A madrasa has been opened for transgenders in Bangladesh’s capital city Dhaka, believed to be the first-of-its-kind initiative for the community in the Muslim-majority country. More than 100 students of any age can study in the non-residential Islamic school, Dawatul Quran Third Gender Madrasa, at Lohar Bridge Dhal in Kamrangirchar, the bdnews24.com reported. At the inauguration on Friday, 40 transgender people joined.
Besides the Islamic teachings, the madrasa authorities also plan to launch a separate department of technical education for the transgender people.
The government passed a policy in 2013 recognising the members of the Hijra community as of the “third gender”.
The Election Commission allowed the registration of the transgender people as “third gender” voters the following year. They have stood in elections as well.
Abdul Aziz Husaini, one of the 10 trainers at the madrasa, said that it is a memorable day for the entire world because the first known Islamic school for the transgender people has been launched, the news website reported.
“They face deprivation, neglect in society. They can’t even say their prayers at the mosque. They will be given lessons from the Quran now. Their technical education will begin later,” he was quoted as saying.
The trainers are already teaching the transgender people the Quran at eight places in the city, he said.
Mitu, the president of Hijra Kalyan Foundation, said the transgender people would become assets if they could be employed.
Nishi, a 27-year old transgender person from Bikrampur, said she had gone to school and moktob, a community-based Islamic school, when she was a child, but no one allowed her into the school and the moktob when the people came to know she was a transgender.
“I left home when I was 5 to 6 years old. I’ve stepped into a madrasa again after so many years. It’s a moment of immense joy for me,” she said.
She said she liked to do makeup and sewing, and would like to take to these trades if she got the opportunity.
“I want to learn something before entering the job market. I won’t need to look around for a livelihood then,” Nishi said.