Greater Chennai Corporation has roped in 10 transgender persons as ‘clean workers’

For Shanu, a transgender, getting a job meant more than just a source of livelihood. It was a means to lead a life with dignity and respect. “We have had no support. But now, through our work, people will respect us,” said the resident of Ernavoor in north Chennai.

Shanu and nine other transgender persons have been roped in by the north region of Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) as ‘clean workers’ under the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM). They will collect waste from houses and promote source segregation among the residents.

Like her, Mageshwari hopes the job will make a difference to the transgender community at Ernavoor. They used to seek alms at shops earlier. “It was in 2016 that the State government allotted nearly 240 houses for transgender people at the tsunami quarters at Ernavoor. At present, there are nearly 100 of us. We face a lot of difficulties. Now, 10 of us have got jobs with the Corporation. We want to prove ourselves through hard work and sincerity. Many more like us should be taken in,” she said.

On Wednesday, officials of Zone-I (Tiruvottiyur) of the GCC launched a new initiative — ‘Clean Ambassadors’. This has been rolled out on a pilot basis in the zone with a total of 3,128 persons identified as ‘Clean Ambassadors’. The transgender persons joined work at the tsunami quarters at Ernavoor. This initiative of taking in transgender persons as ‘clean workers’ (conservancy workers) is being piloted in division-3 of the Tiruvottiyur zone, officials said.

During the launch, 152 ‘Clean Ambassadors’ were honoured by zonal officer Devendran. They pledged to spread awareness of waste segregation and keep their residential area clean.

According to officials, this initiative was taken up for better community participation in source segregation of waste and for better awareness.

P. Akash, Regional Deputy Commissioner (North), GCC, said the initiative of ‘Clean Ambassadors’ was taken up on a pilot basis in Zone-I. “The idea was to take people from the community, say from every street, to promote source segregation of garbage at the household level. This was when a group of transgender persons volunteered to be ‘Clean Ambassadors’. They went ahead and expressed their willingness to work for the Corporation. They were enthusiastic, sincere and wanted to make a difference. So, we have taken them as NULM workers and turned them into a group. They will collect waste from households and promote segregation at source,” he said.

Through the initiative, the official said, volunteers have been roped in — one or two persons every street — to aid the Corporation in promoting source segregation. “We will see how the initiative works. If we get a positive response, we will decide on expanding it to other wards and other zones in the north region,” he said.

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