India’s 1st transgender school was opened in Kochi; aims to provide decent jobs and dignity

News Bharati English    31-Dec-2016

Kochi, December 31: In a bid to help the transgenders, Sahaj International, India's first transgender school was opened in Kochi on Friday. A residential school for transgender people has been opened in the Indian city of Kochi, to help adults who dropped out of school finish their education.
The school, named Sahaj International, was inaugurated by transgender activist, writer and actor Kalki Subramaniam at Thrikkakara in Kerala’s Ernakulam district. Transgender activist Vijayraja Mallika, who heads the school, said that "The school aims at making transgenders eligible for taking decent jobs and living a dignified life."

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Notably, the school is headed by six transgenders and a woman and has 10 students. The teachers also belong to the transgender community - a measure designed to protect and encourage the pupils. The school is in Kerala, which is the first Indian state to adopt a transgender policy against discrimination. It promotes inclusive education, and offers free gender reassignment surgery at government hospitals.

“Today is an important day, a historical day, historical time… An important day, time we are opening a learning center for transgenders. Nowhere in India has it been initiated so far. That way this will be the pioneer for many other organisations in different states, a model to follow,” Kalki said.

“The most important tool for the underprivileged, discriminated marginalised, oppressed community is education, because education brings light, knowledge, truth and confidence.”

Lauding the organisers, district collector Muhammad Y. Safeerulla said such initiatives will help end discrimination and ensure gender justice. He said the administration will extend all support for the welfare of the transgenders.

Training for soft skills, stitching, organic farming, oration, personality development will be given to students. V S Raveendran, regional director of NIOS, said the alternate learning centre for transgender community will soon be a special accredited institution of NIOS.