ahmed is also afraid of being identified as a LGBTI member in his current location, since discrimination against the queer community is widely spread in everyday practices and interactions.
“Even protection officers at UNHCR and government during my asylum interviews informed me that here I will be attacked if people get to know that I’m an LGBTI member.”
“[Interviewer]: If I may ask, what inspires you to find the strength?
“[Ahmed]: The care and support I get from you guys.”
Episode 2 – Who is Ahmed?
August 2022 – Ugandan Ahmed has been persecuted and assailed for his atheism and bisexuality in his country. Now fled to a neighbouring country, he needs your help to afford medical care and find a safe accommodation.
Ahmed and Atheism in Uganda According to Ahmed, atheism is not necessarily disjointed with morals, kindness and respect for others. Rather than being religious and acting in order to please a certain God, he believes in being a sympathetic humanist and acting well for the sake of others. In his words, he believes “putting humans first and simply being good without God.
”Unfortunately, the large majority of the Ugandan population has a different and inflexible opinion. With the percentage of believers amounting to 98%, including a Christian majority and a Muslim minority, the religious law appears untouchable. Pastors and other local religious leaders heavily influence public opinion, and often have the last word in establishing what is right and what is wrong, what is praisable and what is reproachable.
Ahmed had to deal with the implications of such orthodoxy already at a young age. Under the influence of his father, a “skeptical, and a freethinker,” he grew up reading philosophy books and critically questioning the principles of the Islamic doctrine followed by his mother.
When he was ten, he got beaten furiously by a group of believers because he went to prayers without ablution, the ritual washing of the body performed to be clean before addressing Allah. At age twelve, when he refused to attend the five daily prayers, he stirred hatred and unbending grudge in his mother, an ardent believer.
As an adult, Ahmed worked to encourage critical thinking in the youth of his community ,organizing debates among students and other atheists. Again, he paid dearly for diverging from Ugandan fanatic orthodoxy. In 2017, his business was burned down, on the grounds that it was used as a meeting place for non-believers and as a generator of dangerous and immoral ideas.
Hate crimes continued the following years, when his house was burned down first in 2018 and then in 2020.After having been threatened and assailed by the local mob and by the police, Ahmed fled to [….], so not to further endanger the life of his two children. He now needs your support to pay for the hospital bills and to find a safe accommodation.
Episode 3 – The aftermath
October 2022 – by Andrea
“I will overcome. I see great improvement.”
The hope and resilience of Ahmed cannot be broken easily. For the past two months, he has been stuck in a neighbouring country, travelling between his apartment and the hospital, dealing with the consequences that the physical violence he experienced had on his body. “In the last two months I was operated and I lost one of my testicles… Medicine was recommended for a period of six months, but if it fails then I will have to go for another surgery.”
The attacks that he suffered before fleeing damaged his urinary system and made him unable to walk. SUN has managed to pay for a wheelchair that he can use to go outside of his place and to the hospital. He needs to visit the clinic every week, an obligation that costs him much energy – the journey between his place and the hospital being 40 mins long and the only means of transportation being his wheelchair. “The challenge is more on my way back home from the hospital because the hospital is in a valley and I stay uphill.”
Episode 4 – Surgery complications and concerns about his children are making life even more difficult for Ahmed
May 2023 – by Nikki Nuijten – With the help of SUN in October, Ahmed found the money for his surgery. Upon his discharge, a wheelchair was needed to aid in the recovery process. Unfortunately for Ahmed, he had to deal with additional complicated health issues. Few weeks after his surgery, he fell in the bathroom and sustained severe damage to the area where the operation had been done. The result of the fall resorted to internal bleeding. The doctors suggested he needed a new surgery to seize the bleeding. While undergoing treatment, the scar from the operations developed sepsis. This is an inflammatory response of the body to an infection that is so severe that tissues are damaged and organ functions fail. At this moment Ahmed is undergoing treatment for sepsis with a specific medicine. This is possible because of the help of SUN and the money they contributed to Ahmed in a short period of time.
Unfortunately, Ahmed needs another operation that would cost him money. Right now, he is using a urinary catheter, but his specialist recommended a new surgery to fix the artificial urinary sphincter so that he can regain the ability to pass urine on his own.
Besides undergoing these health and financial upheavals, Ahmed is deeply concerned about the well-being of his two children, who are in Uganda. It has already been two and half years since he spoke with his 10-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. Since then, his children have had no idea where their father is, and Ahmed didn’t receive any updates on how his children are doing. ‘’I worry about them every day, and I feel helpless not being able to provide for them or even communicate with them. The situation has been overwhelming for me, and I feel like I have hit a dead end.’’ Ahmed expressed his concern for his children.
For safety reasons, Ahmed can’t get in direct contact with his children. Since being out of Uganda, he has received threats from people and has been worried for his life each day. They also found out, by tracking his phone number, that Ahmed spends a lot of time at a specific place. Ahmed was lucky that SUN received this information from a reliable source. He immediately changed his phone number and avoided those places he was tracked. The only way Ahmed can get in contact with his children is indirectly, with multiple people passing information to each other.
Episode 5 – Ahmed’s medical condition is still not stable, but a solution is near.
25 July 2023 – by Joseph Oduro Recently, Ahmed has encountered a series of hardships, both health-related and financial, that have taken a heavy toll on him ever since he fled his homeland. After his surgery, he developed sepsis in his wounds, causing severe damage to his organs and tissues. The timely assistance and financial support from Secular Underground Network enabled him to undergo treatment and recover from this life-threatening condition.
However, fate has not been kind to Ahmed as he faces yet another diagnosis of a tumor in his scrotum. This distressing situation stems from the brutal injuries he sustained when he was attacked while fleeing his home country. His scrotum suffered severe damage, necessitating another surgery to remove the tumor to prevent further harm to vital organs, which could have fatal consequences. However, the cost of this crucial surgery is beyond Ahmed’s means, making it imperative for us to offer our financial support to help cover the expenses.
In addition to these life-threatening complications, Ahmed’s heart aches for his children, who remain in Uganda. Being separated from them for two and a half years, he yearns to hear news of his 10-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. Regrettably, communication is fraught with danger, as Ahmed’s safety is at risk if his location is revealed. Fear and concern for his children’s well-being weigh heavily on his mind every day, as he remains unable to be in direct contact with them. He seeks any help from compassionate individuals who can provide information about his children’s whereabouts and assure him of their safety. Such assistance would ease the emotional burden he carries while battling his own illness.
A little help from each of us can create a significant impact in Ahmed’s life. Contributing to his surgery fund will not only bring him relief from his medical concerns but also show him that he is not alone in this fight. Additionally, those with any knowledge of his children’s situation can be instrumental in reuniting a loving father with his beloved children, offering comfort during this difficult chapter in his life.
Let us stand together with Ahmed, extending our compassion and support, and give him a chance to overcome these adversities. Your assistance can be a beacon of hope in his life, helping him regain his health and reconnect with his family. Ahmed’s gratitude for your generosity will be immeasurable, and your act of kindness will resonate deeply in his heart.
|In our adoption program we connect sponsors to individual clients. For many of the individuals we helped to escape persecution, a long journey starts to get asylum or a resident permit. Not all the countries they flee to, give support to asylum seekers. In the meantime, they face obstacles to getting paid work and becoming self-supporting. Forming support groups around them to follow helps them with some basic income and some moral support so they get a fair chance to build up a new life. For as much as 5 USD or EURO per month, you can support a client and connect to him or her personally to get regular updates.
Epsiode 6 – A Beacon in the Storm: Ahmed’s Journey Towards Safety
November 2023 – In the unfolding saga of Ahmed’s quest for freedom, episode 6 heralds a beacon of hope amidst the trials that life has relentlessly thrown his way. As he is recovering from a precarious appendix surgery that brought him to the brink of septic shock, a glimmer of promise pierces through the clouds of his adversity. The asylum process, a labyrinthine trial of patience and resolve, is nearing its conclusion, with the UNHCR poised to facilitate his relocation to a sanctuary country upon the issuance of his residence permit.
While Ahmed’s spirit weathers the storm of his health challenges, his heart is buoyed by the love and care his children receive miles away. In Uganda, a compassionate teacher has extended her nurturing hand, becoming a guardian angel to his little ones, ensuring they are sheltered, educated, and loved, as Ahmed fights his battles far from home.
Yet, this journey is far from a solitary fight. The Secular Underground Network, a bastion for freethinkers and a shield against persecution stands ready to rally support for Ahmed. To bridge the distance between a father’s love and his children’s needs, we call upon the community to join hands. We seek 100 sponsors willing to commit to a small monthly donation, or to provide one-time assistance, to keep the flames of hope alive for Ahmed and his family.
For those who hear the call to action, your support can turn the tide in this battle for a life free from fear. Every contribution weaves a stronger safety net for Ahmed, providing not just financial aid, but a message resounding with solidarity and compassion.