Great Companies- When and how was the idea of Kineer Services Pvt Ltd incubated?
The plight of the Hijra Community (Third/Neutral gender) is not hidden from anyone but still no/ very little action has been taken towards providing a sustainable employment/ income source for them. They are left with a choice to either beg on the roads or to indulge in Skin Trade. It was surprising to see that the grants too were only focused in ways of distributing condoms or taking HIV/ safe sex sessions. Which we feel is just another way of labelling/ approving their indulgence in skin trade.
During my tenure at the healthcare industry I faced a unique challenge - Providing male attendants for male patients and female attendants for female patients. This would drastically increase my manpower cost for GDAs. This led to a thought - ' Could two issues self-correct if merged' What if we hire the third gender which could not only resolve this issue but also assist in the paradigm shift for them being treated as care givers henceforth. A person with the strength of a man and a heart of a woman, who could lift a stretcher if required and also mother a patient if needed. Same applies to washroom attendants - Male for Male and Female for Female - wouldn't the neutral gender be the perfect fit?
'If not NOW then WHEN?' and 'If not US then WHO?' were the questions that led to the initiation of Kineer Services. We at Kineer believe that our community has gaps where the Hijras can fit perfectly. For example at India it is considered unsafe for a girl/ lady to travel by a cab/taxi alone. Our question is why the cabs of the leading taxi service companies can’t be operated by the members of the third gender. This would not only eradicate the concern of safety for women travellers but would also provide a dignified employment opportunity for the Hijra. Call centre placement was also one area that could be worked upon.
Great Companies- Article 377 has been abolished, what do you have to say about it?
Abolishing Article 377 is a major step in acceptance of the community but still there is a long road ahead. Focus is now required towards changing of mindsets and ensuring that equal opportunities are now provided not just by the govt. but by the private sector. We understand that lots need to be done in terms of capacity building and sensitization. Even easing the formalities of specification change in terms of Adhaar, PAN etc would assist in fast tracking placements.
Great Companies- There is still a lot of stigma attached to transgender, how do you think it can be addressed and removed?
Mindset change is the biggest hurdle when it comes to mainstreaming the community. Challenges are to be met with a very open mindset not just from external environment but also by the internal traditions of the communities. Open forums of discussions have been initiated at companies with formation of POSH and Pride circles but they can only gain traction when the mission of mainstreaming the community is taken up in the company’s mission and vision and in their CSR mandates. Showcasing of initiatives such as ours would also play a big role in understanding the urgent need for everyone to be inclusive. But true change can only come once everyone aligns to the removal of this social evil and is willing to open their own blindfold. Media plays a very important role and a focused approach by the govt. can bring about a paradigm shift in due course of time.
Great Companies- Kineer Services Pvt Ltd offers a lot of services from education platforms to cosmetic range. How do you manage such different domains which are not at all related?
Passion is the only thing that can make everything easy. Once your heart is set on brining the change, this passion resonates with others and resources start to come together. You would be surprised to see how all these initiatives are intertwined. If we talk about Kineer Services, the focus was on mainstreaming the community whether it was placing the members in our own factories or whether it was training them to fit roles with other companies who were willing to take them on board. Our education platform works on a reverse integration model, wherein members are trained on the subject matter according to the Job Profiles shared by the company who are willing to hire. Partners such as Diversey India came forward to conduct these capacity building sessions and Partners such as Essar foundation came forward to support the daily wage loss during attending these workshops. Together is another word that makes every problem solvable.
Great Companies- You are working towards forming a 'KINEER NATIONAL CRICKET TEAM', please tell us something about it. Also, what do you define as success?
Talent comes in all forms. We saw the same in the members and wished to enhance their own passion rather than creating another mould of conformity. It is only once we as a society see the community excel in all walks of life will the blindfold start to loosen its grip. Acceptance only in one area will create further prejudice so we at Kineer believe that we need to explore all possibilities of acceptance and mainstreaming. Success for me is when you are able to enlighten the flame of your passion with someone else, because that is the only way that a vision can be everlasting.