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इंडियन आवाज़     20 Oct 2021 01:23:29      انڈین آواز

NGO Launches Special Campaign to inoculate high risk Transgender & sex workers


In a week-long dedicated vaccination drive a large number of transgender and sex workers were vaccinated. The drive was part of the initiative launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs to inoculate people from high risk category. The government has roped in NGOs to set up the dedicated centre for the marginalized communities including LGBT and sex workers.

The vaccination centre that was especially set up for the transgender community on September 16 to complete the second dose at the 908 Bus Terminal, New Delhi – 110086, concluded today on 22nd September 2021. The vaccination drive was initiated by Aarohan, a non-governmental organization in association of CFAR and DLSA, NGO Aarohan is known for its work for the welfare of marginalized children, women and transgender.

According to data of national AIDS control program of the health and family welfare ministry at least 55,633 female sex workers and 9, 496 transgender persons are living in Delhi. They are considered members of the high risk groups. Sometime back local media highlighted the shortage of special vaccination centers for people belonging to transgender and sex worker communities. Aarohan played vital role in vaccinating the people from high risk groups.

In a bid to promote vaccination among the high risk groups, the centre government has also exempted people from these communities from carrying seven acceptable identity proofs. What they should have is one active mobile number and a valid identification proofs.

The drive has been highly successful as the response has been overwhelming.

Sonam, 22 is a transgender and also a social worker in her own right. She got her first vaccine 22nd of June 2021 and came to get her second dose done. Recounting her experience she said “I wanted to get the vaccine but for transgender there were no such arrangements. Finally, I got the vaccine”. She was overwhelmed that tears rolled from her eyes. She also said “It’s such a great effort by the organization for the community to organize this special drive. Now my friends can also get their vaccination”.

Manju is a sex worker who lives in Sultanpuri. She was reluctant to get vaccine, but when corona cases increased she got desperate to get vaccinated. She said “I tried to get the vaccination but I was refused as I was not having my Aadhar. Thanks to Aarohan for helping me and getting my vaccination done” she said.

Rukhsana, 36 is a sex worker who has seen her friends die in the second wave in April and so was desperate to get the vaccine. She said, “I tried all channels but couldn’t succeed. I was willing to pay but still I could not get the vaccine as I was not having my documents. Few days back Aarohan reached out during their survey. While sharing this, she was having tears in her eyes.

To do away with the documentation was a high level decision. A senior Delhi government official said the Union government has allowed vaccination of people in high risk groups even if they do not have any of the seven acceptable ID proofs. Only an active mobile number and at least one valid identification proof is required.

Delhi State Legal Service Authority also participated in the drive. “DSLA North West is pleased to be part of Aarohan initiative to vaccinate and spread legal awareness amongst transgender on COVID-19. The initiative is commendable and is much needed,” said Abhishek Kumar, secretary DLSA.

Akriti Sagar, district magistrate (central), informed media that her district just completed one round of the special vaccination drive for sex workers and the second round is scheduled for Wednesday. And that they were conducting a multipronged outreach program for marginalized communities including sex workers and transgender.

Mrs. Rani Patel, Founder and President of Aarohan and member of NHRC core group, said “I am always there to serve the people to support issues related to transgender, sex workers and marginalized communities.

Aarohan is an NGO which is dedicate to providing comprehensive and holistic support through education health care skill training and for the upliftment of underprivileged. Reaching out to the marginalized people is Aarohan’s strong point as it is working with these groups for quite some time now.

Aarohan is also actively promoting the right of transgender and sex workers on various forums. It wants these groups to be at par with the rest. Aarohan undertakes outreach programs for around 1000 transgender in North West Delhi of Mangolpuri, Sultapuri and Nangloi.

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