KOZHIKODE: The number of working women’s hostels are not enough to house the growing community of working women, say women activists. Though there were initiatives from NGOs and Kudumbasree, they say, there should be an effort by the government to provide housing facilities for women, at a reasonable rate. Though the Corporation had earlier mooted such a plan in Mankavu, near the Reproductive Child Health centre, technical delays are hindering it.
“Timings and hygienic atmosphere are two concerns for working women coming to Kozhikode. There are many jobs that demand late night shifts, and women workers cannot excuse themselves from attending those shifts. Many of the working women hostels do not encourage their inmates going out and coming in during odd hours,” said Dr K.S. Jayasree, Sthree Chethana general secretary.
However, Mayor Thottathil Raveendran, said that the Council was seriously considering the issue and would complete the hostel project in Mankavu soon. “We are studying the project, which was earlier considered by the Construction Corporation. Once the hostel becomes ready, that would, to a great extent, solve the lodging worries of the women in the city,” said the Mayor.
Paying guest accommodations are another option open to working women. However, they say, even there, doors are shut by around 8pm. Wardens and owners, who are also women, say that when they give relaxation for some inmates, others will also seek it.
“Working women, especially unmarried women try to get houses or a portion of a house for rent, so that they can share among themselves. This is one solution for women like us, who are working on late shifts. But, the problem is, many house owners are also not ready to rent out their property to women. They prefer families. So, in the end, they compromise and end up in any cramped room with unhygienic toilets and pay high fees,” said Rini Raveendran, a journalist.
‘Ente Koodu’: haven for helpless women
Constructed on an experimental basis, ‘Ente Koodu’, a night shelter for destitute women, has become a haven for women in and around Kozhikode city, who find it difficult to return home, during late hours. Started on June 29 last year, the home has sheltered 673 women till date.
“Some women who find it difficult to travel back during late hours and are unable to afford lodging in hotels come here. Some others found wandering with children in railway stations and the bus-stand are also brought here by police or autorickshaw drivers. This is the first project in Asia, and being run by the Social Justice department,” said Neethu P.K., house master cum social worker.
Apart from the counsellor, who is also the house master cum social worker, the house has a multi-task worker. The cleaning is being done by Kudumbasree workers, according to Ms Neethu. ‘Ente Koodu’ provides housing from 5pm to 7am the next day. The women have to give their photographs and other details for security reasons.
The shelter has two dormitories that together can house 50 women at a time. Women who have been abandoned by their husbands and left without relatives also can find a temporary shelter here. The building is situated in the premises of the Kasaba police station in Puthiyara. The shelter can be reached on 0495 2723475.