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Transgender women teach underprivileged children

Transgender women teach underprivileged children

By Sehrish Wasif

ISLAMABAD: A group of five transgender women started teaching common English phrases and personal hygiene tips to street children in Bari Imam, a village located on the eastern outskirts of the capital.

The classes commenced last weekend in a small room of Pari Bagh, a shelter home for transgender people, in Bari Imam. Two hour classes are held every Saturday and Sunday at 10am, and the students are mostly flower or newspaper selling children, or beggars.

During the last seven days, around 75 street children, most of whom are girls, aged four to 11 years, have been enrolled free of cost. Shemale Association for Fundamental Rights President Nadeem Kashish told The Express Tribune they were expecting even more students to enroll.

He said this initiative had been taken under a project called, ‘Broad Class—Listen to Learn’ – an interactive radio instruction programme started by FM channel Power99.

“This is the first time transgender people are being considered for a project to teach street children free of cost,” said Kashish, adding that they were mostly only associated with dancing or other objectionable activities like begging, in our society.

He acknowledged the society’s intellectual progress in providing transgender people an opportunity to earn respect in society. “The most positive thing about this is the parents’ acceptance of transgender women teaching their children,” said Kashish.

Kashish expressed disappointment over the many transgender people who had no job opportunities despite being educated. The five transgender women teaching these classes had either completed Matric, FA, or BA, he said.

The students will initially be taught the 100 most common phrases such as, how are you, I am fine, where are you going, what are you doing, what is your name, and where do you live. A proper syllabus will be designed for them later, he said.

Apart from that, the students are given small lectures on personal hygiene such as washing hands before food or after using toilet, combing hair properly, brushing teeth, bathing regularly, and trimming nails. The teachers also conduct character building activities for them.

An FA qualified transgender woman, Hooram said, “Children taking these classes are mostly those who have never been to school mainly due to poverty.”

Their fathers are drug addicts and other family members are either into beggary or vendors, said Hooram.

Among these students is a seven year old polio victim Misam who belongs to a very poor family.

“I always wanted to go to school but my parents couldn’t afford it,” said Misam. Haider, a plumber, enrolled his daughter and two sons at the school.

“These classes are no less than a blessing for poor people like us who can’t afford sending our children to school…We have no issue if transgender people are teaching them. We only want our children to get educated,” he said.

The Express Tribune

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