Stories that matter.
Stories that matter. Stories that matter.

Creating a safe and supportive environment to foster social inclusion and raise the standard of living for transgender youth.

Transgender youth in India face numerous personal and professional challenges that can significantly impact their well-being and life outcomes. A study by the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) found that transgender youth regularly face deep-rooted social stigma, discrimination, and marginalisation, which can have severe psychological, emotional, and social consequences.

Additionally, the lack of inclusive policies, discrimination by peers and teachers, and limited access to gender-affirming resources leads to lower education completion and hinders future job prospects (2016 Transgender Rights Bill Impact Assessment). Thus, transgender youths often get trapped in low-paying informal jobs, perpetuating the cycle of unemployment and poverty.

The story of Rian*, a transman from Mumbai, paints the monumental challenges faced by transgender youths, and the transformative impact that livelihood skilling programmes can have on their lives. When Rian embraced his identity, the rejection he faced from society and his family, sparked a resolve to become self-sufficient so he could live as his true self. However, like many others in the transgender community, Rian encountered significant barriers on the road to securing dignified employment. And his problems did not end there.
"I left my home eight years ago and tried my best to find a decent job, but it seemed hopeless. With no options left, I took up a job as a daily wager. Unfortunately, soon after joining, I met with a major accident that left me injured and emotionally broken. I was ready to give up on life.” This was Rian’s vulnerable state of mind when came across with Magic Bus India Foundation during a mobilisation drive for the Livelihood Programme.

“Through the Livelihood Programme, I learned life and employability skills like collaboration, communication, problem-solving and self-awareness. I understood the importance of speaking confidently and working with others. I now have a respectable job in an MNC. Through Magic Bus, I found a platform to create my own identity and start my life," shared Rian, his story echoing the resilience of countless others.

India has a 4.88 lakh (Census 2011) transgender population, and only 6% (NHRC) work in private sector jobs or NGOs. Today, there is a beacon of hope as the landscape is shifting. In 2021, Karnataka was the first Indian state to declare 1% reservation for transgender persons in public sector jobs. In the private sector, several firms have implemented queer-friendly policies, to focus more on inclusion.

While opportunities for meaningful employment in the formal sector are opening for transgender youth, it is crucial to ensure they are equipped to secure jobs and retain and grow in them. By providing access to training and support, Magic Bus India Foundation promotes the participation and inclusion of transgender youth in the workforce and society.

24-year-old Komali is a proud transwoman and participant of Magic Bus’ youth Livelihood Programme. Her story began in a small village on the outskirts of Vishakhapatnam.  She was burdened by the weight of always feeling out of place and unwelcome. Yet, she knew nothing of the world beyond her village. With no support from her family and community, Komali decided to leave behind the familiar comforts of her village and embrace a future uncharted.

She moved to Visakhapatnam City where she found shelter with other members of the trans community. But she struggled to find work. Guided by trans community members, Komali hesitantly stepped into the world of begging. Yet, she yearned for a life of purpose, dignity and for a chance to break free from the shackles of societal discrimination.
Through the serendipitous encounter with Shamana, a Magic Bus trainer and member of the trans community, Komali was introduced to Magic Bus India Foundation. In the Livelihood Programme, she found a space where her dreams could be nurtured.

As she immersed herself in the training, she not only honed practical life and employability skills like communication, collaboration and problem-solving but also discovered an immense strength within herself. With each session, she shed her uncertainty and built more self-belief and resilience.

The placement unlocked the doors to her new life. With unwavering determination, she stepped into this new chapter, leaving behind the shadows of her past. Today, Komali stands tall as a beacon of triumph, her life a testament to the magic that can be woven even in the darkest of situations, when compassion and empowerment are offered.

Beyond providing economic opportunities, livelihood skilling programmes foster greater understanding and acceptance of the transgender community. Promoting inclusivity and diversity in the workplace and society can pave the way for a more compassionate and equitable future. The transformative power of livelihood skilling programmes offers a glimmer of hope for India's transgender youth. This is how we can bridge the social divide and empower them to overcome barriers, pursue fulfilling careers, and contribute to a more inclusive society.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                *Name changed