Neha’s story of HOPE

Neha's story of HOPE

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In celebration of Kolkata's first Pride walk in 1999, we share the story of Neha, who found purpose and confidence through HOPE's Beauty Training course.

[Pictured above: participants of HOPE's beauty course]

Neha* lived with her uncle and grandfather, who was the family's sole earner. Neha's father had abandoned the family when she was just six-months-old.

Although assigned male gender at birth, from the age of seven, Neha began to feel that she identified as a girl. She loved dancing with other girls in her neighbourhood and dressing up in her mother's saris. 

Neha began growing her hair in Class 7 and spending time with female classmates. But the school did not approve and she felt forced to leave. Within her local community, Neha also experienced verbal abuse and bullying, and she isolated herself further. She hardly went out to socialise or meet people.

During this time, she began to develop a passion for make-up artistry and longed to do a beauty training course. Neha learned about HOPE's beauty course and enrolled. It was the first place she was not judged or discriminated against because of her look or identity. 

Through the new skills that she acquired, Neha now aims to build a career so that she can help support her family. 

"I have always been discriminated against by my friends," says Neha.

"After coming to this centre, I have found my courage, strength and sense of belonging. Our teacher always encourages us to pursue this course with dignity, in order to attain my dreams and aspirations."

*Name changed

course participants learning how to apply make up
Course participants learn how to apply make-up
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