Kerala, the first Indian state to introduce a policy for transgenders, is inching closer towards achieving its aims. After pension policy, school and job for people belonging to the third gender in Kochi Metro, the state is all set to organise neighbourhood groups (ayalkoottams) in association with Kudumbashree. 
 

The women self-help group that serves as a lifeline for scores of women across the sate will help transgenders form neighbourhood groups with 10 to 15 members who can set up their own ventures and find a livelihood. Women associated with Kudumbashree has ventured into various areas like catering, farming, agriculture and driving among others. 
 

Since transgenders hail from different parts of a district, the group will be registered at the panchayat level. The first one comprising of 10 members will be registered at Kottayam. 
 

The first unit will give necessary guidance for others who wish to form new groups and venture into new businesses.
 

"There are around 350 transgenders in Kottayam district. We chose ten interested persons. In the first step a talk was initiated with the group members to identify their area of interest," district Kudumbashree Mission consultant Usha Devi said. 
 

The programme is launched with the support of district legal service and is believed to help the community come out of their shell, she said. 
 

With initiatives like school for transgender drop outs and neighbourhood groups people belonging to the third gender is believed to get acceptance of society.