On account of International Women’s day, team Urban Tree has meticulously chosen some great women achievers of our country. As we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women on March 8, this is a series of blogs that feature those strong women of India who have made their way up to become successful by breaking stereotypes!
Amidst crushing poverty, sexual abuse, rampant violence and disease and estranged families, Amruta Alpesh Soni battled all the odds to give herself education and the life of dignity!
Amruta Soni is the first transgender to be appointed as an advocacy officer for HLFPPT (Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust) for three states and a Union Territory. For the last three years, she has been working on “Project Vihaan” which aims at improving the survival and standard of living of people suffering from HIV (PLHIV) and especially working with high-risk groups such as female sex workers, men having sex with men, transgenders and injection drug users (IDUs).
Soni, who hails from Kolhapur, has been working as advocacy officer for the Vihaan project in Chhattisgarh since 2013. Economically, she had no support from her family after class ten and was forced to leave home. At the age of 16, she had her sex change. She managed to continue studying somehow and met a man whom she calls ‘Agarwal Bhaiya’ who motivated her and enrolled her in the Indira Gandhi Open University. She fought all odds in the society and graduated with flying colours! Soon after her studies, she was diagnosed to be HIV Positive.
Her Journey to Vihaan:
When the Transgender Alliance Board was getting set up in Maharashtra, she took up the opportunity to volunteer and delivered a beautiful speech about her own childhood and about education reservation. Abhina Aher, National Programme Manager for Pehchan heard her speaking and sent her CV to Vihaan, where there was a vacancy. That’s how she paved her path to Vihaan! Since then Soni has been working for Vihaan which aims at providing care and support to HIV patients.
In a country like India where a woman has to face multiple obstacles to pave her path to success, imagine the agony that has to be faced by a transgender!
She is truly the #PowerWomanOfIndia!