This Indian state’s groundbreaking initiative is helping trans community get into higher education

Stock photo of a transgender non-binary person using a mobile phone in an educational institute in India (Getty)

An inspiring initiative from the Kerala State Literacy Mission is helping the trans community in India access higher education and realise their career goals.

Ziya Paval was thrust into the spotlight when she and her partner became the first openly trans couple to become biological parents in India earlier this year.

On Instagram, Paval wrote: “We are about to realise my dream of becoming a mother and (my partner’s) dream of becoming a father.

“From what we came to know, this is the first trans man’s pregnancy in India.”

In an interview with The New Indian Express, Paval spoke out about how she was able to fulfil her related dream of higher education through the Padanaveedu initiative.

“I completed my higher secondary equivalency course and have now enrolled for BA English,” she explained on Thursday (12 October).

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“Padanaveedu provides a good opportunity for transgender people to pick up from where they had to leave their academic journeys due to various reasons,” she added.

Padanaveedu was set up in the district of Pathanamthitta in Kerala as part of the wider Samanwaya scheme, which was launched in 2017 to provide free education for the trans community.

The Literacy Mission also runs special campaigns to encourage more trans people to enrol in courses that provide both awareness programmes and career-oriented training.

Through Padanaveedu, trans people across the state can pick up higher secondary equivalency courses, access accommodation facilities and get a monthly scholarship of ₹1200. 

To date, around 78 trans individuals in the state have been able to complete Class X and higher secondary educational courses through the initiative.

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