Since 2014-15, Varta Trust has been informally assisting members of the queer communities in eastern and north-eastern India with accessing skills building and livelihood opportunities through information, advice and referrals to skills builders and employers. We have also been conducting research, advocacy and training to facilitate socio-economic inclusion for the queer communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the socio-economic exclusion faced by queer communities. But it has also strengthened our resolve to move forward on our activities around socio-economic inclusion.

Quote: The Varta Economic Inclusion Mentoring Forum will serve as a platform for connecting queer individuals in eastern and north-eastern India seeking vocational training, jobs and self-employment with a team of experienced social workers, entrepreneurs, government officials and field experts who will provide guidance and direction for accessing various skills building and livelihood options.In October 2020, we started work on setting up the Varta Economic Inclusion Mentoring Forum, which will serve as a platform for connecting members of the queer communities seeking vocational training, jobs and self-employment with a team of experienced social workers, entrepreneurs, government officials and field experts who will provide guidance and direction for accessing various skills building and livelihood options.

To begin with, our focus is on the state of West Bengal. At a later stage we will expand our work to Manipur and Odisha, and thereafter to more states in the eastern and north-eastern regions.

If you are in West Bengal and looking for skills, wage employment or self-employment (starting or improving a small enterprise), please write to Pawan Dhall, Founding Trustee, Varta Trust at vartablog@gmail.com or call our volunteer Sudipa Chakraborty at 99033 92103, Mon-Sat, strictly between 10 am to 12 pm and 4 to 6 pm.

What we can offer at this stage:

– We will first have a conversation with you about what opportunities you are looking for and assess what qualifications, skills and resources you already have.

– Next, we will provide you with support to create a CV or improve an existing one, and where necessary, a statement of purpose (SOP).

– This will then be circulated among our mentors who will provide guidance, advice and references for relevant opportunities. We will help you interact with the mentors so that you can get their inputs directly.

– As far as our resources allow, we will assist you also in taking the next steps of applying for skills building programmes / jobs or setting up / upgrading an enterprise.

– At a later stage, we hope to organize CV-writing and other soft skills training workshops for queer community members, as well as sensitization workshops for trainers, employers, bank officials, and government social welfare officials.

We hope that this initiative sparks much needed dialogue and action towards socio-economic inclusion of queer communities in eastern and north-eastern India.

From the Varta team
June 3, 2021: Our 9th foundation day as a volunteer group

About the main photo: A scene from an exhibition in Imphal organized on January 31 and February 1, 2018 to present Varta Trust’s work on economic inclusion for gender and sexual minorities in Manipur in partnership with transgender collectives All Manipur Nupi Maanbi Association (AMaNA) and Empowering Trans Ability (ETA), ally NGO SAATHII, and the University of Sussex, UK. Read more here. Photo credit: Pawan Dhall