In a first, transgenders to set up grocery shop in Madurai

Grocery shops are ubiquitous in our state but this one that would be set up in Madurai shortly is an initiative of a group of five transgenders.
In a first, transgenders to set up grocery shop in Madurai
Transgenders along with representatives from a trade union at Madurai, on Wednesday

Chennai

The group of five - Bharathi Kannamma, Brinda, Babilona, Sudha and Swetha - have come forward to open a grocery shop with the help of a traders’ union at Madurai. They have requested the people to extend their cooperation to their initiative. They have invited the Madurai Collector, K Veera Raghav Rao, to inaugurate the shop.
Bharathi Kannamma said that generally the transgenders are not given employment even as domestic workers and even though they complete degrees they do not get jobs because of their gender. Hence, they are forced into begging and prostitution.
Self-employment opportunities are also minimal for the transgenders as banks do not provide them loans. When capital for investment becomes a major issue the option of self-employment becomes bleak.
Hence, they had approached Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaipu and its District President, K Rajapandiyan, who had agreed to help their community. He had provided them capital and space to run the shop, said Bharathi Kannamma.
Another transgender Babilona said, “The shop is a small step forward to improve the livelihood of transgenders. By seeing our efforts more number of transgenders would come forward to join them and take to business activities.” Babilona said that she is confident that their efforts would change the preconceived notion of people about transgenders and help shape their community in future. People should help them by getting monthly groceries from their shop, requested Babilona.
Rajapandiyan said that Bharathi Kannamma is already the women’s wing district secretary of their trade organisation and when she sought help to improve the livelihood of transgenders he readily agreed to help them. He had provided them a sum of Rs 50 lakh and place for a shop in his shopping complex.
Even before the shop was inaugurated, the transgenders had shown great promise by approaching hotels and marriage cooks and had obtained orders from them. Groceries will be delivered for free to customers if orders are placed over phone, said Rajapandiyan.

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