Many-a-times, as is rightly said, ‘It is easier said than done’ is an emphatic challenge to see things turning into implementation as planned. The challenges that adorn our task at Vrihnla Foundation are multifarious. However, that makes us even more dedicated to see our mission taking form into a concrete reality. We seek to not just bring about a change but become the catalysts towards transforming the bitter life of eunuchs into a live-able humane life surrounded with pragmatic possibilities towards living an empowered life.
Looking at the issues of the third gender, we took to having a holistic approach in being able to evolve resolutions towards their empowerment. Few of the dimensions in our resolute of empowering the third gender involve the following:
Safeguarding & securing the third gender with their fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of India on account of being citizens of India & also as the weaker, backward and neglected sections of our society.
Creating an environment wherein the third gender can secure education without facing rejection and social exclusion. We have envisioned the setting up of schools for eunuchs & their children where they will be able to secure education without the pain and fear of being disregarded and humiliated. Requisite infrastructural facilities along with adequate incentivizing facilities such as scholarships as well as mid-day meal facilities will encourage the third gender community to approach schooling with a tint of confidence. Educational workshops to train their presence in the society will be incorporated within the curriculum framework. Values of educational, intellectual & societal empowerment will be sought to be inculcated.
In view of the landmark judgement by the Supreme Court of India, eunuchs are to be accorded reservations in educational institutions & public employment while being regarded as socially & economically backward. Although the judgement has been pronounced, not much has taken place on the ground zero. Implementation is far from satisfactory & hasn’t yet reached fruition. Ensuring employment to the third gender will be the most emphatic step in ensuring their empowerment.
Health of eunuchs is an issue which not just begins with their lives but continues throughout. With the structural malformations or the forced conversions, the entire health set-up of eunuchs assumes a different format as compared to the mainstream humans within the two brackets of gender. The endocrine & hormonal set-up of eunuchs becomes very critical to handle. There have been times when demands for separate public toilets for the third gender have been made. Additionally, with the multiplicity of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV AIDS as also other health qualms that get pronounced with age, their health concerns often take a brutal beating. Provision of adequate healthcare facilities becomes the prime concern for eunuchs of all age groups.
Skill-set development in the form of stitching, tailoring, weaving, embroidery work, zardosi work, drawing, sketching, singing, playing musical instruments, dance trainings, candle-making, rakhi-making & a host of allied vocational training programmes to develop their skill-set can get them emotionally and intellectually involved into creative pursuits that can help them live a life with zeal. These skills can keep them constructively occupied and can help shed off the weight of social exclusion and a disturbed mental state.
Development of skill-set & acquiring adequate education can enable the third gender in acquiring fruitful employment opportunities that can get them financially secured & empowered. Once financial strength is achieved, they can live a life of interdependence without having to resort to humiliating forms of earning their livelihood.
Working towards establishing the third gender as an approved identity in all walks of life is the need of the hour. A non-hesitational acceptance of their existence in the society can help them secure their self-respect. The social stigma, rejection & social exclusion that the eunuchs face puts them in a critical mental state as also they are the easiest prey when it comes to flesh trade. They thereby become targets of a number of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV AIDS. With the meagre sources of earnings in the form of beggary, flesh trade & certain religious offerings made to them, they even lack the basic necessities of life; leave apart being able to afford expensive medical treatments to be able to cope with a life that just gets difficult with every passing day.
One of the critical pre-requisites for a balanced mental make-up is to have an identity without crisis which can enable a person to live a life with self-respect. This element finds a heavy absence in the lives of the third gender making their lives miserable. The fight against this injustice is an integral part of the fight for their rights.