Tamil Nadu

A resourceful initiative to create an inclusive workplace


Dry cleaning service not only provides employment to the third gender, but also helps them in getting rid of stigma

Transpersons are riding the entrepreneurship wave in Madurai by starting inclusive workspaces in order to ward off stigma and create a non-prejudiced community.

Priya Babu, the founder of Transgender Resource Centre, is spearheading the movement by beginning a dry cleaning and saree-folding service in the city.

At the inauguration of the the service on Saturday, Ms. Priya said three women and one transgender worker had been employed. Orders had begun pouring in, the first one being from Judicial Magistrate R. Gayathri Devi, she added.

“Transgenders are usually associated with sex trade and begging. The stigma associated with them is unfair. By introducing inclusive workplaces, men, women and students can relate to the other gender and provide them with an equal earning opportunity,” says Ms. Gayathri Devi. It helps in creating a ‘good eye’ and a positive attitude, she adds.

Training centre

All those approaching the organisation for work would be given 15 days of free training. They would learn to carefully dry clean sarees and dhotis, Ms. Priya said.

They would also be taught the ‘rolling’ method of folding the clothes as it led to less wear-and-tear of material, particularly of silk, Ms. Karpagam, the head trainer at the centre, said. Such classes usually charge ₹2,000 for a seven-day session, she said.

The Transgender Resource Centre has made an initial investment of ₹50,000. The unit uses natural ‘Vajram jelly’, a resin of the Vajram tree sourced from Kancheepuram.

“It helps in optimal stiffness and prevents tearing,” says Ms. Karpagam. Charges for dry cleaning of a saree will be between ₹50 and Rs 500 based on texture and thickness. A total of nine sarees can be dry cleaned in day, she added.

Madurai District Social Welfare Officer P. Shanti said the district administration was always ready to support such innovative causes. “The right kind of proposals are eligible for reasonable loans and subsidies for transgenders,” Ms. Priya said.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 11:36:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/a-resourceful-initiative-to-create-an-inclusive-workplace/article22921336.ece

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