Indian Catholic News

CMC sisters give shelter to Kochi Metro trans employees

In one of the first major initiatives to employ transgenders, the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) hired 23 trans employees.

Transgender employees of Kochi Metro (Credit- PTI)

The nuns of the Provincial House of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel (CMC) will provide accomodation to the transgenders employed by Kochi Metro who were facing homelessness.

In one of the first major initiatives to employ transgenders, the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) hired 23 trans employees through a Kerala government poverty eradication programme aimed at women called Kudumbasree. However, no one was willing to provide the transgenders accommodation, and many of them were forced to skip work.

The KMRL has now been able to solve the problem, with the commitment from the CMC nuns.

Sister Pavithra of CMC confirmed to Catch that the Congregation will provide “shelter to the transgenders working in KMRL.”

The nuns got the letter from Kochi Metro just this morning and are yet to figure the logistics. “They haven't yet told us the number of people who want to reside. Maybe 12-13,” she said.

The CMC had in January agreed to provide space for a special school for transgenders. But that school never took shape, so the same space is being utilised for the KMRL trans employees' rehabilitation.

Speaking of the CMC's earlier initiatives with the trans community, Sister Pavithra, who has worked in Maharashtra for over 25 years, said that they had a transgender association in Maharashtra.

“We have to think about the third gender,” said the sister. “They also have equal rights to live as human beings, just like any one of us. But society does not understand them, they're not aware of their problems that they undergo.

“Unless and until institutions like us, or congregations like us [step in]... If we help them, our society may give recognition to them. May not be today, tomorrow, but within the next 10-15 years, they'll come into the mainstream.”

On being asked if there was a fee being charged for the accommodation, the sister said, “Actually we haven't yet decided [if we're charging]. We're just in the process now.”

Elias George, managing director of KMRL, however, mentioned a nominal fee being charged for the accommodation.

“It's practically free,” he told Catch, adding, “It's Rs 500/month, as opposed to the Rs 600 they were paying per day [for hotel rooms].”

“There were a number of problems,” agrees George. “Nobody was willing to give them a place to stay. So we're arranging that, and transport also.”

“But otherwise it's been good. And they're hoping that once Kochi Metro does this, other formal employers will also come in. And already we've had people coming and telling us that if this works out, they too will hire transgenders.”

Source: Catch news

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