Champions of Financial Inclusion

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Finance for Transgenders: Potential for Microfinance

Recently, there was a TV interview of Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, who runs an NGO called ‘Astitva’ to fight for the rights and respect of the transgender community. The interview was quite insightful; she spoke about her experiences while growing up and how differently she was treated because of her sexual choice. However, with the support of her family and friends and her own determination, she is now on her feet and is a reknowned international GLBT activist.

Being in the sector of financial inclusion, I got thinking about the financial angle in this whole process. Though trangenders have found mention in the Indian scriptures since time immemorial; they have been denied respect, dignity and right to livelihood. Due to which, the community is forced to be involved in begging, sex work and entertainment/intimidation to earn their livelihoods. A little search on net showed that apart from some initiatives by Tamil Nadu TAI Vizhudugal Federation, there have not been many efforts made to bring transgenders under the ambit of financial inclusion.

When we talk about financial inclusion, we look at rural population, informal groups, women and now disabled but we tend to neglect other communities who though don’t have much political support or influence, but who at the same time require the services just like any one else to rise above poverty. Full financial inclusion entails everyone but it is not complete if certain sections are excluded.

This situation according to me makes a poor statement about the overall Indian mentality but can spell a huge opportunity for micro-financial sector where new products and services could be designed to meet the specific requirements of the different sections of the population so that they can emerge out of poverty and live with dignity.

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