VHS comes to the aid of elderly transgender persons during pandemic

The Voluntary Health Services has trained 25 members of the transgender community in psycho-social counselling, for them to be able to help those in distress

The COVID-19 pandemic had taken a toll on 43-year-old Roopakala, known as Kala Amma, a transgender person from Washermanpet, as she was depressed due to the lack of an income. However, help came in the form of young members from her community, trained by the Voluntary Health Services (VHS), who counselled her and helped her recover from the depression.

“I run the Roopakala tiffin centre in Washermenpet. But during the pandemic, I did not have any income. The volunteers from VHS gave me courage and hope. Today, I am earning ₹300 per day and I am sure I will be earning more in future,” she said.

More than 400 transgender people in six districts — Chennai, Vellore, Salem, Madurai, Pudukottai and Tiruvallur — were helped under the VHS – Gilead TRANS Life project. “Many transgender persons were depressed due to their lack of income. No one was there even to help them get medicines, especially ART and TB drugs. So we decided to train 25 young members of their community to provide them with psycho-social counselling,” said A. Vijayaraman, programme director, VHS.

Mr. Vijayaraman said that the trained volunteers visited elderly transgender persons and provided them with necessary care and help. “This helped them tide over their struggle. This initiative has been going on for the past five months now,” he added.

Besides, they were also provided with assistance to avail of social welfare schemes. “We also provided all of them with dry ration kits which had 30 products,” he explained.

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