Hyderabad: The Covid-19 pandemic financially affected all sections of society in an unprecedented way, but one segment that bore the brunt was the Hijra community.
Through the centuries, the Hijra community has relied on begging and sex work as their primary mode of income and with the nationwide lockdown imposed last year, their very survival became a matter of concern, as Mona Lisa, a hijra person from Hyderabad, shared.
“We are extremely marginalised in society by default and most of us are uneducated and the only forms of livelihood we have are those two. We also live a hand-to-mouth existence with negligible savings and even affording food became an issue,” Mona Lisa said.
Sandy of Mobbera Foundation also echoes this viewpoint.
“Through our foundation, we were striving hard to give food, centrally cooked and supplied to members of the Hijra community in the city and we were constantly on the lookout for NGOs willing to be a part of this and that is when Street Cause reached out to us. They wanted to work for the community and after speaking with Mona Lisa, they decided to go ahead with the task of distributing dry rations to over 300 members of the Hijra community in the city.”
This distribution of dry ration kit (including rice, dal, spices, oil, soaps, sanitisers and masks) was conducted in two phases, in November and on December 30. Each kit can sustain a person for about two months on average. The first phase was done in Moosapet and surrounding areas and the second in Chintal and nearby areas.
As to why the student-led NGO chose to work for them, Samhith from Street Cause shares: “We formed a new unit under the NGO, called Street Cause Pride, with a specific focus on working for the LGBT+ community. We wanted to help the ones affected because of the pandemic and we reached out to Sandy. That is how the event kicked off a couple of months ago, with the support of the Mobbera Foundation.”
The NGO raised Rs 3.6 lakh, mostly from their alumni and spent about Rs 1,200 on each dry ration kit.
“The idea was to give them something that will sustain their basics for a couple of months at least, by which time there might be a chance for them to get back to their livelihood,” says Samhith.
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