Centre's shelter home to house over 1,000 Vrindavan widows

The Women and Child Development Ministry is building a shelter home for Vrindavan widows which can accommodate up to 1,000 occupants. The project — reportedly the biggest such facility in the country — aims to improve the existing living conditions of the women. 

The shelter home will be built on a three-and-a-half acre land in Vrindavan at an estimated cost of Rs 60 crore for the destitute women.

Widows, ostracised and neglected by their families, come in large numbers to Vrindavan every year from across the country. 

Around 2,000 of them live in five shelter homes which are in miserable conditions and turn to beggging.

Vocational trainingMore than 1,000 such women are supported by Sulabh International which provides them a monthly stipend, medical facilities and arrangements for vocational training.
 The other shelter homes are run by the state government and lack many facilities.

“There is still very less social acceptance for widows and they are abandoned by their families, particularly in rural areas. We have initiated work for building the country's biggest facility for them in Vrindavan,” a senior ministry official said.

“It will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 60 crore and three-and-a-half acres of land has been identified for it,” he said.

The ministry had sought a report from the Uttar Pradesh government on the living conditions of widows staying in different shelter homes of Vrindavan, which was apparently not found to be satisfactory. Following this, a decision to built the facility there was taken.

“After we understood the concerns and problem being faced by the widows, we decided to go for this project at Vrindavan,” he added.

According to a 2009-10 study on the living conditions of more than 200 widows in Vrindavan conducted by the National Commission for Women (NCW), the premises where the homes are run are over 100 years old.

“The infrastructure is unsuited to the needs of the women who live there as there is no running water in the toilets and old women are required to climb stairs to reach their rooms.

“Inspite of repairs the doors and windows of the building are in a poor condition and during winters, the women complain of cold drafts that lead to constant colds and aching bones,” the study had mentioned in its findings.

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