In a novel move aimed at providing alternative livelihood to transgenders, the Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) has launched a two-month training programme for them.
As many as 26 transgenders of three self-help groups are taking part in the training programme on slipper-making which commenced on Wednesday.
Experts from a reputed shoe manufacturing company of Kolkata will impart training on slipper making as well as marketing, said BeMC Commissioner Chakravarti Singh Rathore.
At least three trainers are engaged to impart training to the participants. "We are providing training to the transgenders under the Odisha Urban Livelihood Mission (OULM). The state government will bear entire cost, he said.
While Rs 1.76-lakh would be spent on training, each participant would be provided Rs 100 per day as stipend money, Rathore said.
Besides, each self-help group would also be provided Rs 50,000 as seed money by the government to undertake the business, he added. "The main objective of the training programme is to make them self-employable and economically empowered," he said.
Sweety Sahu, President of Sakhi, an organisation of transgenders in this south Odisha city, said the programme was a ray of hope for us. "The training will help us to become a self-employed," Sahu said.
In Berhampur, the population of transgender is around 200. Most of them are presently engaged in the traditional practices of dancing at family functions, fairs and festivals and to run the beauty parlours.
The training programme will enable us to lead a dignified life, said Lovely, a transgender.
After getting training, we will try to train other members of the community said Preety, another transgender.
Besides slipper-making training, the civic body has also decided to set up three-storied hostel for transgender in the city. While the ground floor of the hostel will be meant for the different shops, managed by the transgender, the first and second floors will be made dormitories.
Around Rs 2.50-crore would be spent on construction of the hostel, the Commissioner said.