Abandoned by their families, the members of transgender community in Pakistan usually wander on streets to collect money for their daily expenses. They are invited in ceremonies for entertainment purposes and for that reason they are the most vulnerable to harassment and bullying in public spaces.
Unlike others, Rani Khan from Islamabad has chosen a different path after devoting her life to the religion as she initiated the madrasa (Islamic school) for the transgender community.
The madrasa is considered as an important development for the community which faces social isolation, however, there is no official restriction on them for attending religious schools or praying at mosques.
According to Rani Khan, she was disowned by her family at 13 and forced into begging.
During her interview aired by the HUM News on Dec 28, 2020, the 34-year-old transgender recalled how one incident of her life changed her mindset. She said that one day one of her deceased friend, who was also a transgender, had come to her dream and asked her to pursue a religious cause.
“We (Rani and her deceased friend) performed dance for 15 years together (before her friend’s death),” Khan said during the interview.
In her childhood, Khan attended religious schools and studied Quran at home before being abandoned by her family. Now, she has opened the two-room madrasa in October, 2020.
According to the Reuters, along with some donations, Khan is also teaching her students how to sew and embroider, in hopes of raising funds for the school by selling clothing.
“Transgenders are either abandoned or they run away from their families and are exploited by ‘Guru culture‘ since society doesn’t accept them,” Khan told HUM News.
Rani Khan now believes that her madrasa could help the transgender community integrate into mainstream society.