Navodaya Movement - A Ray of Hope for the Transgenders in Kerala.

Navodaya Movement is a project of the Mar Thoma church to help thetransgender community irrespective of caste, color or creed . It is thefirst time in the history of churches in India that a church as a whole hasinitiated a project supporting Transgender.. Through this outreach to theoppressed, the Mar Thoma church is able to live up to its motto "Lightedto lighten". The Transgender Reintegration project in Mumbai started in2014 with the objective of rehabilitating the transgenders to integratethem back into mainstream society. Based on the demographics of theTransgenders in Mumbai, the church identified the need to establishNavodaya in Kerala.


The establishment of Navodaya in Kerala will help curtail the migrationof transgenders from Kerala It is indeed a historical moment for the MarThoma church to set out on this pioneering venture in Kerala. Changesare not possible overnight but the church intends to introduce variousinitiatives in phases over the next 2 to 3 years. Various forms of supportfrom the Government will be required to promote and implement theseinitiatives.



Some of the initiatives identified are listed below:


Shelter Home-


The need for a shelter home for the adolescent Transgenders wasidentified. The church has allocated land in Pathanamthitta districtfor this purpose. This shelter would be mainly catering to adolescentsaged 13 and upward. Ideally, all children should grow up with theirfamilies and the church strongly supports this. The church will counselthe parents and adolescent transgenders to encourage them to completetheir education and remain integrated as a family. However, in caseswhere this is difficult, they will be allowed to become residents of theshelter home, rather than them choosing to migrate out of Kerala. TheChurch will be intervening with the parents, schools and theGovernment to make this successful. The church will initiate admissionto nearby schools for the residents of the shelter home so that they aregiven opportunities to remain in the mainstream with counselingsupport. The church will also arrange for Health / Medical care facilitiesfor the residents. This initiative will help the Transgender adolescentsretain their identity and foster them in an inclusive society.




The foundation of the church is strong when its' ministry is done to thehuman community. As part of this outreach, the Mar Thoma Churchplans to have awareness Programs in all the districts in Kerala andsensitization programs in churches and in secular institutions likeschools and hospitals. The church will also work with variousGovernment and non-government organizations for the advocacy ofhuman rights for the Transgenders and for the creation of livelihoodprograms.


Navodaya Movement has a helpline number 1-800- 3000-5110 toprovide counseling and support services for transgenders and theirfamilies. This helpline is available 24/7 to anyone seeking support.Most Transgenders who have left home have no documentation likeAdhar card and PAN card, The church will work with the respectiveauthorities to facilitate issuance of appropriate documents.


Awareness video


Any discussion on transgenders is generally a taboo in most societiesand any association with them is shunned. Social Media is a proven andeffective communication channel to spread the message across, and forthis very reason, Navodaya is launching a short video to raise awarenessamongst the public and to clear misconceptions about Transgenders.


This video attempts to spread the message that Transgenders are just ashuman as the rest of us, and long to be treated equally and with respectand dignity. This will also be a platform to reach out to the youngergeneration to spread awareness of this cause. This video will belaunched on Navodaya Movement's and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,Youtube and Tumblr websites.


The press was addressed by Rt. Rev. Dr. Geevarghese Mar Theodosius-Dioceasean Bishop, Mumbai Diocese, Rev Abin Srambickal, Rev PhilipGeorge and Preethi Kuruvila.