KOCHI: In a first for the state, a group of transgender (TG) persons have come together to start a business with an aim to change the perception of the society about the community. ‘Ruchimudra’, a restaurant which will be run by eight members of the transgender community is a venture that may sound ordinary, but their goal makes it stand apart from the rest.
According to Athidhi Achuth, a member of the group, the initiative is supported by Ernakulam District Panchayat and the Social Justice Department. “You can call it a government venture. It is also being supported by Mudra, an organisation that works for the welfare of the transgender community,” said Athidhi, who is the president of Mudra and a former student of Ernakulam Govt Law college.
The name of the hotel, which shall have a soft opening next week, was coined as a tribute to Mudra. “We got a grant of `10 lakh from the District Panchayat to start the restaurant, of which `3 lakh was used to pay the deposit for the three-storied building we rented. Using the remaining amount and funds contributed by well-wishers, we completed the restaurant,” said Athidhi. “When we set out to begin this venture, more than 30 interested parties showed interest from the community, but as the venture progressed, many dropped out and today it’s just the eight of us,” she said.
Saya Mathew, Ragarenjini, Preethi, Meenakshi, Thara, Pranav, Sanu and Athidhi Achuth looking forward to the launch . “Since the government is funding us, we have to ensure that the venture reaps profits and grows by leaps and bounds. If we fail, those who approach the government after us will face rejection. This has been the case with many projects undertaken for the tribals,” said Athidhi.