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Our BBC Radio 4 Appeal is raising money for our Rapid Response Fund, which provides emergency grants to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in immediate crisis. We tell the story of Suphi, who at the age of six, was almost buried alive because his dad, Matofu, is gay.

Suphi's story

Matofu and his son Suphi fled Uganda after Matofu’s relatives discovered he was gay and kidnapped him. They locked him in a room while they argued over whether to kill him or hand him over to the police. Suphi, who was six, stole the key and freed his father.

They fled, taking buses for 1,000 miles to get to the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi. But there was no refuge in the camp. One day, Suphi was drugged and dragged by three men into the camp’s graveyard. Matofu heard Suphi’s scream just before they buried him alive. Miraculously they both managed to flee the camp.

A local Malawian charity then put Matofu in touch with Frontline AIDS’ Rapid Response Fund, which provided money for them to stay in safe house until the authorities in Canada granted them asylum.

Matofu and Suphi’s story has a happy ending but in many countries around the world gay people still face daily horrors. Your support can help to save and change lives.


Our appeal presenter: Simon Callow

Simon Callow is an English actor, musician, writer, and theatre director, and prominent LGBT activist.

Simon Callow standing in front of the BBC studios

Britain in the 1960s and 70s was a very hostile place for a gay man. I learned how to run fast when the insults turned to fists and frequently found myself taking refuge in friends’ houses. I sometimes feared for my physical safety but I rarely feared for my life.Simon Callow

The Rapid Response Fund

Too many LGBT people around the world face discrimination and stigma, making them exceptionally vulnerable to HIV. That’s why the Rapid Response Fund exists. It provides emergency grants to people who are attacked, denied medication and stripped of basic human rights every day.

A specialist team vets applications and transfers money for necessities such as clothes, food and also counselling services via trusted partners in as little as 72 hours. The fund has helped more than 24,000 people across 21 countries – putting food on tables, providing shelter and saving lives.

People the fund has helped


You can listen to the appeal on the BBC Radio 4 Appeal website.

It was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 21 July at 07:54 and 21:25 BST, and Thursday 25 July at 15:25 BST.

How you can help

By donating £50, you can provide two nights of secure shelter for a gay person driven from their home because of their sexual orientation. It’s not a permanent solution, but it can be life-saving, and is a step towards a safer life.