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Homeless women constitute one of the most vulnerable parts of the society

Homeless women constitute one of the most vulnerable parts of the society with many of them facing hardships because of dearth of facilities that could provide permanent shelter to them.

One case in point is that of Sana Kanwal, an artiste who worked for Radio Pakistan and has performed in several stage plays. Having been divorced by her husband, she decided to earn and live on her own. Her courage to fight for a place in the society suffered a setback when she went down with a diabetic foot.

At 34, she was alone and remained in the surgical ward of the Federal Government Services Hospital (FGSH) for four months where she was totally dependent on the hospital staff. With organisations she served in the past looking the other way during her ordeal, it was the hospital administration that allowed her free treatment for such a long period.

On her request, she was discharged from the hospital after her foot seemed to have healed. Then came the time to find shelter and start up a new life. She was not eligible for admission to the workingwomen hostel for she was not able to work.

The Women Centre agreed to let her in for a month or so although these facilities prefer to provide shelter only to victims of violence, that too not permanent. For Sana, the other choice was Edhi Home but living there meant no access to the outside world because they don’t allow free mobility to women for security reasons. “If I opt to stay there, I would not be able to find a job,” said Sana who is desperate to start earning to make ends meet.

With no money, she cannot go to live in a rented room. “People usually refuse to let a woman in without a family,” she said citing her past experience. “Besides, I have no money,” she said. Her stay at the Women Centre was brief for her foot began to trouble her again.

A Masters in English Literature, she never imagined that this continuous insecurity and misery would become a permanent part of her life. She now fears that the hospital administration might not admit her for she left the Surgical Ward on her own. Truly, she is a woman in distress.
Source: The News
Date:1/28/2008

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