Neelam Jain On Bringing Trans People From The Periphery Of Society To The Core

Neelam Jain On Bringing Trans People From The Periphery Of Society To The Core

Welcome to our section where we bring you stories and conversations with inspirational women. These women have changed lives and given back to the community in their way. Today, Neelam Jain, Founder & CEO, PeriFerry shares her story.

Neelam Jain works with people who are living on the periphery of society — the transgender community. She started her journey with Goldman Sachs and over time, she realised that her job wasn’t fulfilling for her. Within her organisation, which was inclusive of the LGBTQIA community, she joined an ally group. It was while attending events here, she saw trans people on stage and realised that they can exist anywhere. Moved by the sad reality of the exclusion they face from society, she started volunteering more on ground and soon quit her job to start PeriFerry in 2017. 

Four years later, she has expanded her team and continues to work towards creating a world where trans people have equal access to education and employment. She dreams to create a society where organisations like PeriFerry itself become redundant.

In this moving conversation, Neelam talks to us about what made her choose this cause, the challenges she faced while convincing the corporates, her vision for PeriFerry, and a lot more.

Watch the full discussion below.



Timeline Of The Video

0:00 – Introduction

0:46 – Exploring outside her day job at Goldman Sachs

1:52 – Choosing the cause of upskilling transgenders

4:08 – How PeriFerry works

7:35 – Challenge in convincing the corporate

10:34 – Improvement in people’s perspective

“Post 2018, when section 377 was decriminalised, from a larger society’s perspective, one thing became clear that the people who belong to the LGBTQ community can not be abandoned anymore. This went out as a strong statement from the Government of India. That made a huge difference on how people started respecting the community because if your government is decriminalising something, people have to abide by it.”

11:42 – Taking a plunge in her early 20s

14:50 – Rethinking her decision

15:57 – Growth of PerriFerry

16:56 – Identifying the right talent

18:29 – The larger vision for PeriFerry

20:44 – Rapid Fire

21:10 – A pivotal moment of her life

“…I had moved out of an old-school school and went to one of the high functioning schools in our city. It was traumatic to go from an all-girls school to a co-ed school and with the whole culture change that happened. That experience has helped me understand many things about life — about being excluded, about feeling accepted, about feeling belonged, all the things that I work on a daily basis at PeriFerry started back in my childhood.”

22:10 – An impactful instance at PeriFerry

“…This was when we placed Madhushi, a trans woman. Madhu came from a background of about 20 years of begging and working as a sex worker, as those were the only sources of survival for her. When she reached out to PeriFerry for a job, she was still into alcohol abuse. Her family had sidelined her and had no social circle. When we got Madhu a job, it didn’t just get her a job but her social life as well. After getting a job for the first time in her life, she went back to her family and performed family rituals as a woman.”

24:06 – Three Indian women who inspire her

24:35 – Five wardrobe staples

25:12 – A message to the audience

Listen to the podcast here.


All images used are the sole property of Neelam Jain and cannot be used without prior permission.