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
Empowering trans-women in Pakistan

Project Report | Mar 23, 2020
Awareness Sessions With Female Transgenders

By Tahir Ali Khilji | Executive Director

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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Organization Information


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

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