MINGORA: More than 70 women and their children are staying in the lone shelter home (Darul Aman) of Malakand division which has accommodation capacity for 40 women only.
The inmates say that they face multiple issues in the shelter home but authorities concerned are least bothered to pay attention to their problems. The shelter home, situated in Mingora, caters to the needs of needy women of seven districts of Malakand division.
“There are only four rooms for more than 70 women where they have been accommodated like animals in a stable. Most of the women have health issues but they are neglected and there is no system for cleanliness,” said Tabassum Adnan, the chairperson of Khwendo Jirga, after visiting the shelter home.
Several children are also staying in the shelter home along with their mothers. The future of such children is at stake.
Apart from elderly and mentally retarded women, some teenage girls also stay in the shelter home.
“I have come out of my home as my family was not allowing me to get education. I want to get higher education,” 16-year-old Sidra told Dawn. She said that lack of space was major issue in the shelter home. “There must be separate bed for every woman and girl staying here,” she added.
The women staying in the shelter home said that there must be several toilets and washrooms and proper system of cleanliness in the building. “There are only two toilets in the shelter home and we have problems with the mentally retarded women living with us,” said a woman, who wished not to be named.
Most of the women said that they were suffering from skin diseases owing to lack cleanliness.
The children staying in the shelter home along with their mothers also said that the rooms were small and the building was congested.
“My father would beat my mother and would not take care of me so police brought us here. Although we get food yet the building is small and I am not happy here,” said 10-year-old Afsa. About 10 staff members including four women and six men work in the shelter home. “There must be another warden to take care of the hostel,” said Nosheen, the warden of the shelter home.
District Social Welfare Officer Rahtullah Khan, who is also the superintendent of the shelter home, said that he was searching for new building with enough space and once he found 15 to 20 rooms building he would hired it immediately.
He said that there should be a permanent building of the shelter home, properly designed for the purpose with hostel, waiting rooms, guestrooms and vocational centres. (Courtesy by DAWN)