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Empowering trans-women in Pakistan

by VISION
Empowering trans-women in Pakistan
Empowering trans-women in Pakistan
Empowering trans-women in Pakistan
Empowering trans-women in Pakistan
Empowering trans-women in Pakistan
Empowering trans-women in Pakistan
Empowering trans-women in Pakistan
Empowering trans-women in Pakistan

Swat during the period:

On November 23rd, 2019, two program officers from VISION, traveled to Swat to observe the awareness sessions conducted by the Swat leadership on Transgender Protection Act, 2018, Basic Human Rights, Perception and its impact, and random walk.

The first session was conducted in the afternoon with almost 10 trans-women at Watki, Swat. Second session was conducted in the evening at Sohrab Khan Chowk, Swat with 10 trans-women. These sessions were led by Imrany and Nadia- the identified transgender leaders, and co-facilitated by programme officers from VISION. The Session started with the introduction of VISION’s work that has been done in Swat and others cities along with the detailed objective of the session. An informed consent regarding the pictures and attendance of the participants was taken.

Participants were asked to introduce themselves. The participants preferred Pashto language as a medium of communication as all of them were Pashto speakers, some of them could also understand Urdu language.

The first activity of this session was norm setting. Participants were told about the importance of norm setting as how norm setting brings normality and smoothness in the flow of session. It gives a space and opportunity to each and every participating individual to benefit from the time and content to its maximum. Transgender participants were told that the importance of norm setting becomes manifold as it guides individuals to behave in a certain expected way in order to maximize the benefits of the group discussion or session.

Following were the points set by the participant as norms for the session:

  1. Mobile phones should be on silent mode
  2. Pay attention and listen carefully
  3. Don’t make noise
  4. Give importance to everybody’s feedback
  5. Respect each other’s opinion

 

The next activity of this session was random walk; the purpose of this activity was to make participants realize their responsibility towards each other in addition to availing opportunities in their lives without meddling into the matters of others.

In the second part of random walk activity, participants were divided into two pairs of each and asked to walk randomly in the given space keeping the above rules of random walk in consideration. One member of each pair was asked to close his/her eyes and the other member was told to move his/her partner around in the given space keeping the rules of random walk in mind. Once done, the roles between each pair were changed i.e. the partner closing his/her eyes was told to now keep eyes open and the other partner was told to keep his/her eyes closed and walk randomly with his/her partner. The participants moving in the given space would stop or freeze on the call of facilitator.

At the end of random walk activity, participants shared their feedbacks which are as follows:

  1. It was a fun and interesting activity
  2. When my eyes were closed I didn’t feel any danger because I blindly trust my partner. I knew she will not take me to the wrong place, because I know her very well.
  3. I felt that I should rush to fill the empty space without waiting for someone else to fill it.

 

The two facilitators from the community then explained in details the importance of trust between partners and how they can help each other to live constructively without being counterproductive.

Perspective building was the third activity of this session. In this activity, the two community facilitators wrote a figure 3 on chart paper and placed it on the floor. Participants were divided into two groups with 5 members in each group. The groups were asked to stand on both sides of the chart facing towards it. When asked, one group responded that they see a figure M written on chart and the other group said that they see W on the chart. Next, the groups were asked to switch the places they were standing in. This time, the first group claimed that they saw W instead of M, whereas the second group claimed that they saw M.

The facilitators asked the two groups as who are right and who are wrong in their claims. The participants responded as follows:

  1. The group standing on the right side of chart says they are right because they see the word from their perspective and we standing on the opposite side of chart see the word from our perspective. So, none of us is wrong.
  2. The shape on the chart looked different when we switched our spaces from where we were standing before. This means both of us are right.

 

The facilitators and co-facilitators explained this activity by giving examples of real world in which transgenders express one perspective of issue to the mainstream, and mainstream explains their point `of view which expresses their perspective.

Responding to the question of facilitator, the participants said that none of us is wrong at this point but we need to understand that issues can be resolved with negotiation while respecting the other person/group’s perspective.

On December 27th, 2019 Team VISION from Islamabad head-office traveled to Swat, KPK to observe the awareness sessions that team Swat was going to conduct with the identified transgender leaders of Swat at their deras.

The first session was conducted in the evening of December 27th at Imrany’s/Laila’s dera. In this session, 12 identified transgender leaders participated. The session was facilitated by team Swat-Nadia and Imrany.

The session started with the introduction of VISION and the participants. After introductions, purpose of the session explained to the participant was that we as citizen of Pakistan ought to know our rights, and VISION, since it is working with transgenders, wants to build the capacity of the transgender at grassroots level, to make them aware of their basic and fundamental rights.

Keeping in mind the attention span of transgenders of Swat, VISION included the following interactive activities in the awareness sessions. The primary purpose of these activities was to enhance their leadership and communication skills.

 

River of Life:

River of life is an activity that VISION has been using to engage the participants in trainings and sessions. This activity is helpful in bringing out the stories of the individual in an interactive style. Participants were told to make their own river of life on a flip chart using magazines, scissors and gums that was provided by the VISION team.

All the participants made their river of life and gave a presentation. Through this activity, some of the participants gained confidence of standing in front of the audience, expressing themselves, telling their stories in a chronological and articulated manner. Most of the participants shared that this was the first time that they got a chance to reflect on their lives especially past and future.

Participants shared that they enjoyed this activity and they also got to know how their peers perceive their lives in spite of being having an unfortunate past.

On December 28th, 2019 Team Swat conducted another awareness session with the identified transgender leaders of Swat on Transgender Protection Act 2018 and human rights. The purpose of this session was to make the participant aware about their basic and fundamental rights that are part of Transgender Protection Act 2018.

On 10th of January, the Program Officer and Accounts Officer of VISION visited Swat once again to observe a two days session that was organized by the two identified transgender leaders i.e. Nadia and Imrany. The number of transgender participants in this session was 8.

The session covered the following topics:

  • First Aid
  • Negotiation with Police
  • Sehat (Health) Card
  • Health and Hygiene

 

The session started with the introduction of VISION and its team. The facilitators of the session introduced themselves and ask the participants to introduce themselves as well. After the introduction session, VISION team asked the participants for their consent to start the session, capturing the pictures and taking the notes of the session. All the participants gave their consent for the requested.

First Aid:

This session started with the emphasis on the importance of first aid basics and linking it with the daily lives of transgenders.

The facilitators gave the example of a road accident and shared the following points that should be taken into consideration when an accident takes place:

  1. Keep calm and don’t panic
  2. Call/contact rescue team for help
  3. Help the elders on priority
  4. If bandage is not available, use a piece of your own cloth as a bandage to stop the bleeding
  5. Splint a broken arm carefully, preferably with a piece of clean cloth

The facilitator further explained that if during a dance function a wrist or an ankle of a transgender is sprained, then it should be carefully handled with a piece of cloth.

Negotiation with police:

Facilitators asked the participants about the police behavior post-training by VISION.

Following are some of the responses from the participants:

  • The attitude of the police with the transgender is good and the behavior of police towards the transgenders is positive now. Before the training, the police used to bother us a lot during and after the functions but now they do not say anything and they let us go to the functions.
  • The police of the city areas who got the training are good in their communications with transgenders whereas the police who are from village areas are still impolite towards the transgenders. They touch our breasts while taking a body search by saying that you have guns hidden therein.

 

Nadia added that we should go to the police station in a group of 3 to 4 individuals whenever a need arises so that police does not get a wrong impression of transgenders going to police stations for protest. She further suggested that we as participants should be mindful that negotiation is important instead of being argumentative, therefore, we should keep in mind that whenever we are going to the police stations for filing any report, we must avoid getting into provocative arguments. Nadia continued by saying that only pre-decided focal person/s will accompany the aggreived party and should share their grievances with the police in a polite manner. This will help building a good impression of transgenders in the mind of the police.

Sehat (Health) Card:

The facilitators explained the Social Welfare Department process of issuing health card to transgenders. The facilitators mentioned that health cards are for those who are suffering from major disease. Only one person from a family can get a health card issued which can then be used by the entire family. She made it clear to the participants that health cards are only issued to those who live below the line of poverty and the issuance of health card is done through a proper assessment process. Nadia further added that sehat cards have one year validity.

Health and Hygiene:

Nadia volunteered to add the content regarding health and hygiene. Nadia, who had earlier attended sessions on health and hygiene, was motivated to share the related information with her peers by taking advantage of the session.

Nadia proceeded by throwing light on the importance of health and hygiene in the daily lives of transgenders leading to a healthy life. Nadia shared that washroom are used by random people on deras, therefore, washrooms should be cleaned twice a day to prevent the spread of disease. Hands should be cleaned and washed properly and thoroughly after using washroom, and taking showers should be taken frequently during the week.

Nadia also shared that contaminated water is one of the major cause of the spread of disease and suggested that clean water should be made possible for drinking by boiling and filtering the water. She also added that we can contact water sanitation officers in case the water in taps is polluted. She emphasized that health is wealth and the usage of clear and clean water should be our priority in life.


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03 Days Theatre Training:

 

On October 30th, 2019, VISION conducted a three days theatre workshop in which the 10 trans-women from the theatre team of VISION along with Multan staff were brought to Islamabad. The purpose of this workshop was to develop a theatre play for the transgender community which brings unity between the transgender community and reduces the gaps that have been highlighted in the research that VISION had conducted.

 

On day first of this workshop, the entire focus was on developing a story for theatre. The first story that community theatre participants had developed was very much victim narrative in which chelas are supposed to as victims and guru were shown as a greedy person.

 

VISION was keener to develop a story that shows the old-age relationship of guru chela where there is a lot of respect of a guru and guru treats their chelas as their children.  This idea was shared with the theatre participants and they agreed with the suggestion of VISION that instead of showing negative parts of the community, we should reflect the positivity of this relationship. The participants had decided that through this performance they will highlight the advantages and effectiveness of this relationship and will show the necessity of this relationship so that the gaps between the relationship of guru and chela get minimize.

 

One the second day of this workshop, theatre participant started rehearsal on the story that they have developed on day one. As this group was already trained by VISION in one of its previous projects, therefore, VISION had not to puts its energy on dialogue delivery, voice range, expression, etc. The areas that VISION has to work upon is to trained the participants in stage positioning and movement on stage because this group previously had performed a street theatre in which angle and movement are not important whereas in this theatre these things are important as they have to keep in mind that the audience is only sitting in front of them and their faces should be visible to the audience so that audience can clearly see their expression and hear their voices while performing this theatre.

 

On the third day of this workshop, theatre participants had finalized their theatre play and do a mock rehearsal in front of the management staff of VISION. After this rehearsal, the theatre team went back to Multan for purposes of performing theatre at the living spaces of the female transgender community of Multan.

 

02 Theatre Performances in Multan:

 

On November 9th, 2019, the theatre team of VISION conducted two theatre performances at deras on different locations. The first performance was conducted in the afternoon in which 25 trans-women viewed this theatre. 

The second performance was conducted in the evening in which 35 trans-women viewed the theatre.

After watching the theatre, the following is the feedback by the audience:

  1. I liked the way you have shown how guru and chela should live, they should cooperate with each other. I liked the theatre very much.
  2. I liked it very much. This theatre reminded me my parents. I want that guru should treat their chelas like their children and chela treat their guru as a parent and this relationship should be very strong
  3. I have learned that guru should respect chelas and chelas should respect their gurus

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VISION team: Guru Mumtaz, Asad (Mahi), , Qasim Ali, Abdul Qayyum, Tahir Khilji

Date: 26-September-2019

Submitted by: VISION

   

Police Training in Multan

 Multan is one of the largest cities in the Southern part of Punjab province of Pakistan and has a population of approximately 2000 to 2500 transgenders living in different parts of the city. The need for police training arose from the complaints regarding police behavior towards transgender population and harassment of transgender population were communicated by the local transgender population of Multan. The training was conducted by using the police training manual developed by VISION for purposes of sensitizing the police force on basic human rights of transgender population and the Transgender Protection Act 2018. Along with the manual, VISION also developed two posters that are described in the later part of the report.

The manual was developed by VISION on the request of National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) and the Islamabad Capital Territory Police (ICTP). It was funded by a Washington based group. The cover page of the manual and both the posters can be viewed in the attachment.  

 The police training in Multan was conducted in collaboration with Punjab Social Protection Authority (PSPA) and the local administration of Multan.

In total there are 32 police stations in Multan but for purposes of training 9 police stations that were named by the local transgender population as the monitoring stations of the cruising sites, streets where mostly begging is done and the neighborhoods where generally the transgender population resides.

In addition to this, the local transgender population reported these police stations as the most problematic police stations for them.

The immediate response of the training was excellent and the police force, encouraged VISION to hold a similar training for the larger police population in Multan along with a request to come back for a follow-up.

The transgender community members volunteered to take the two posters developed by VISION; one poster illustrates the basic human rights of citizens of Pakistan under the Constitution of Pakistan with special emphasis on transgender population, and the second poster illustrates the duties of the police while dealing with the transgender populations, to each police station and hang the posters themselves at all the 9 police stations participating in the workshop. The police happily agreed and welcomed them to visit the police stations for purposes of hanging the posters.

Soon after, some of the transgender community members from Multan in one of their travels to VISION’s head office reported that there is a marked change in the attitude of the police personnel from these 9 police stations. However, VISION still has to conduct the two month evaluation process of this training in Multan.


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Poster Launching on IDAHOT Day at NCHR                                                                 

The two posters designed for purposes of sensitizing police force, one on basic human rights of transgender populations under the Constitution of Pakistan and the second poster is on the duties of police towards transgender population. These posters are now on display in 121 police stations of Islamabad along with at a very prominent place in the office of the Inspector General Police of Islamabad, Pakistan.

One of the major achievements of VISION during this period is the development of the content on training and sensitization of police on basic human rights and the Transgender Protection Act 2018; it’s pretesting with the police personnel, launching and finally training 135 police officials who directly deal with the transgender population on daily basis.

The content is in a training manual format. The trained police officials can use the manual to further train and sensitize their peers on basic human rights and Transgender Protection Act 2018.

The training was conducted for three consecutive days with 30 to 40 participants on each day. This training also provided the transgender Youth Council (YC) members from Multan in Pakistan to facilitate some of the exercises in the manual. Otherwise too, the transgender YC was involved in this process of developing the content and pretest it. Some of the transgender YC members, especially requested VISION to attend the launching ceremony of the manual held at the Islamabad Police Training Academy.

https://www.facebook.com/islamabadpolice/videos/2114539472169905/

VISION considers this as one of its defining moments because it was requested by National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) to develop the manual for training the police officials of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). In addition to this, Islamabad police and its high officials thanked VISION for this effort and assured the organization that they would continue to engage with VISION on matters of human rights and Transgender Protection Act 2018, whenever needed.

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VISION team:

Guru Mumtaz, Asad (Mahi), Saima, Qasim Ali, Abdul Qayyum, Tahir Khilji

 

Date:

4/2/2019

 

Meeting with select Youth Council Members

 

This meeting was held in Islamabad at VISION’s office in the 4th week of January. The need of the meeting was identified by team VISION in Islamabad after reviewing the final draft of the activity plan of the Youth Council (YC).

Thus, it was decided to bring in four YC members to Islamabad and have them complete the activity plan. During the two days that four YC members were in Islamabad, following issues were discussed at length along with completing the work-plan

 

  1. Strict compliance of the Code of Conduct
  2. Safety & Security plan for each activity
  3. Reinforcement of maintaining confidentiality on matters linked to interpersonal communications between the members as well as of the activities of the YC
  4. Conflict of interest- if any YC member/s is/are employed and have similar or close to similar job description as required by the designed activities of the YC; keeping the outcomes of the activities distinct and separate from each other and not reflecting the results of YC’s activities as an outcome of the activity under employment
  5. Importance of developing a Detailed Implementation Plan (DIP)
  6. Strict compliance of the financial policy of VISION and utmost transparency in all expenditures made

 

 Youth Council Members invited to a safety and security workshop

 Bytes for All, a partner organization of VISION, requested to nominate two participants from VISION to attend a 5 days comprehensive training on physical and digital security in Islamabad at two different points in time during this quarter. While Mahi participated in the first workshop, Momi, a YC member benefited from the second five day workshop.

 Activities of Youth Council Members during the Quarter 

Following are some of the activities conducted by YC during this quarter:

  1. One YC meeting each month i.e. three in total during the quarter, Team VISION observed and supervised these meetings (Minutes of meetings are available if required)
  2. Four SRHR awareness sessions in the community conducted by YC members as per activity plan. Team VISION assisted the YC members in this (Reports of sessions are available if required)
  3. One day workshop on Stigma conducted by YC members as per activity plan. Team VISION assisted YC members in this activity ( Report of this workshop is available if required)
  4. 3 days Safety & Security workshop conducted by team VISION in Islamabad for the entire YC in lieu of the YC’s activity on sensitization of Police in Multan

All the activities planned for the quarter were completed by the YC members except the Police sensitization activity. The reason for not holding the sensitization meeting was absence of any security plan of the YC, upon which time to time reminders were being sent to the YC but the members were unable to furnish an acceptable security plan. Thus, it was considered essential that the YC members come to Islamabad and prepare their security plans.

The urgency of the matter was noticed by team VISION Islamabad when one of the YC members late one night called Islamabad in a panicked situation, reporting that his Facebook and other accounts were hacked and that he was very scared. The individual was immediately referred to Bytes4All who calmed him and provided him the guidance that he needed.

In an another situation, one of the younger members of YC was in a high-anxiety condition and had gone through heart checkups as well, the background information on the condition as per some of the field team’s reports was blackmailing by random TG community members of outing the YC member to his family. Thus, it was decided that an immediate and urgent comprehensive training on physical and digital security should be arranged for the YC members to understand the importance of safety and security. This training was conducted in partnership with Bytes4All.

 

Other issues resolved during the Quarter:

  1. In future there will be a coordinating body instead of lead and co-lead. This coordinating body will be on revolving basis so that all of the YC members get the chance to participate in the coordination and decision making of YC activities, in addition to sharing responsibility and acquiring skills of developing activities as well as report writing
  2. That all the security plans will be strictly followed by YC members and they will reduce their vulnerability through safe and secure sharing of pictures and online information about themselves
  3. The YC members now have individual as well as group security plan/s that they can follow for purposes of maximum security.

 

Youth Council Members encouraged to apply for Out of country workshop through VISION’s networks

VISION is a member of Centre for Sexual and Bodily Rights (CSBR) in Muslim societies. The YC members were encouraged to apply for a training workshop, the information of which coordinator of CSBR shared with VISION.  

The two day workshop with VISION’s Youth Council Members on matters related to activity plan, code of conduct for the youth council and finally the safety and security protocol for the youth council

On the first day of the workshop, team VISION mostly reflected on the activity plan of the youth council. Some of the key issues that were explored during the session were as follows:

  • Whether the entire youth council has enough knowledge and understanding of the planned activities and if so what exactly do they understand by each activity and if not how can the team assist for them to clearly understand the objective and impact of the activity upon the council as well as the larger community that they were going to reach out to.
  • It was also discussed in detail how each activity was designed by the council members and once the activity was designed, how did they foresee to execute the same activity i.e. highlighting the methodology of execution of the activity
  • Since the council had already created a hierarchy within their system, team VISION reflected upon it and tried to understand the need of hierarchy as well as its positive and negative impact upon the smooth working of the council. The team VISION used the council’s conversation as a starting point for giving their own inputs on how a more democratic and inclusive council with decision making through a consultative process may provide better results along with trust-building, professionalism, negotiation skills and conflict resolution among the council members as a bi-product of the entire process.
  • Team VISION introduced the council members to the framework of Detailed Implementation Plan (DIP) of the planned activities that includes Activities, Activity Detail, Modes of Verification, Responsibility of individual/s conducting the activity, Indicators and Timeline. Budget detailing i.e. break down of total budget available against each activity with proper heads such as: travel, refreshments, activity cost e.g. stationary, venue rental etc, was also explained to the council members. At the end of this session, a sample DIP of the activities was developed by the council members with an understanding that the same sample would be improved upon after the workshop by some of the group members who voluntarily agreed to take this responsibility upon themselves
  • The session on Code of Conduct was a brainstorming session. It was mostly the participants i.e. the youth council members who provided their input as to what would be a mutually agreeable code of conduct for all of them as part of council members and if they were not conforming to any or all agree upon points then how would they take care of the matter. In addition to this, team VISION reemphasized the importance of code of conduct for the group and its smooth working for next one year
  • Realizing the importance of safety and security of each council member separately as well as of all of them collectively another brainstorming session was conducted with the council members and it was the council members who spelled out their own vulnerabilities that made them the target for possible threats-internal as well as external, including what would be some of the capacities that would reduce the vulnerability and prepare them better to deal with threats. In this session, the importance of confidentiality of space and content was highlighted by team VISION, further adding that sometimes conversations and discussions can be used out of context and are blown out of proportion that can be hazardous for the youth council. In other words, “what happens within youth council remains within youth council”

 

 

                                                           

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Organization Information

VISION

Location: Islamabad - Pakistan
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @The Global Fund for Children
Project Leader:
Tahir Khilji
Islamabad, Pakistan
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