Education is the passport to the future, but what happens when that access is denied to a few, based on their gender identity? With its mission to bring inclusion to the marginalised LGBTQIA+ communities, Keshav Suri, the executive director of The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, launched fully paid scholarship for trans students at The Lalit Suri Hospitality School in 2019, under the aegis of The Keshav Suri Foundation. The Aditya Nanda Scholarship in Food Production and Bakery is awarded to deserving candidates after a screening process and will cover the entire tuition fees and campus boarding.
As the first batch three scholars complete the course, the foundation and hospitality group are proud of their journeys. Two of them are placed at The Lalit New Delhi – Transman in Bakery and one in F&B Services. “Education is a basic right and incredibly important to lead a respectful life. We want to help this marginalised community stand on their feet and with this scholarship, we hope some will earn a comfortable living. It will also remove phobia prevalent in society about transgender,” says Mr Keshav Suri who started the scholarship.
Last Year due to the pandemic there were hardly any applications and only one scholar was selected. This year the scholarship wants to support more students for this scholarship. Applications are opened both offline and online. Any self-identified LGBTQ+ individual who had a minimum of a 12th class degree and is aged below 25 years could submit their candidature for the scholarship.
The Keshav Suri Foundation has been undertaking regular sensitisation sessions with the students at the school and have also invited gender experts to build a safe space before having queer students join in. The school aims to produce professionals with life skills such as integrity and honesty, and respect for every individual even if they are different from you.
Ironically, the only challenge was in finding students. With the shame attached to being a transgender, only a few mustered up the strength to reach out. Also, many didn’t have a school degree owing to discrimination, therefore they couldn’t apply for this under graduate programme.