Mumbai: Vashi girl gives launches crowd-funding campaign to help transgender complete education

Updated: 13 February, 2018 09:28 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty | Mumbai

HR professional launches crowd-funding campaign to help transgender Mahuva raise money to complete her diploma course, and find a way out of begging

Mahuva, 38, is a trans woman who left her home in UP after facing harassment by her family

For those who take the Harbour Line every day, greeting Mahuva is commonplace. The trans woman, who stands out for her excellent communications skills, is using the local train route and its passengers to crowdfund her education. Unlike other members of her community who resort to begging, Mahuva is keen to land a degree that will make her financially independent. The 38-year-old is currently preparing for her Std XII exams.

Inspired by her resolve, Tapsi Dhyani, an HR professional, who first met Mahuva on the train, has helped launch a campaign on Impact Guru, to help her fulfil her dreams. The Vashi resident and her friends are leveraging social media platforms to spread the word.

'I don't want to beg'
As a child, Mahuva, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, studied at a reputed private school. But she decided to drop out after class 10 following harassment by fellow students who would taunt her about her sexual orientation.

Later, when her parents learnt that she identified as woman, she was beaten up and locked inside a room for days. Frustrated, she ran away from home and landed in Mumbai. This was over 20 years ago.

Here, she befriended a community of hijras and had no option but to beg to make ends meet.

"For the first time, I did not feel like an outcast. It was peaceful for a while, but, I needed more from life. Being transgender is not a disease; we have nothing to be ashamed of. I didn't want to beg. I want to earn a living," she says.

Mahuva tried applying for a salesperson job, but here too she faced harassment. "I realised that the only way out of this was to arm myself with education," she says. Last year, she joined a private institute to finish schooling. Once she clears class 12, she hopes to pursue a diploma in computer science. However, it's the shortage of funds that's proving to be a hurdle.

"After paying my rent, I hardly have a rupee left on me. But, I won't beg. I have been share my story and my dreams with commuters, hoping they can help. Some of them give me their blessings, others some money," she shares.

Interestingly, Mahuva's story was made into a five-min short titled Mumbai's Mahuwa…Mahuva's Mumbai by Santosh Kamble, and screened at the Mumbai Film Festival in 2016. It won the top honour -- Golden Gateway award -- in the Dimensions Mumbai 2-16 category. Kamble followed her journey as she went about trying to change perception of Mumbaikars about the transgender community.

Tapsi Dhyani, 30, has launched a crowd-funding campaign on Impact Guru to help raise funds for Mahuva's education.

Good Samaritan on a train
Dhyani, who was among the many passengers Mahuva narrated her story to, decided this was her chance to help. "Initially, I personally offered to cover her entire educational expenses, but she politely refused. Life is not easy for her. She wants to study, get a job and live like the rest of us. As a friend, it's now my duty to help her live with dignity," says Dhyani.

The duo has managed to raise Rs 10,000 since handing launched the campaign two weeks ago.

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First Published: 12 February, 2018 19:10 IST

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