In their hour of need, the transgender and hijra communities in and around Noida, Uttar Pradesh received urgent relief measures and encouragement from our local partner, Basera Samajik Sansthan, a community-based organisation that has been implementing our Wajood project since 2015. Wajood programme endeavours to increase access to HIV services for transgender and hijra communities, however, since the outbreak of COVID-19, our local partners have been providing the unmet needs of the communities with the provision of food, shelter, and linkages to healthcare services.
During the second phase of the lockdown in the country, our partner Basera Samajik Sansthan reached out to East Delhi Legal Services, a firm that has in the past partnered with Basera in conducting workshops on gender sensitization for various educational institutes. The firm has also been very open to giving career opportunities to transgender and hijra candidates. Earlier, when Basera Samajik Sansthan had approached for job placement for community members, the firm had interviewed several candidates and hired three transgender persons. Once again, the firm was more than willing to extend a helping hand during this crisis. Subsequently, with the generous support of East Delhi Legal Services, Basera team distributed dry ration packages to 150 community members in Noida. The food packages go a long way in not only providing sustenance but bringing hope to disheartened communities.
Contrary to the initial recommendation from the World Health Organization to not wear masks unless symptomatic, several health agencies around the globe and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India are reinforcing the case for wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For poor and marginalized population it has been challenging to access quality masks. The Basera team recognized that they could do something about the need for quality masks among the community members. They had five sewing machines at their disposal which was provided by Shahid Rajguru College under a skill-building initiative and a few members had been developing their sewing skills. They decided to make cloth masks and successfully distributed 500 cloth masks among the community members for free of cost.
Our partner Basera Samajik Sansthan has left no stone unturned to mobilize resources for the wellbeing of transgender and hijra communities who are already an unfairly disadvantaged and marginalised segment of society. During the third lockdown phase, Basera team approached the Commissioner of Police, East Delhi for urgent relief aid for transgender and hijra, one of the worse affected populations by the COVID-19 outbreak. The official immediately arranged support for 30 persons with dry ration packets in Ashok Nagar, East Delhi.
Besides, Basera team already has a partnership in place with a local temple to provide cooked meals in surrounding areas of Noida and East Delhi. For over a month now, the transgender and hijra communities have been receiving cooked meals twice a day without fail. Every single day, Basera team including volunteers pick up lunch and dinner from the temple and deliver it to more than 270 transgender and hijra people in need. During the first lockdown, they were anxious about how they will survive through this crisis. Now they are assured that the Basera team is committed to caring for them no matter how long the lockdown continues. Huge gratitude to Lila Mata Mandir Trust for their enormous generosity towards the transgender and hijra communities.
“We do our best to ensure that no one sleeps on an empty stomach”, said a team member from Basera Samajik Sansthan.
In these difficult times of pandemic, our local partner Basera Samajik Sansthan has emerged as a bridge between the community and various generous supporters. As our local partners across the states are relentlessly supporting for our communities, they understand that self-safety is a priority and are taking necessary measures to keep themselves safe and protected from possible exposure to COVID-19. Alliance India firmly stands with our local partners and communities whilst dealing with the pandemic.
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