A local charity has launched a religious school for discriminated transgender Muslims in Bangladesh, aiming at integrating them into mainstream society.
Students’ enrolment at the Dawatul Koran Tritioy Lingo Madrasa, which translates as "religious school for the third gender", will begin on Saturday, founder Abdur Rahman Azad told after it was formally opened on Friday in Dhaka.
Students will mainly learn the Koran, hadith - which are the sayings of the prophet Mohammed -, basic Bangla and English, said Azad. He had been privately teaching some 150 transgender people for the last six months, he added.
Transgender people, known as Hijra in the Indian subcontinent, are often marginalized. Bangladesh recognized the group as third gender in 2013.
“The Hijras barely get access to education. They are also the creation of the Allah, and we have the moral duty to educate them,” said Abdul Aziz Hossaini, one of the teachers.
The courses, to be offered as per the government approved syllabus, will be at free, he added. “We will try to turn them into good human resources also through vocational education,” he said.
Hijras mostly support themselves by performing dances and begging but are often considered a nuisance. Many of them are sex workers.
Launching of the school for transgender people will help improve their social conditions, said Abida Sultana Mitu, head of Bangladesh Hijra Welfare Foundation.
“They will not disturb the people on the streets,” she said.