Self-making is the key to Transformation


Transgender is one of the most marginalized groups, engaged in begging, badhai toli, or sex work to sustain and afford a decent lifestyle. They are always vulnerable to social discrimination, mental health problems, and diseases such as AIDS, among many others. The indoctrination has been there for ages, and people from the community are severely under-represented.

Transformation Career Progression Fellowship is designed and delivered by the Connecting Dreams Foundation (CDF). The fellowship through its phased level directly caters to skilling and employability and entrepreneurship, aimed at the financial independence of the LGBTQ+ while also providing holistic emotional and health support. 

Marham is an NGO, a friend of CDF, was founded to empower and amplify silenced, oppressed, marginalized or side-lined voices and give them their dignity and livelihood, and identification in society. With its association with CDF, Mahram is reaching Transgender at the community level with the encouragement of providing the opportunity to independently sustain them. This work was led by CDF’s Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Shreya Reddy at Hyderabad.

This is the story of five transwomen, Mahathi, Lucky, Renuka, Janani, and Sanju from Hyderabad, aged 17-21, who are receiving short-term courses on cooking and baking facilitated by Ms. Amina Panjwani and supported by Marham. Gender-affirmative counseling for Transgender has been majorly lacking. Their daily life experience has a major impact on their choices of livelihood, education, and experience at the personal level. With very few counselors available, the career and academic persuasion of Transgender have been meager. Each one of these young transwomen while building their skills toward a progressive future was mentored and counseled by Shreya.

While, the story of the five transwomen have an enchanting story of self-making, paving the way and encouraging many other who are looking for a way out for dignified livelihood opportunities. Mahathi, and her group, have supplied order over 100 orders at different spaces, from hospitals to Ashrams in Hyderabad. Their menu varied between a humble burger and sandwiches to

While the road is long, and asphalts are just laid, challenges are faced on a day-to-day level to bring more people from the community together, due to multiple reasons like indulgence in other income-generating professions, either, sex work, begging, and badhai toli. Shreya has been closely associating with each of them and reaching a larger number of people from the community to initiate their self-start-ups. CDF aims at reaching many such stories and impacting many such lives, bringing out a change in the community that believes in equity and equal distribution of opportunity, irrespective of one’s gender orientation, to compassionately live and thrive. It has always been a matter of identity, representation, and equal opportunity.

Pooja Chettri & Shreya Reddy

Connecting Dreams Foundation

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