In India, every year, thousands of LGBT+ students are dropped out of schools and colleges after they come out of the closet i.e., they reveal their identity to society. Every individual in this country has the right to education and so do the people of the LGBT+ community. Harassment, violence, and bullying are the major reason for the LGBT+ community to stop or hold their education, which leads to lower self-esteem and productivity and lower outcomes which later leads to employment discrimination. This creates a lack of employment generation for the LGBT+ community.
Although our country may boast of having a modern and liberal society, some communities like the LGBT+ community tend to get overlooked due to various factors like pre-existing bias, financial constraints and so on. However, the main obstacle this community faces is the lack of employment generation. This discussion explained not only the issues of employment faced by the LGBT+ community but also various other issues that create a gap between this community and the Normative Society, along with how to overcome them.
To battle this scenario, Juana Foundation hosted a Live Discussion on the “Status of employment of the LGBT+ community and the need for adequate skills for the same.” This discussion was hosted on July 1st, 2022, at 3 pm by the organizers of Juana Foundation. There were some esteemed speakers, in this discussion, who were all experts in their own fields. The Speakers were as follows: Mrs Swati Ganguly (President of Juana Foundation and Co-founder of Juana Technologies PVT, ltd., and Edufiq technologies), Dr G. Mahesh (Professor, Dept. of Social Work, Indira Gandhi National Open University), Dr Mrinalini Anant (Principal of M.G. World Vision School, Muzzafarnagar) and Miss Nikki Chawla (Model, Actress, TEDx Speaker and Anchor).
Before the actual discussion started, a short introduction to Juana Foundation was stated. It is a not-for-profit organization thriving on the motto ‘Reach-Teach-Inspire’ and thus is driven toward reaching out to the maximum people in need of empowerment and development, teaching as many minds as possible in skills to lead life and achieve livelihood and inspiring as many stories as possible to find a direction towards fulfilment and sustainability.
The thematic areas that Juana Foundation team aims to focus all their projects on are Education, Environment, Health, and Gender while still not ruling out any contribution to other aspects of development if need be. To date, Juana Foundation has initiated 4 projects – Nawal, Navya, Vriddhi and Unnati. These projects target different areas of the society in accordance with the thematic areas. By doing so, the Juana Foundation team believes that not only can they help these unseen people towards progress but also inspire them to always have hope and live with their heads held high. This was their way of giving back to society.
This discussion was held in a format where the speakers first spoke about their point of view on the topic of discussion. These candid speeches revealed many layers to the main issue defined within the discussion topic. This is also illuminated many problems and pathways for the progress of the LGBT+ community. After these enlightening speeches, the question-answer round started with the presenter asking pointed questions to the speakers to reveal the hindrances on this community’s path towards progress. The answers given by the speakers also gave insights as to how to overcome these hindrances.
Although there were areas when the speakers became emotionally charged, the overall discussion clearly defined the topic of the day i.e., the “Status of employment of the LGBT+ community and the need for adequate skills for the same.” This discussion fielded speeches pertaining to not just the employment status of the LGBT+ community but their overall upliftment, from the children to the adults. To support them in every way possible so that they may live their life in a self-sufficient and sustainable manner. Juana Foundation helps them to do so by providing them with hard skills, soft skills, and professional grooming. Along with these, digital literacy courses are also offered because Juana Foundation believes that technology is the need of the hour and that this digital literacy certification will help them later in their lives.
It was a heart-touching and enlightening discussion. Heart touching, because there were points when the discussion would take an emotional turn and touch the hearts of the listeners and enlightening because there were some points that were unknown before and came as a surprise to the audience. Moments when Miss Nikkiey Chawla recalled her childhood and her past struggles were truly heart-rendering, as were the moments when Mrs Swati Ganguly and Dr Mrinalini Anant recalled their interactions with the members of the LGBT+ community. Dr Mahesh came with a fount of knowledge explaining the various policies that have been recently put into place for the safety and upliftment of this community. This discussion showed that if like-minded people were to join hands for a cause, even a previously neglected community can gain much-needed support and encouragement.
To encourage this, Juana Foundation has started a new initiative – Project Unnati that specifically targets the LGBT+ community. This project was further explained by Mrs Swati Ganguly that in Project Unnati “Unnati” means upliftment. It is not only about teaching them, but also trying to understand them and their struggles. At the end of the discussion, there was a happy announcement that Juana Foundation is opening a Unnati Skill Development Centre in collaboration with MG World Vision School, Muzaffarnagar. A hearty congratulations and best wishes for this new venture.
Thank you so much. will surely try to break the stigma by talking and working more on this issue.
An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but typically folks dont discuss these issues. To the next! All the best!!