Society has largely ignored the transgender community. Transgender people have faced everything, from being abandoned as children to being denied education in mainstream schools. As a result, the members have a lack of education and basic work skills.
The Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA) in Chennai took the initiative to train 30 transgenders in basic computer skills, administrative functions, and accounting software such as Tally. Several of them were hired by the Chennai Corporation and the Chennai Metro Rail services.Rev. Fr. Joe Arun, SJ, director, LIBA, says, “If a business school does not make any social impact, it is not a business school. We want our students to become leaders who are not only competent, but also compassionate to those who are on the margins.” The candidates were enrolled for the skilling course through NGOs Sudar and Thozhi that works for the welfare of the transgender community that initiated the three-month-long courses. “During the lockdown, most of us had our families to fall back on, but the transgender community have no support as they live with stigma and discrimination. Knowledge of basic skills will make them employable,” says Savitha, project manager at NGO Thozhi. Most of the participants were school dropouts, living on the streets, begging or working as sex workers. “We started by chalking out a competence mapping to learn what they were and what they aspired to be. We developed a curriculum for computer skills for administrative jobs, Tally for accounting jobs, and communication skills,” says Arun. Besides getting a job, most of them found their voice and self-esteem. “No matter what your orientation is, you have to have the right skills to get any job. The biggest change after doing this course, is me getting my ‘dignity’. Today, I am well equipped to handle the job I have, which is because of my talent and not due to sympathy,” says Sana, a transgender student, who has completed a certificate course in Tally and is appearing for interviews in big corporates. Another student, Rajakumari has gained confidence. “Earlier we had to depend on others to do the technical and digital work, but now we are independent. I have become a different, more confident person,” says Rajakumari, who has secured an admin job in the NGO Thozhi. LIBA plans to develop an MBA programme designed for transgenders, which will add a value to their needs. “They want to get into regular jobs in companies as our full time and part time students and for that they need a proper degree. We plan to work on it in the coming academic year,” says Arun.