Published: 20th January 2021
These transpeople in Karnataka are adopting and caring for children abandoned by their families. This is their story
Nakshatra, a transperson who started an NGO along with her friends, speaks about how they are providing shelter to rescued children and people who have been abandoned on the streets
When Nakshatra was disowned by her family for being a transperson, she knew that it would be difficult to survive in this world with no income, food and shelter. Like many other abandoned transpeople, she too joined their community at the age of 16 and got into begging on the streets in Bengaluru. However, she always dreamt of starting her own non-profit organisation to provide shelter and food to the homeless. Fast forward to 2021, Nakshatra has carved a niche for herself in working for social causes along with Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) also.
Finally bringing her dream to life, Nakshatra along with other like-minded transpeople, started a non-profit organisation called Nammane Summane. She recalls, "When I begged for money on the streets, I couldn't afford to eat or sleep anywhere. I was forced to give all the money earned from begging to the person in charge and I didn't get a single penny. After volunteering with BBMP and gaining some contacts, I volunteered for every initiative in the city and earned good respect in the society. Meanwhile, I also met some like minded transgenders including Milana, Reshma, Soundarya and Silk. We started this organisation for rescued children and homeless people two months ago."
Nammane Summane is the first organisation for rescued children started by transpeople but Nakshatra and her friends faced a lot of challenges. Nakshatra explains, "When we were searching for a rented space to start our organisation, people would reject us openly for the sole reason that we are transgenders. After a lot of hunting, a woman who owned a three-storied building in Gangondanahalli near Tumkur Toll Gate agreed to provide us the space for rent. We rented two separate houses in the same building — one for male and one for female residents. In addition to whatever savings I had, I pledged my jewellery to get some more funds for Nammane Summane. The rent that we pay every month is `12,000 and it is open for people who have nowhere to go."
So what do they provide for those who come to stay at Nammane? "At Nammane, we provide a separate bed, three meals a day, education for kids and personal counselling for people who have been rescued off the streets. Currently, there are 13 people staying with us, eight of whom are kids and the rest includes senior citizens and specially-abled people," says Nakshatra who was inspired by humanitarian and social worker Auto Raja.
According to Nakshatra, they require at least `30,000 every month for various expenses including groceries, rent and medicines but they have never depended on the donations they receive from people. She says, "We can't expect everybody to donate for our initiatives. Our friends who are close to us lend us some money whenever required. Otherwise, my friends work in different jobs and spend a part of their income for our NGO. For instance, Milana works as a beautician in one of the local parlours, Reshma is a tailor by profession and Soundarya works with an NGO. Silk and I spend time taking care of the people at our NGO."
While the team expects a little co-operation from society and help from the government, they continue to work at Nammane making lives better for the rescued children and the homeless. Nakshatra says, "We know that we can't be Mother Teresa but we hope to do our bit to help others."