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Transgenders to assemble phones February 10, 2009

Posted by nitinkarani in English, Times of India, Transgender.
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From The Times of India:

10 Feb 2009, 0431 hrs IST, M Ramya, TNN

CHENNAI: In a couple of months, Jinda, a transgender, hopes to put down her begging bowl for good and pick up a mobile phone not to make a call but to repair and assemble them.

The Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Board, along with Madras Christian Council of Social Service (MCCSS) and Manpower Awareness Social Service (MASS) Trust, has collaborated with mobile phone companies Nokia, Motorola and Foxconn to find alternative employment for transgenders. About 100 of them will be trained for a month and will then assemble parts for the phone companies. They will be paid based on their work.

Nokia, Motorola and Foxconn have sub-contracted assembling of spare parts to MASS Trust. “We have also tied up with three companies that service water treatment plants and transgenders will be in charge of distributing drinking water. They also use treated water from the plants to grow vegetables, which will be procured by a leading retail chain,” said S Selvakumar, managing director, MASS Trust.

Poet Salma, chairperson of the Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Board, said, “This is a good opportunity for transgenders whose livelihood has for long depended on begging and commercial sex.” MASS Trust has been acting as a facilitating agency to enable people with disabilities and those in rural areas to get jobs. This is the first time transgenders have been included in the plan.

“Transgenders earn an average of Rs 200 a day as alms. They think begging is more convenient than working on a regular basis. There is a need to counsel them and motivate them to raise their standard of living,” says K Gopinath, member, Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Board for the Disabled.

MCCSS conducted a life skills workshop on Saturday. “We noticed that many transgenders who were rehabilitated and got jobs as drivers or computer operators lasted only for a couple of weeks into the job. Many returned to their old ways. They need motivational workshops,” says R Sandhya, programme co-ordinator, innovative programme transgender community, MCCSS.

About 50 transgenders from Perambur, ICF and Nungambakkam attended the programme. Most of them were enthusiastic about working in one place without having to travel too much. Jinda said, “I earn a couple of hundreds a day through collection from shops, but it will be good to have fixed work.”

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