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Lahore

April 16, 2018

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Country’s first school for transgenders opens

LAHORE: A revolutionary step has been taken for the empowerment of transgender community as the inaugural ceremony took place for the education and vocational training of Pakistan's transgender community at Alhamra cultural complex.

A big crowd participated in the ceremony. Transgenders performed different plays and people cheered for them. Named The Gender Guardian, the school offers a full 12 years of academic education from the primary level to matriculation and then leading up to college. The school will also impart technical education, such as fashion designing, beautician and hair-styling courses, graphic designing, computer and mobile repairing, among others.

Vocational training is a very important part of education and is certainly an idea which needs to be implemented in mainstream schooling in Pakistan. This will shift our focus from certain narrow career paths and will open windows of opportunities for those looking to go beyond the oft chosen professions in Pakistan.

Asif Shahzad, the school's founder, told The News that the school has been built by an NGO and after the Lahore branch two more such schools will be established in Islamabad and Karachi.

He told The News, “I am graduated from LUMS and I thought that there are many schools for special persons and we encourage them to get an education so that they can become a useful part of our society but there are no specific schools for transgender, where they can learn whatever they want. So I came up with the idea and my friends are helping me in this initiative. We are collecting our pocket money to build the first branch in Lahore. He said more than 30 aspiring students from the transgender community have already registered and will be a part of the opening batch.

Shahzad said the school has 15 faculty members — three of whom themselves are from the transgender community. As a result, these faculty members will be able to explain ideas to students in a better way, while also being capable of understanding their mindset which will be able to modify the pedagogical techniques to drive the institution in the required direction.

A huge milestone has been achieved in granting transgender their rights in the country through Pakistan’s first ever transgender school. “The transgender population has always been discriminated against. The basic discrimination begins when we take them out of our schools and rid them of their basic right to education,” he said.

It is going to be a task to materialise this project and ensure its smooth functioning. This is a huge step for Pakistan as a country and if this project succeeds, it will certainly show that a great deal can be expected from the people of this country. There was a music concert at the ending of the ceremony and everybody gave their best wishes to the organisers.

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