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March 15, 2018

Transgenders to get free education, skill services

Peshawar

March 15, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Pakistan National Literacy Programme and a non-governmental organisation, Blue Veins, have joined hands to ensure free education, adult literacy and skill-based services to the transgender community.

According to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Pakistan National Literacy Programme and Blue Veins, the associated institutions of the former across the country will offer free primary and secondary education services to the transgender community, design adult literacy programmes, skill-based education and other courses.

This will build confidence, develop physical fitness, enable the transgender community to make choices.

Speaking after the MoU signing, Atif Amin, Director General, Pakistan National Literacy Programme, said: “Majority of the transgender community is either uneducated or undereducated, which excludes them from participating in social, cultural, political and economic activities.”

The official said along with teachers’ apathy towards transgender community, exclusion from the society, poverty, continued discrimination, violence were some of the important factors which could be attributed to the poor participation of transgender persons in educational activities.

Qamar Naseem, Programme Coordinator, Blue Veins, who played a key role in materialising the scheme for transgender community, said: “A formal education for the transgender community is still a distant dream. The community is deprived of family and school environment. The transgender community members discontinue education and risk future career opportunities.”

The rights activist said education was essential to the development of any democratic country. “Pakistan is a democratic country. The spirit of the Constitution is to provide equal opportunity to every citizen to grow and attain their potential, irrespective of caste, religion or gender,” he added.

Farzana Jan, President of the TransAction Alliance, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said: “Human rights are those basic rights and freedoms which are guaranteed to a person by virtue of being human which can neither be violated nor abrogated by any government or institution. It includes right to life, liberty, equality, dignity and freedom of thought and expression. Giving rights to transgender community including the right to education is the responsibility of all governments”

Taimur Kamal, Coordinator, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network, said: “Pakistan has achieved significant growth and development. It has improved on crucial human development indices such as levels of literacy, education and health. There are indications, however, that not all disadvantaged groups have shared equally the benefits of the growth process. Among these, the transgender community, one of the marginalised and vulnerable communities in the country, is seriously lagging behind on human development indices including education.

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