Empowerment Careers

A mentoring programme for transgender individuals during the pandemic

Representational picture. PHOTO:M. SAMRAJ  

Teaching someone fishing rather than handing them a fish is an apt metaphor for skilling. However, as with all aphorisms, this one is generalised, and even sounds a little too pat, as if fishing can happen right off the bat. It is up to us to fill in the details. Effective fishing is about matching the technique and gear with the fish and the waters. So it is with skilling.

In a pandemic-related upskilling exercise for transgender individuals, software consultancy firm ThoughtWorks India seems to have taken care of that filling-in part.

According to a communication from the company, as part of its diversity, equity and inclusion initiative, it has associated with PeriFerry (periferry.com) — a social startup that empowers trans people by finding them employment and training opportunities — to help it design and launch Prajna, a volunteer-based role-specific mentorship programme for transgender individuals.

The volunteering programme seeks to build the domain expertise of the participants by assigning them volunteer-mentors from their field of specialisation.

“The programme does mentor-mentee mapping to promote role-specific training. So, we have people from multiple roles who have signed up as mentors. The mentors can be from the technology, HR, marketing or any other specialisation, and the programme maps the transperson to the mentor based on roles and requirements. Besides helping design this mentoring programme, ThoughtWorkers have also signed up for it as participants. Over 80 ThoughtWorkers from various fields of expertise have volunteered to train trans individuals,” says Tina Vinod, Diversity and Inclusion Lead, ThoughtWorks India.

Tina elaborates that the mentor and mentee would be in a three-month long mentorship programme, with the progress tracked regularly and the feedback duly communicated to the mentee.

Tina points out that the timing of the project's launch — the middle of a global pandemic — has to do with two factors: The job market is almost universally bad, impacting everyone, and the need for upskilling is keenly felt. And two, when people would be home and have a little bit more time on their hands, would be the ideal time for a mentorship initiative.

“Right now, we have made it possible for organisations to participate in the mentorship programme, but will be throwing it open for individuals as well soon.”

As a participating organisation, ThoughtWorks India encourages its employees at its offices across India to volunteer their time and skills for this mentorship programme.

Tina says that within the organisation, there are dialogues and conversations around the initiative.

“In fact, we just sent out a newsletter internally talking about what progress we have made.”

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 5:00:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/careers/a-mentoring-programme-for-transgender-individuals-during-the-pandemic/article32673860.ece

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