A tea stall run by transgenders, the first of its kind in Assam was inaugurated in the premises of Deputy Commissioner’s office in Kamrup district on Monday (April 18), offering a hope of livelihoods with dignity to the state’s transgender community.
The stall named ‘Trans Tea Stall’ was started under the initiative of All Assam Transgender Association, a forum of transgender communities in the state.
Swati Bidhan Baruah, founder of the Association said that this is a small beginning for empowerment of the transgender community. “We want to provide livelihood support to trangenders who often face discrimination and harassment while looking for options to earn their livelihoods,” Baruah added.
The stall which is run by two transgender members of the association with the support of two helpers will initially have tea, snacks and some other packaged food items and later they will add more such items based on response of the customers. “We hope to get good response as the DC office witnesses a lot of footfall daily,” said Baruah who is also a lawyer by profession.
As there is no scheme for livelihood support to the transgenders in Assam, we had written to all deputy commissioners seeking support for opening tea stalls to be run by the transgenders. Kamrup district deputy commissioner, Kailash Karthik N. responded to our request and agreed to provide us the space,” Baruah said adding that they are planning to open similar tea stalls in Kamrup Metro, Nalbari, Darrang and Barpeta districts.
“In the next phase, we will approach the district courts for allowing us to open similar tea stalls in their office campuses,” Baruah said.
“Such venture will not only provide an opportunity to the transgender community a source of earning and live with dignity but will send a strong message to the society,” Baruah added.
According to a recent survey, Assam has over 26,000 transgender people but they have been facing a lot of difficulties in earning their livelihoods due to lack of a scheme for their economic empowerment. “Many people laugh at the transgender people begging at bus stops, trains and other public places but nobody talks about providing them an opportunity to earn with dignity. We hope such tea stalls will go a long way in that direction,” Baruah said.
Also Read: Only TMC Can Fight BJP: Ripun Bora