THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When Asma, 36, met State Literacy Mission director P S Sreekala, she could barely contain her excitement. Sreekala was visiting the Karamana Government Boys HSS where the Literacy Mission’s Class X equivalent exam was being held.
Asma was one among the six transgender (TG) candidates enrolled in ‘Samanwaya’, the Literacy Mission’s continuing education programme. Asma had to quit school when she was in Class IX after encountering intense humiliation from fellow students and relatives due to her sexuality. But it was the ostracism from teachers which hit Asma hard.
“I didn’t mind the ridicule in the beginning. When I reached high school, I could understand what was happening. The scorn of my batchmates and relatives was relentless. But when the teachers too started to single me out, I couldn’t take it anymore,” Asma said.
Asma credited Sreekala with the success achieved in enabling transgenders, herself included, to create their own space in the society.
Surya, Sakeena, Apoorva, Niyakuku and Sukanyeah Krishnan were the other TG persons who wrote the exam at Karamana school.
Under the Samanwaya scheme, 25 transgenders are appearing for the Class X equivalent exam which began on Thursday and will conclude on November 28. Kollam with nine candidates accounts for the maximum number of TG persons appearing for the Class X equivalent exam.
Some 145 TG students are studying in Literacy Mission’s equivalent education classes for Class IV, VII, X and Higher Secondary. The Literacy Mission survey found 918 TG persons were interested in pursuing education. Sreekala said all those who evinced interest will be provided with learning facilities in a phased manner.
The mission has also instituted scholarships for TG students. Those attending equivalent classes from IV to X will get 1,000 while those appearing in Higher Secondary classes will get 1,250.