Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has gifted a cluster of houses called ‘Priyo Nir’ to 50 members of the Hijra community in Sirajganj’s Ullapara as part of the nation’s year-long celebrations of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary. The community members have all thanked Hasina for her gift.
Four houses -- each with five rooms -- have been set up on 0.66 acres of land in Dhopakandi area of Hatikumrulup Union.
The Hijras were also given cows, goats, chickens, ducks and pigeons. Some of the cows have already started to produce milk and the community members are selling that milk.
Residents of ‘Priyo Nir’ are growing vegetables around their homes.
Gauri, one of the beneficiaries of the housing project, used to seek alms from people on the road in order to survive. Now, after receiving a place to stay, Gauri is thinking about living a life on her own terms.
Fuljan is another of the lucky ones. She could not rent a house due to her third-gender identity nor could she manage to stay with any family. The prime minister’s gift has put an end to her sufferings and humiliation.
“Nobody would rent out a house to us before. Even if they did, they would charge us extra. Now the prime minister has given us a house and rehabilitated us. We are much better now,” said Sonia, a resident.
Ful, another resident of ‘Priyo Nir,’ said: “No one respected us for being Hijras. Everyone hated us. The prime minister has given us a place to stay. That's why we are much better now.”
Porimoni always wondered why she was born this way and why she could not live with her family. The pain always haunted her. Now, after receiving a place to stay, she expressed her gratitude to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Barsha lost her father at the age of five and became homeless at the age of 15 for being a Hijra and later lived the life of a vagabond. “The people of my village have committed many atrocities. Now our prime minister has given us houses, cows and goats. We are doing very well now.”
"Now, we are all living together in our own home. No one can bother us now. Thanks to the prime minister,” said Kali.
Maya said she has always been the victim of contempt, neglect and humiliation. The prime minister has provided housing to a community which has fallen behind the rest and is trying to integrate it into the mainstream, she said.
The previously homeless Hijras of Sirajganj are now dreaming of starting over. They expressed their gratitude to Hasina.
The government recognised the third gender in 2013 with the aim of eliminating discrimination against them and integrating them into the mainstream society. The gazette was published in 2014. There are currently about 11,000 Hijras in Bangladesh, according to the Ministry of Social Welfare.