The Social Justice Department of Kerala is rolling out a new project called 'Sakalyam', to equip transgender people with skills in different sectors, help them find self-employment and earn a livelihood. The Kerala Youth Leadership Academy (KYLA), chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, will implement the programme across the state.
Most transgender persons are separated or estranged from their families due to a lack of acceptance of their gender identity. Alone and trying to make sense of their 'self,' they have no place to go.
According to a survey conducted ahead of the introduction of the transgender policy in the state in 2015, around 51 per cent of transgender persons lived away from their families after their identities were disclosed. With no means to make ends meet, trans people become vulnerable to exploitation by individuals and others and end up in sex work.
Sakalyam aims to provide transgender persons skill training in areas they are interested in so that they can stand on their feet and be weaned away from sex work, The Hindu reported.
Educational Qualifications Not Mandatory
As part of this, transgender persons can enrol for any course as per their preference. Ten transgender persons from each district will be selected for the training. Educational qualifications will not be mandatory for joining the course, and the trainees will be given a stipend for the purchase of study material.
"The department already has many welfare programmes for transgender people, including the Saphalam scheme to help them pursue professional courses. However, the Sakalyam aims to give these people skill training in their interested fields. Many qualified trans people are denied jobs in our society. The programme will solve this problem to a great extent," an official from the social justice department told The New Indian Express.
Over 25 Lakh Sanctioned For The Project
The government has sanctioned ₹25.2 lakh for the project that will be implemented this financial year. Expression of interest from government institutions that provide courses or government agencies imparting vocational training will be invited.
The KYLA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the department, said Karthik Gopal, project officer of KYLA.
"Transgender people can apply online for skill training. The tentative plan is to provide training to 140 persons in Kerala. KYLA has started a comprehensive programme for inclusion called PRISM and Sakalyam will be a part of it. We are planning to reach out to the most deserving people in the community," Gopal said.
He added that the government is also exploring opportunities to collaborate with the industries department. KYLA is focusing on skill training and asserting the rights of the transgender community to work with dignity.
Further, Goyal said the PRISM scheme has taken steps for the welfare of LGBTQ+ and disabled persons.
"We will introduce peer support programmes in various colleges. The programme will create awareness among the college union members, college council, administrative staff etc," he said.