PESHAWAR: A rights organisation has announced to award educational scholarships to transgender persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In a statement here on Tuesday, Blue Veins, the rights organiation, said that there was a strong urge in the transgender persons to fight for their rights but lack of education was one of the recognised barriers to reclaim their space in the mainstream employment sector, social life and cultural integration.

Qamar Naseem, the programme coordinator of the organisation, said that there was no limit of age or education level for the scholarships. He said that any transgender person of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could get the scholarship.

“The only criterion is that he/she has to be a promising student or an aspiring leader. This scholarship is aimed at supporting the most promising transgender persons of the province,” he said.

Mr Naseem said that discrimination and stigma resulted in social exclusion from the mainstream society deprived the transgender persons to get education and skills. “They have little to no opportunities of formal and informal education. This gap in education worsens the situation for transgender community in the country,” he added.

Mr Naseem said that the scholarships would be provided by the donation of Blue Veins employees from their salaries. “It initially stats with Rs200,000,” he said. He said that many scholarships were available for students but there was no such opportunity for transgender persons in the province.

TransAction Alliance president Farzana Jan said that change would come if transgender community was empowered. One of the key tools for empowerment is education.

Arzu Khan, a transgender activist, said that transgender persons were deprived of family and school environment. “They discontinue their education and risk their future career opportunities,” she added.

The statement said that award of the amount Rs 200,000 for the session 2019, would be available from January 2019. It stated that 70 per cent of the total fee would be provided to support education and course fee.

In order to ensure the accountability and transparency, funds would be directly transferred to the educational institutes.

Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2018