Welfare initiative for transgender persons announced
 
By Sadia Qasim Shah | 6/8/2017 12:00:00 AM
PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government may have not spent all the money it announced last year but managed to be yet again the only government that announced another welfare initiative in the annual budget 2017-2018 for the neglected transgender community of the province.

Though only one line in the annual budget 2017-2018, the initiative to establish skill development and rehabilitation centre fortransgender people in Peshawar may mean a lot to the marginalised and somewhat invisible populace of the province.

`The government is taking my advice in setting up this centre.

We have registered some 200 transgender persons, who showed interest in learning skills hke driving, beautician and tailoring, said Farzana Riaz, head of TransAction Alliance, an organisation that raises voice for the transgenderpersons.

However, she was concerned about the welfare of the senior transgender persons, who could not work and were abandoned by their families. She said that like Benazir Income Support Programme, there should be honoraria or some kind of financial support for the senior transgender persons as they could not learn a skill.Last year, the PTI government was the first in the country to allocate special fund of Rs200 million for the welfare of transgender community of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Whether the entire amount was spent on welfare of transgender community in the previous financial year is a big question mark but still Farzana Riaz seemed satisfied. She said that some recent initiatives like issuing health cards to transgender persons for free treatment and allocating a specified ward in Lady Reading Hospital and Hayatabad Medical Complex for them were good steps.

She said that they had been demanding a separate ward for transgenderpersons since 2009as one of their community member died and many suffered discrimination when they went for treatment to health facilities.`Some educated transgender persons now want jobs as there is not much business in dancing so government should give them job,` said Farzana.

In the current financial year, the provincial government has allocated Rs460 million for the social welfare, women development sector and also included transgender personsin the sector.

The allocation has been made for 33 projects out of which 21 are ongoing with a proposed allocation of Rs385.996 million and 12 are new with allocation of Rs74.004 million.

According to the annual budget 2017-2018, these funds would be spent on establishment of schools for deaf and dumb children in Charsadda, purchase of land/construction of drug addicts detoxification and rehabilitation centre in Swat, upgradation/construction ofone special education institute up to secondary level in each division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, establishment of skill development and rehabilitation centre for transgender persons in Peshawar, purchase of equipment and furniture for various completed schemes, establishmentof socialwelfare complex in Dera Ismail Khan, setting up bolo helpline centre for genderbased violence (GBV)in Peshawar, establishment of Darul Aman in Chitral, setting up seven vocadonal centres one each in Nowshera, Mardan, Haripur, Shangla and three in Charsadda.

The government is focusing on poor and marginalised sections of society to develop their socio-economic conditions. Besides, Rs642 million has been allocated for two new projects. However, the nature of the projects has not been explained.
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