As part of our COVID-19 Trans Resilience Campaign, APTN will be highlighting some of our COVID-19 Community Support Fund partners who have stepped up to provide vital support to the community during the pandemic. Read below about our first organisation and how they are navigating the challenges of the COVID pandemic to continue the important work they do.
Name of Organisation:
Basera Samajik Sansthan
Where we work:
Who we support:
Transgender (trans men and trans women) and PLHIV
What We Do.
Our major activities include sexual health, empowerment, documenting and mitigating crisis and advocacy for policy reforms. We provide basic support, advocacy, counselling, linkages to government health services such as legal support, HIV treatment, education and skill development programs
Why We Do It
The transgender community in our country needs to be educated and empowered so that they can fight for their rights and take what’s rightfully theirs as any other citizens including to have a stable job & earnings to live a good & healthy life.
The three most pressing issues facing trans people during COVID-19 in our community…
- Not able to get proper testing
- Lack of knowledge about covid-19 and how to be safe in this situation
- No food and money to buy medicines as all their income generating activities such as sex work, begging and performing has been shut down because of covid-19.
What we did with our grant from the Community Support Fund
We utilised these funds to provide necessary help and support needed by the community, such as organising programs to create awareness, providing medical services to the transgender community including COVID testing, HIV/STI testing and linkages and treatment for PLHIV client. We also supported some people to get employment, legal support and nutrition and food.
Some of our activities supported by the grant included educating 790 transgender people and Hijras on COVID 19 related issues. We supported 196 COVID tests in the trans community of which 27 Trans women and Hijra were found reactive. All 27 reactive COVID cases were admitted to State based quarantine centres as required by law. We at Basera ensured that these people were provided nutritional support and their families were also supported.
During this time of COVID, the government facilities reduced their HIV testing and treatment services for all affected people. Basera continued our programmes to provide HIV testing to our community. During testing we supported 2 newly positive clients to link to ARV centres and initiate treatment. Additionally government ART centres reduced the monthly dispensing of treatment from 30 days to 15 days. With our grant we were able to advocate for these centres to continue to provide 30 days dispensing of ARV treatment to affected trans people in the community. Through this advocacy, we were able to facilitate access to HIV treatment for 65 Trans and Hijra women.
Photo Description: Trans Community line up to receive food rations
What were some of our challenges?
There were obstacles because of the lockdown it was difficult to reach to everyone. Some harassment was also faced from the public, who think we are the source of this COVID-19, in particular when we would go to slum areas to help the transgender community. The biggest hurdle we face is for our identity, mostly hospitals and health care centres require citizenship identity documents in order to provide testing for COVID-19. Most trans women and hijra are assigned male on their ID cards but because we present as women, they do not allow us to get testing.
What we are hopeful for…
During this time, we have come to meet more and more people from our community, people started recognising our NGO and this helps build up a lot of confidence and hope amongst our community for a better tomorrow.
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