In a first of its kind, a drinking water plant has been opened near Wagholi in Maharashtra which is run entirely by people from the transgender community from Pune. Considered as a step in the right direction to provide financial independence to transgenders, the plant was set up under Kineer Services a few weeks ago, along the Pune-Ahmednagar Road. Kineer Services is an initiative by Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a prominent transgender activist. Four transgender women have been recruited to run the plant – Mamta, Ranitai Patel, Shakti and Prerna – with assured monthly salary.
Speaking to a tabloid, 33-year-old Mamta shared that the job has changed her life for all the good reasons. Till August, she had to accompany other transgenders in begging at shops and earned little by dancing at wedding functions. She was subjected to 'humiliations' and this is 'the first time' that she is 'experiencing what respect means'.
Mamta is involved in the process of packaging the water at the plant as well as visiting multinational companies where they supply the water. She shared that she was disowned by her parents for being a transgender, but after joining the plant, she is getting a lot of respect from security guards to the top officials.
The 37-year-old Ranitai is a commerce graduate who was unemployed for years before taking up job here. She shared that she had worked in the marketing field for a while, but the company where she used to work was taken up by another, after which she was shunned and jobless for two years. She has the responsibility of her 88-year-old mother. Kineer Services approached Ranitai through a common contact for a job. “It was a double whammy – not only an opportunity to earn but also providing me dignity that I had missed in life for so many years,” she added.
The plant was producing 200 cans of water daily in the beginning, which was supplied to multinational companies situated on Pune-Ahmednagar Road. Kineer Servies told Pune Mirror that they would increase the production once more transgenders join their team.
In conversation with Mirror, Manish Jain, coordinator for Kineer Services, said that the plant is the first of its kind to be entirely run by transgenders. They have started similar plants in National Capital Region. He added that they would like to give dignified jobs to transgender community and is glad to hire four of them from Pune to work in the plant.
He further said that there is still a lot of awareness that needs to be created in the society. He stated that there is reluctance from both sides. While the rest of the society needs to be aware of transgenders, the latter needs to be ready to accept new roles. He aims to reduce the gap by generating more jobs for the neglected community and is looking forward to recruit more.
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