Sahaj International School is India’s first residential transgender school in Kochi. It was inaugurated by transgender rights activists and artist Kalki Subramaniam on 30th December, 2016.This school is a pioneering initiative to curb the existing taboo in the society surrounding transgenders and to enhance the quality of life for them by providing them quality education.
The students that were enrolled in this school came from diverse backgrounds and were primarily dropouts, including a differently-abled person and a migrant. Sahaj was especially keen on giving a chance to dropout students. The first batch consisted of 10 students, who studied under the open school system. A total of 6 faculty members were recruited from TransIndia Foundation. Transgender rights activists Vijayaraja Mallika, Maya Menon, and Faisal CK acted as catalysts in this process. The curriculum of the school is as per different boards and contains skill development programs in it too. “The aim of the Transgender School is to provide transgenders security, salvation and sustainability,” Mallika said to The Indian Express.
Like any other force acting against the goodwill of the people, they faced problems too. And one of them was acquiring a land for the commencement of the school. Vijayaraja Mallika said that “We must have been turned down by at least 50 building owners.” But in the times of dire need, help was provided by a Christian Organization and the National Open School. Teachers and Social workers also volunteered to hold classes for them.
Sahaj International School is expanding its horizon by asking the Indian government for help and financial support. The school not only embodies a new self-esteem and psyche but also provides the transgenders a respectable grade 10th and 11th equivalent education, with various assessment tools and procedures. This is a bold step taken to celebrate individuality and nuances of the various, often dejected, communities of our society.
This article was originally published in The Optimist Citizen – Issue 19 dated 16 FEB ’17. Get exclusive early access to the stories, SUBSCRIBE NOW.
UJJWALA SINHA & KRITIKA VIDYARTHI | TOC
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