Every day, scores of women travelling alone, or with their little kids, end up in scary situations, but no one did care! Until Now! Ente Koodu , novel initiative by the Kerala government has come in as manna for these women. The Department of Women and Child Development, in collaboration with the Thiruvananthapuram District Administration, Police Department and a handful of voluntary organizations, has brought to the fore an initiative that is now being lauded as unique.
Women travelling alone have always found themselves at the centre of a vicious circle of serious violations. Though a matter of serious concern, nothing much had been done to address their plight, for long. The number of women travelling on work or studies or other emergencies has grown over the past years. A safe dwelling place for the night as they land late in cities or towns they know little about is what all of them look forward to.
Ente Koodu, kicked off in 2018, is a night shelter that has been functioning on the eighth floor of the Thampanoor bus terminal in the Kerala capital. Built to accommodate up to 50 people at a time, Ente Koodu is a fully air-conditioned dwelling facility for women who travel to the city on work, for exams and other unavoidable needs. What’s unique about this is the fact that it provides accommodation to women at absolutely zero cost. Further, free food, TV and 24-hour security are tagged along.
Ente Koodu provides safe dwelling for women and boys up to 12 years of age between 6.30 pm and 7.30 am the next day. The facility can be availed for free, up to three days a month. The facility is fully staffed, with two watchmen, a manager, two multi-tasking staff and a cleaning staff working here at any given moment.
Besides the safe night dwelling space on offer, the facility also houses a 24-hour One-Day Home, where girls and boys up to 12 years of age can stay with their mothers for a maximum of three days. It has six cubicles and a dormitory for 25 people. Fully air conditioned, the facility also has a dressing room, toilets and drinking water facilities. This space however is provided for a fee. The dormitory is charged Rs 150 per day and the cubicle at Rs 250 per day. There is no advance booking for admission.
Women who travel alone or with kids just need to inform the staff as to their purpose of travel, at the time of admission. Original ID proof should be produced at the time of admission. Admission is allowed for up to three days in case of emergency.
At the moment, in keeping with the Covid protocols, only 10 people are allowed admission to Ente Koodu, and 7 to the One-Day Home.