Founder & CEO, PeriFerry
Founded in 2017 by Neelam Jain, PeriFerry is the first-of-its-kind social enterprise in India that creates employment and upskilling opportunities for the transgender community. The organisation also promotes LGBTQIA inclusion in the workplace. "Our name comes from the word 'periphery' - meaning the edge. We use this word to refer to those who have been pushed to the fringes of the society and how we as facilitators could ferry them to their desired destinations," says Jain.
Over the years, PeriFerry has placed over 170 transgender individuals within various organisations. It has also assisted companies and institutions become truly inclusive through sensitisation and awareness. "On one side, conveying the alternative means of livelihood to the community has been a big challenge. On the other, it is the community that drives us. We have been able to sensitise over 19,000 employees across the country," adds Jain.
The foundation of PeriFerry is based upon the realisation that although there were a few LGBT organisations in India, there was a definite need for an approach that worked on truly uplifting the socio-economic conditions of the trans community. "A major portion of the trans community earned their living through begging and/or sex work. Social stigma and prevalent discrimination made it extremely difficult for them to access comprehensive corporate training and pursue mainstream careers. Even those at the workplace lived in fear of losing the job in case their identity was discovered," says Jain.
Three years ago, Jain's intention was to create jobs for the transgender. Little did she know that this whole journey would become an experience in itself. "We may not always be aware of the secrets of the universe but what we can do in our existence is to give, become more compassionate and kind to another being," says Jain. With an intent to shape a future that embraces people as they are, Jain hopes that it would not require the efforts of an organisation like Periferry to solve these problems.