Project Vayati

Bernie is a transgender and wants to work as a designer (and that is still a challenge)

Supriya and Amulya want to work as receptionists, Maya and Bernie as designers, Dimple as a gardener and Prashant as a social worker. They are transgender individuals and their dreams are sadly still a challenge because of that. Transgender people appear faceless to us, but each of them have a story to tell—of discrimination and violence. But also of determination and hope. Families reject them, schools dismiss them, employers shun them, hospitals discriminate against them, and society is hostile towards them. Change is happening, but not fast enough.

Project Vayati brings members of the transgender community into the mainstream by helping them find appropriate jobs in the formal sector. This approach was considered too radically inclusive but in 2017, the company Egomonk collaborated with Solidarity Foundation and Interweave to support 15 members of the LGBTIQA community as they went through an intense 12-day program at the Don Bosco Skills Mission in Bangalore, India. These individuals decided to join the Vayati project so they could defy the odds stacked against them. They made the choice to escape begging, sex work and numerous other challenging situations, and instead use their skills so they could lead lives grounded in their individual courage and passion.

Their efforts were rewarded as all 15 individuals were able to secure formal sector employment with two joining the Don Bosco Skills Mission itself as trainers. All of us are entitled to live the life we aspire to lead, and the changemaker behind this project are glad to have been able to support the hopes and ambitions of these individuals.

However, this is just the start because now that they have been able to demonstrate that this methodology of self-empowerment works best to support marginalized communities, they are hoping to both scale up as well as open-source it so that local non-profits and civil society organizations all over the world can adopt this to serve others.

Who is behind this?

Sartaj Anand