Tamil Nadu's Madurai opened the first-of-its-kind restaurant, Madurai Trans Kitchen, which transgender persons would run. Located near Goripalayam junction, it was inaugurated on Friday, September 17.
The Swasti organisation has funded the establishment in association with Arghyam, Virutti Foundations and Sri Lakshmi Pengal Munnetra Sangam, The Hindu reported.
The social body works towards the upliftment of the individuals and communities belonging to the marginalised section of the society. Their work is spread across 20 districts.
From Catering Service To Opening A Restaurant
For the past few years, the group was involved in a catering service - Nambu Nayaki Amman Catering Service, at Ulaganeri. But the coronavirus pandemic put them in a dry spell.
At that time, they thought of opening up a restaurant and supporting the people to earn a livelihood. With the support of these four organisations, they achieved their dream.
But it wasn't an easy road. Despite having sponsors on board, the team found it challenging to find a place, as people in the city weren't ready to rent out their buildings until they met Arunkumar Menon.
"We ran from pillar to post for four months until we met one Arunkumar Menon, who gave us the building. We are happy as the restaurant is near Government Rajaji Hospital," Jayachitra, an employee of the restaurant told The New Indian Express.
Source Of Encouragement For Community
The Regional Program Manager of Swasti, Priya Babu, is a transgender person herself. Speaking to the media, Babu said the restaurant is an excellent source of encouragement for individuals who are not considered mainstream by society and would help remove the stigma associated with them.
Besides, this would also help the group become self-dependent and gain experience to have numerous opportunities further.
"There is no better way to connect with a human than serving them with tasty food. In that way, it will pave the way for trans people to form connections with the public who are generally hesitant to communicate with us," she told The Hindu.
Headed by T. Jayachitra, the restaurant has more than 12 trans employees working on different shifts. It has kept nominal prices for the food and beverages. Hot water and 100 ml milk to mothers of infants is provided free of cost.
The establishment has the solar power plant as the source of electricity, and the SELCO Foundation finances 80 percent of it. All the kitchen appliances, fans, etc., function using solar power.
"We want to show the society that we are socially responsible too, and there couldn't have been a better way," added Babu.