THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sajeena, a transgender, dropped out from school 11 years ago while in Class VIII. The reason: social ostracism and lack of acceptance by the family. Now, there is a ray of hope for Sajeena and an estimated 25,000 other transgenders in the state as the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority (KSLMA) is all set to launch literacy and equivalency programmes for them.
According to KSLMA Director P S Sreekala, the aim is not to impose a routine literacy programme on the transgender community but to evolve a comprehensive programme that incorporates creative suggestions from them. As a first step towards this move, KSLMA organised a preliminary discussion on November 8 in the capital. This would be followed by a state-level seminar in Kochi on November 28 in which literacy volunteers and representatives from the transgender community would participate.
After conducting district-level brainstorming sessions from December 1 to 15, a comprehensive survey on transgenders would be conducted. “Besides identifying the educational requirements of transgenders, the survey will also explore their social and developmental needs, which could be put to use by agencies working for their welfare,” Sreekala said.
Classes In February
The literacy and equivalency programmes will begin in February, 2017. Prior to this, district level conferences for transgender people will be organised from January 10 to 25. The registration of beneficiaries will be carried out during the conference.
The transgender community is of the view that apart from literacy, skill development programmes and scholarship should also be introduced for them. “Most of us face severe ostracism from society. The Literacy Mission should partner with the Social Justice Department to set up hostels for us where we can stay and pursue our education in a safe environment,” said Sreekutty, President, Sexual and Gender Minorities Forum, Kerala.