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#60in60 Kena and Sanchia’s Story

Rainbow Railroad has helped 175 people across borders to safety this year. Kena and Sanchia were among them.

#60in60 Kena and Sanchia’s Story #60in60 Kena and Sanchia’s Story

Life was not easy for sisters Kena and Sanchia. But their mutual support and some help from Rainbow Railroad saw them through.

“This is my sister. This is the person who has seen me through everything. And, I want the best for her – whatever i’ve had that is good, I want her to have it too,” recalled Sanchia.

In Barbados, it wasn’t safe for Kena and Sanchia to be open about their sexualities. After years of hiding, they decided it was time to leave. “When we decided we wanted to come to Canada, it came out of a dark place, to be honest, we were experiencing a lot of bad things,” Sanchia said. “Where I’m from, people like me they are shunned upon and it’s taboo. Considering the family that I came from, and like the religious background of my country, I had to hide a lot and it was one of the most suffocating things I could go through in my life,” Kena said.

In 2021, the sisters worked with Rainbow Railroad to come to Canada. We recently caught up with them to understand their journey to Canada with Rainbow Railroad.

In 2021, Rainbow Railroad has received nearly 5000 requests for help from people around the world facing violence and persecution. Many, like Kena and Sanchia, faced toxic and abusive home environments. Violence in family and domestic spaces committed against LGBTQI+ women remains at epidemic levels around the world. For more information about the particular challenges facing LGBTQI+ women, please view our 2020 Annual Report.

With your help, we’ve moved 175 people facing circumstances similar to Kena and Sanchia to safety this year and helped thousands of others in place by supporting grassroots civil society organizations, providing direct assistance and supporting human rights defenders when state authorities crack down on LGBTQI+ communities. As the year end approaches, we are aiming to assist another 60 people to safety as part of our #60in60 campaign. You can support #60in60 here.