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Bridging the Deficit: 24 Year Old West Bengal Transwoman Jiya to Become Paramedics

Jiya and Debdutta are studying hard with a batch of 50 paramedical course trainees to equip themselves with the right set of skills for a stable career

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A transwoman paramedic
Tempo Trax LWB Ambulance, Bangalore 2010. Wikimedia Commons
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  • Transwoman from West Bengal is blazing a trail of success as a trainee in an operation theatre (OT) technician’s course
  • They are learning about anatomy, infection control, how OTs function and things needed to run an OT among others
  • The course fee of Rs 25,000 for a year has been waived for Jiya and Debdutta

Aug 16, 2017: Twenty-four-year-old Jiya was once forced to dance at gunpoint. Now the plucky transwoman from West Bengal is blazing a trail of success as a trainee in an operation theatre (OT) technician’s course Thanks to a collective effort by queer activists, social workers and healthcare experts, along with Jiya, transwoman Debdutta is also being trained to become an OT technician, not only empowering her community but also bridging the deficit in India’s paramedical personnel sector.

At the School for Skills: Allied Health Sciences located in the Sirona Hospital Group premises in East Midnapore district’s Panskura, Jiya and Debdutta are studying hard with a batch of 50 paramedical course trainees to equip themselves with the right set of skills for a stable career.

“Usually people have an idea that transgenders beg, dance for livelihood. I come from a very poor family and despite being a graduate, I had to face obstruction to eke out a living due to my gender identity. I started to dance in Bihar villages… this continued for three to four years. I also earned money through painting alpanas (traditionl patterns) in villages,” Jiya told IANS.

“Now, I feel we have a choice for a career,” said Jiya, who hails from Malda.

“The idea was to have freedom of choice. Just because they are transgender, it doesn’t mean they are not educated and can only beg for a livelihood. They now have an option to be a part of the technical staff of a hospital,” said Mimo Koushik, who identifies himself as queer and is a social entrepreneur with the NGO Prantakatha.

Koushik, also the founder of Sathrangi, a transfeminine clothing, home decor and stationery brand, said the transwomen are being trained free of cost as part of a pilot.

“If we can give them access to opportunity then they can be skilled and trained to work in the healthcare sector. The sector needs people in large numbers and the working conditions are dignified for women,” said Satadal Saha, a general surgeon, also the CEO of the hospital group.

The course fee of Rs 25,000 for a year has been waived for Jiya and Debdutta.

Upon completion, they will be placed with the hospital, said Saha, who is spearheading the training programme along with his team as part of JSV Innovations, that works towards livelihood creation among rural youth with low formal education through training and skilling of a large number of allied health professionals.

Also Read: India becoming more Transgender- Friendly: Read this report 

“Initially, we have taken only two from the community under our wing. We did not know how they would feel… how others would feel and how they will cope with the course. From the next batch, we will able to take in more students. They are learning very fast and it is encouraging to see how they have accepted everyone and everyone has accepted them… they never sit alone… they are surrounded by friends,” said Saha.

They are learning about anatomy, infection control, how OTs function and things needed to run an OT among others, said Saha. The course is affiliated with the National Skill Development Corporation. The hospital takes care of boarding and lodging.

According to Bappaditya Mukherjee of Prantakatha, their training also ensures the creation of infrastructure for the community.

“Often in hospital settings, doctors have inhibitions about treating transgender patients, so having trained people from the community would ensure access to treatment,” Mukherjee said.

As for Jiya, there is no looking back now. (IANS)

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Anukreethy Vas, New Miss India, Explains Challenges Of Single Mother

Anukreethy calls herself a tomboy

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Anukreethy Vas, New Miss India World Explains Challenges Of Single Mother
Anukreethy Vas, New Miss India World Explains Challenges Of Single Mother, flickr

The newly crowned Miss India World Anukreethy Vas — who works for transgenders’ education — feels a smile keeps everyone going, something she has learnt this quality from her mother, who rose her single-handedly. The 19-year-old feels that being raised by a single mother was challenging, but being strong in every situtation kept them going.

“The challenges were there forever starting from school because I am not from a city-based place. I studied in Trichy (Tiruchirappalli) which is not really a city but I was very strong enough because my mother didn’t let me down at any point. She used to say, ‘You are a strong person. How can you cry?’ and that’s how she brought me up,” Anukreethy told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

“I have never seen her low. She has a lot of problems herself but she never showed that to me and that is how I was brought up. Even if I had something inside me, I never expressed it to other person because I feel that a smile is one thing that keeps the other person going. And this is what I learnt from her.

“She inspired me in every way and she has been a great role model,” added the beauty queen, whose mother is an IT professional named Seleena.

Single mother
Single mother, Pixabay

Anukreethy is currently pursuing Bachelor of Arts in French at Chennai’s Loyola College to become an interpreter. She is also a state-level athlete, whose aspiration is to become a supermodel. Her faith in destiny keeps her confident at all times and this reflected well while she was announced the winner on Tuesday night.

Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar crowned Anukreethy at the gala, where Meenakshi Chaudhary from Haryana was adjudged first runner-up and second runner-up was Shreya Rao from Andhra Pradesh.

Anukreethy calls herself a tomboy, loves to ride a bike, but more than that she is actively involved in giving education to transgenders.

“I work for the transgender education. There was one of my friends who was transgender in school and her family abandoned her. That struck me about this topic. I was helping an orphanage and NGO with the education of their children.

“In 2015, I associated with an NGO, and the main area of work was education of transgender children. We are now being able to adopt 30 transgenders and educate them,” she told IANS.

LGBT flag
LGBT flag, Pixabay

As of now, she is “really happy” about her victory at the Miss India contest.

“I will put my best to get the crown again,” she said, referring to the Miss World crown which Manushi brought back to India long after Priyanka Chopra won it in 2000.

So after the sudden fame, is she going to miss all the normal things that she enjoys doing?

Also read: Miss India 2016 Priyadarshini Chatterjee fights for Sexual Exploitation of a 13-year-old Girl

“Not really. I still have a normal life. My friends back home are supportive. Yes, just the responsibilities have been added, but rest is normal,” said Anukreethy, who is currently not focussed on Bollywood. (IANS)