CHENNAI: Finally, R Sujatha (30), a transgender, had her dream come true on Friday — the dream of starting a catering business — in the city just like her father, when a nationalised bank sanctioned her `3 lakh as loan under the Unemployed Youth Employment Generation Programme (UYEGP).
Speaking to Express, she said, “I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps by starting a catering business. At the age of six, I started helping my father after my school in his tea-shop. After he died, we could not make ends meet and so we had to close down the shop. But, I always dreamt of starting a catering business” said Sujatha.
Unfortunately, life had something else in store for her. As she was growing, she faced biological changes that made her a transgender. Unable to continue the humiliation in school, she quit her studies after her 10th grade.
A few years later, she also moved out of her house as her mother feared that Sujatha’s elder sister would not get married because of her sister’s gender change.
Yet, not losing hope, she did odd jobs and managed to pursue a diploma in social initiative management in a private centre. Later, she joined an NGO that worked for the welfare of the third gender.
“I drew a salary of `8,000 monthly which was not sufficient to make ends meet. I was also worried that my contract with the NGO was expiring in three months. But thanks to the police department who conducted the job fair, I got a better opportunity and several too, like me,” she says with a smile.
Sujatha is one of the three transgenders who were sanctioned bank loans with the help of the Bharathi Foundation. Five other transgenders received appointment orders for various posts including clerk and sales girl job. “This job fair helped many transgenders in gaining a livelihood,” said Shobana Ramesh, vice-president, Bharathi Foundation.