Dumped By Family At 13, Taslima Nasreen Is Beacon Of Hope For Transgenders

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Breaking stereotypes involves courage, determination, and firm stand against pessimism, especially when it comes to age-old societal beliefs on gender. For ages, the transgender community has struggled to live a dignified life. Taslima Nasreen, a transgender woman, has broken all norms to come up with a unique initiative of starting a food catering business entirely by the transgender community. Her startup “Halal catering” is a massive hit in Tamilnadu and Kerala with their tongue-tingling dishes. 

She has also trained six other teams of transgender women for catering and helped them start their own food catering business. Even you can experience their esteemed service on your good days at home. It can help them in a lot many ways, most importantly, to live a dignified life. 

Hailing from Tirupur, Tamil Nadu, Taslima Nasreen had a very different story to share. Belonging to an affluent family, Taslima enjoyed her childhood to the core with every comfort one can imagine. However, the dark days arrived when Taslima turned 13. 

“I wasn’t someone I wanted to be. I was terrified. My family didn’t accept me as I am, and finally, they abandoned me. I spent days at Tirupur bus stand, haunted by loneliness and falling into the clutches of hunger, I decided to commit suicide. I got rescued by some transgender people at a park in Tirupur.”

As she didn’t want her family to identify her anymore in the town, she moved to Bangalore. After undergoing sex surgery there, she searched for jobs but found it difficult to find one. She begged at traffic signals. To make the situation worse, she was diagnosed with severe jaundice. Trying out every hospital there, she realized that there are no proper treatment facilities for transgenders. Somehow Taslima managed to get treated at a government hospital in Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu.

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Getting her life back again, she took a bus to Chennai. Through some menial jobs, she managed to earn a paltry sum. For the first time, she decided to unveil her womanhood, in an eagerness to buy a nose-pin for herself. As soon as she entered the shop, the owner found it very strange to allow her. She was ashamed, ill-treated and not allowed to step inside. That is when a woman shopping nearby shared her kind gesture by consoling and enquiring about Taslima’s work and livelihood. Later the lady was identified to be Anjali, one of the heads of “Mahaveer Trust”. 

With Anjali’s help, Taslima began to volunteer for an NGO ‘Small Difference’ to take care of patients who were abandoned by families at the CMCH. At NGO, she worked as a cook. She started cooking chicken and mutton biryani in many functions. 

Years after, these experiences helped her with the idea of starting “Change trust” with the aid from Rotary club.

Training Other Transgender Women

Being a victim of discrimination herself, she is striving hard to ensure a safe and dignified life for all transgenders. Taslima personally has trained over fifty transgender women in cooking, thereby paving the way for their independence. Through Change trust she has also taught Computer training, Jewel making sessions and tailoring to transwomen.

She has also organised Swachh Bharat – tree plantation drives, cleaning campaigns [esp in hospitals]. Motivated by her words, a large number of college students, along with their families also participate in the activities.

Tribal welfare

Taaslima with her team has built a school in a remote tribal village in Coimbatore. As this village is not easily accessible by any means, people were deprived of their basic needs. Building a school in such a far off location has helped the kids of the village.

Hospital welfare schemes

Taslima and her team have mobilized people for blood donation, organised cleaning camps at the hospital premises, arranged ambulance service for remote tribal areas.

She adopted two boys from the hospital where she used to work as the parents of the children couldn’t bear the cost of raising a child. Adding to this, she is also taking care of two elder women [One of them aged 103] at her home. Beaming with utmost pride, she calls four of them “her lifelines”. Considering the transformation of lives she sweats for, Taaslima is making sure the four of them are never deprived of anything!!

As transgenders, they are blessed to experience the soul and spirit of being both their peers. Its high time for society to change its perspective towards them. “Love and respect” is all that they seek!!

Taslima has been recognised at various forums for her work

  1. First transgender Swatch Bharath ambassador of India.[In turn for accepting the responsibility, she requested the officials to employ ten transgenders in city corporation roles every year. Result of this, Today more than fifty transgenders are working at various levels in city limits.
  2. Leading educational institute in Coimbatore recognised her as “IC(A)N of Coimbatore.”
  3. One of the 12 heroes from Coimbatore, recognised by Times of India.
  4. Unsung hero award by ICC (The Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry)

Reach out to Taslima Nasreen at : 9787345432

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‘Happy Fridge’: The Key To Bridge Food Wastage And Hunger Problem In India

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Rahul Khera and Gautam Jindal, volunteers (aka hunger heroes) at Feeding India, were among the many Delhi NCR residents accustomed to seeing hungry children pick up half-eaten burgers or stale sandwiches from the dustbin and savour those with the brightest smiles. Like many others, they also had the will to promote equitable food distribution but was perplexed about the approach, until they learnt about the community fridge initiative which has gained unprecedented success in Saudi Arabia and few other European countries. Meanwhile, community fridges were already being installed outside restaurants or in public places in a handful of cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Coimbatore and Kochi.

Say Goodbye To Throwing Away Excess Food Because Now You Can Donate The Food To The Needy – Happy Fridge

Thank you for overwhelming response for the Happy Fridge concept. We need more funds from you to install more fridges like this across India. With the limited funds avaialble Feeding India was able to install three fridges only. Kindly donate here http://bit.ly/happyfridge

Posted by The Logical Indian on Saturday, October 27, 2018

Needless to mention, with a shocking 103rd rank in the Global Hunger Index and a food wastage estimate of around Rs 58,000 crore – India was perhaps the best country to implement such an initiative. With Gautam’s help, an enthusiastic Rahul invested his own savings to install a ‘Happy Fridge’ outside his residence at Sun City, Sector 54 in Gurgaon. Set up in 2017 by these Feeding India volunteers, the fridge in Gurgaon has inspired the NGO to scale up the project across India.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

‘Happy Fridge’ fostered many smiles

It didn’t take long for the local residents to learn about this laudable endeavour. They welcomed it, as wastage of excess food was a recurring problem in almost every household. “Intimating the localities was no mammoth task, thanks to social media. However, it was difficult to spread the word among those who actually needed the food,” shares Rahul, who went from auto stands to slums, inviting rickshaw pullers, ragpickers or roadside vendors to avail the community fridge any time they feel hungry. “The security guards of our residential complex played a huge role in explaining how the fridge works to the beneficiaries,” he adds.

The operational and maintenance costs of the ‘ happy fridge ‘ are being maintained diligently by the community members.

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Making memories, sprouting awareness

“I remember one young man who had arrived from a village looking for some menial day job. Somehow he had run out of his paltry savings and had no money to buy one decent meal a day. For about a month, our happy fridge was his solace, till he earned his first salary from a housekeeping job,” shares a jubilant Rahul.

In another incident, a truck driver returning in the wee hours of midnight was starving after a whole day’s hard work. He had run out of cooking fuel at his home, so our fridge was at his rescue.

“The residents keep all sorts of palatable dishes in the happy fridge, ranging from dry snacks, fruits to cooked meals. Sometimes, they even keep raw vegetables, to ensure not a single bit of good food ends up in their trash while other people go hungry to bed,” reveals Rahul.

On an average, each happy fridge supplies around 10-15 meals in a day. The gratitude and pure smiles of the hungry souls after a fulfilling meal are more than enough to continue to motivate Rahul and his neighbours. In fact, inspired by him, many other communities in the Delhi-NCR region set up community fridges in their areas.

Feeding India will set up 500 Happy Fridges

Since the past few years, Feeding India has been a prominent organisation working in the forefront to solve the hunger problem in India. Primarily, they were involved in redistributing leftover food from weddings and parties among the underprivileged people in different cities of India. Their volunteers, better known as “Hunger Heroes of India”, worked actively to bridge the gap between food wastage and food crisis.

“We used to get a lot of calls from individual households to collect their excess food. However, unfortunately, we lacked the manpower and planning to launch our programme on a door to door basis. We were desperately looking for an alternative when we learnt about the community fridges,” shares Srishti Jain, co-founder of Feeding India.

After interacting with Rahul Khera and other campaigners of community fridges, Feeding India decided to amplify this extraordinary project throughout the length and breadth of India. Presently, they have launched the #FightFoodWaste campaign to install 500 community fridges – nicknamed ‘ Happy Fridge ’. So any passer-by – be it a kid going to school without a lunchbox, or a labourer returning home late at night with no promise of a dinner – can now grab a pack of biscuits or a bowl of ‘dal-chawal’ (rice & lentil soup) to satiate their hunger. Click here to contribute for ‘ Happy Fridge ‘ and ensure India never sleeps hungry again.

Feeding India also urges everyone to make a promise to stop wasting food and instead consider donating it to those in need.

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