Determined to Beat the Odds: Rainbow Mirrors Ventures into Agriculture

Some members of Rainbow Mirrors at their farm
Some members of Rainbow Mirrors at their farm

On 30th May 2016, Kuchu Times published a story  highlighting how an organization that started as a support group for talented LGBTI youth had ventured into wine production.

On Sunday 19th June 2016, we embarked on a long trip to Kakiri, Lumbe village, Busiro North in Wakiso district to follow up on the story; this group of young LGBTI activists has now gone into agriculture to better their lives.

After close to an hour’s drive, we arrived at the farm located in a rather remote area off Hoima road. The founder and Executive Director of Rainbow Mirrors Abdul Jamal commonly known as Hajatti among her peers introduced us to the grand initiative.

Jamal was apportioned a huge piece of land by his parents and decided to use it to the benefit of her fellow transgender women.  Through mobilization, she was able to coordinate other Ugandan transgender women to till the land.

On the farm, they planted groundnuts that they are currently harvesting; they planted beans which are also ready for harvest, scattered matooke stems and piggery. They also plan to start planting grapes on the farm to cut down the costs of raw materials used in their wine making business.

PIGGY Because most members of Rainbow Mirrors spend most of their time in Kampala doing their advocacy work, , they are left with just one day in the week to travel to the farm as a group and work together; they weed, dig, feed the animals and do all the necessary farm work. They have however employed one of the locals to take care of their swine, feed them as well as guard them from robbers.

One of the most interesting initiatives at this farm is the irrigation scheme; he group has used their little resources to hollow out a bore hole that will be used to, through connect pipes, address the problem of water scarcity during the dry seasons.

While talking to Kuchu Times, Jamal said that she wishes to the project into a demonstration site for the Ugandan  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI)  and sex work communities  where skills can be learnt.

Also notable is how the locals freely mingle and interact with these hardworking transgender women- Hajatti is out to her family about her gender identity and they have embraced her as well as welcomed the idea of her fellow transwomen starting the farm.  She now hopes that this will erase the notion that most transwomen in Uganda depend on sex work for survival.

She hopes that with support from the community and other partners, the lives of transgender women in Uganda will be bettered since they will have avenues for income sustainability hence better standards of living.