KOCHI: Kalki Subramaniam says she is one of those lucky people who was accepted by her family despite being a transgender. Today, she is a painter, actor, writer, activist, orator and the founder of Sahodari Foundation working for the welfare of the transgender community since 2007.
Her latest work ‘Wall of kindness’ aimed at wiping out gender prejudice has generated a lot of praise. As part of her project, the activist along with five other members of Sahodari Foundation and a few differently-abled persons are giving a facelift to less fortunate schools in Kerala. In Novemeber last year, they gave a facelift to TV Puram Government School in Vaikkom where the team decorated the school walls with murals and paintings. Recently, Kalki and the team visited Gudalur to renovate two tribal schools of Kurumba people, one in Kodasanakolly, and the other one in Kudamoola. Tribal youth joined hands with them to make it a success.
According to her, the project is the transgender community’s contribution for the poor children and tribal people. Next, they plan to visit Sathyamangalam, near Anthiyur in Tamil Nadu, where they will paint a tribal school.Kalki says that one of the most beautiful things about this project is that it gives them a wholesome experience. “Usually the transgender community is stereotyped and perceived as the ‘other’. By contributing to this project, the participants get a sense of accomplishment. They have a deep sense of satisfaction, and are appreciated and encouraged by everyone”, she added.
Now, Sahodari Foundation is inviting University students to join the Wall of Kindness. Some international artists (art students from universities abroad) have expressed their interest in joining Kalki’s project. The project launched in TV Puram was sponsored by Shyam, Kalki’s journalist friend from Kerala. “Getting the necessary funds have always been a challenge for Sahodari Foundation. We are self-funded.
The donation comes from friends and well-wishers. Sometimes there is no fund at all. But we do our work with passion”, said Kalki.Shyamala, aged 23, who is a participant of this project says, “ I am so touched by the love and respect the children and teachers showed. I completely forgot my sad life in Chennai. This is the first time I’m doing a work that is worthy, because I’m not doing this for myself, but for other people who need help and support. Wall of kindness brought me huge happiness.”
Sahodari Foundation also conducts exhibition of paintings drawn by transgender artists and the event is called ‘Transheart’. “In Transheart, I got trained in painting and drawing. I made many artworks and sold them. Some of my artworks are hanging on the walls of universities and other organization in Tamil Nadu. So painting on the wall was not difficult for me. Kalki gave me the designs and I was completely enjoying doing it. I want to be a permanent member of this beautiful project-Wall of kindness. I hope I will have more opportunities. Every time I go to school, meet people and make a change, it brings rich experience,” says Kanjana, a transgender artist. Sahodari Foundation aims to take this project to more schools in India.