Presenting a front for helping the transgender community and often posing as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), social media pages have a knack for getting donations from unwary individuals by creating fake stories full of emotional rhetoric. intended to shed light on the fate of the communities.
Sources with knowledge of the case told The Express Tribune that, contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of transgender relief organizations marching on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were in fact untrue without real NGO status and were therefore collecting funds illegally.
The Express Tribune traced one such NGO to Johar Town Lahore during its investigation; the NGO has claimed in various social media posts that it teaches the Quran to the transgender community and therefore needs funds to advance its cause.
In the recent past, the same NGO had published articles on teaching sewing, embroidery and free distribution of sewing machines to members of the transgender community – for this initiative, they needed the assistance from the general public in monetary terms. When contacted, the head of the alleged NGO conceded that they did not have a registration certificate.
Zainaya Chaudhry, a well-known transgender activist based in Lahore, while confirming the existence of such NGOs, said that these social media pages receive donations from home and abroad but never actually help the community. “These pages do photo ops here and there; this is the reality of their activism.
The government should ban these bogus NGOs and take legal action against those who run them. The Express Tribune has learned from sources that aside from the photo ops mentioned by Zainaya, these NGOs often pay transgender people a few hundred rupees just to get photos which can then be shared on social media for ‘brownie points’. .
The latest scheme circulating is to collect money to provide rations to the transgender community during Ramadan and to give Eidi during the next Eid-ul-Fitr. Guru Aashi Butt, a representative of the transgender community in Lahore, said such schemes are in play to defraud innocent people. “We are already an oppressed community, they should stop looting people on our behalf. The community never sees the millions of rupees these NGOs collect,” a furious Aashi said.
Asked about the upsurge of social media NGOs, the spokesperson for the Punjab Department of Social Welfare said it was illegal to pose as an NGO and then fundraise without any registration with the Department of Social Security. Social Welfare and Home Department. Business. “A list of NGOs registered in the province is available on the department’s official website.
Citizens should confirm whether such an institution is actually registered or not before making donations to them. We will start investigating all fake NGOs after Eid and the FIA will take action against the people running them,” the spokesperson told The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27and2022.