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Swadhar Shelter Homes to the rescue of women in distress

By Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 16 (UNI) Subjected to severe mental and physical trauma by her son and daughter-in-law, Malathi left her home and sought refuge at Swadhar shelter home at Puri in Orissa.

The ageing matriarch was given counselling and work therapy.

Counselling was also imparted to her son and family members and gradually they realised their misdeeds. Only after her son signed a bond to behave well was Malathi restored back to the family-fold.

In the case of Bharti and her three children, ill-treatment meted out by her husband was the reason for her to leave hearth and home. At the shelter, she was taught to fend for herself by taking up tailoring. Meanwhile, the shelter staff counselled her husband who took his family back.

Malathi and Bharti are among the numerous women who have sought shelter at these homes set up to provide relief and rehabilitation to women in difficult circumstances.

Launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2001-02, the scheme targets widows deserted by families, trafficked girls, former women prisoners living without family support, and women victims of terrorist violence without family or financial support among others, according to official sources.

The women inmates are provided emotional support and counselling so that they can be rehabilitated through education, awareness, skill upgradation and personality development, they said.

As part of the rescue and rehabilitation efforts, home officials arrange clinical, legal and other support for women in distress requiring such interventions.

A 24-hour helpline is available for these women needing succour.

For Neetu, a Nepalese school girl lured into the flesh trade in Mumbai by a friend, her stay in a Swadhar home following her rescue from a brother has equipped her with life skills. She is now studying English and learning computer skills and more importantly, counselling other Nepalese girls caught in her predicament.

Of the Rs 6 crore allocated by the ministry for the scheme during 2005-06, Rs 85 lakh was sanctioned for the north east states. Till February 10, this year, 52 shelter homes and 75 helplines have been sanctioned taking the total number to 129 shelter homes and 124 helplines, the sources said.

In response to the interest evinced by the Tamil Nadu government to set up shelter homes for the tsunami victims, two Swadhar shelter homes have been sanctioned at Nagpattinam and Kanyakumari by the Project Sanctioning Committee last year.

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