Shelter Home for women in distress
ABOUT PEHCHAN HOME
“Pehchan,” connoting "identity," is Shakti Shalini’s shelter home for women in distress. Women, often with children, travel from all parts of India in search of a safe, secure, and supportive space at Pehchan. It is a small establishment that can house ten, and at most twelve, women (with or without children) at a time. All cost of living of the women and children (food, sanitation, medication, travel, clothes, etc.) and of upkeep of the home is
borne by Shakti Shalini.
The services provided to the survivors will include counseling and crisis intervention, food and nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, security and confidential location, physical and mental healthcare, sexual and reproductive healthcare, legal counseling and litigation aid, skills development and vocational training, educational and income generation support, rehabilitation and reintegration, and follow-up.
The residents are regularly provided with various vocational and skill development classes for eg. Computers, cutting and tailoring, beauty culture, and basic literacy. Creative sessions including theatre, poetry, dance, film screening, painting, art, and craft are also regularly conducted.
For the safety and well-being of our survivors, Shakti Shalini ensures that Pehchan Shelter Home is functional and operative, equipped with basic amenities of food and nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, clothing and personal care products to support women in distress.
The operation of Pehchan includes, at all times, ensuring that the location of the space is not disclosed publicly or to the social relations of the women residing within it so as to ensure security and confidentiality.
The duration of a survivor’s stay at the shelter home is not pre-determined. It is dependent on the need of the survivor as the pace of recovery as well as the situation of each survivor is unique and requires a personalized approach.
Pehchan is able to accept a maximum of 10 women (with or without children) at a time however, exceptions are made in case of a severe crisis or if a woman seeks urgent help post sunset.
Counseling for women and children residing at Pehchan
Professional adult counselors and a child counselor employed at Shakti Shalini provides regular counseling to the women and children residing at Pehchan. The frequency of the counseling will depend on the individual needs and situations of each resident. Depending on the security concerns of the individual resident, counseling is either carried out on-call or in-person at the shelter, or in-person at Shakti Shalini’s Crisis Intervention and Counseling Centre. All counseling is carried out with strict confidentiality protocols and is focused on encouraging independent decision-making and agency in survivors. Counseling is the medium through which the survivor will determine her definition of resistance and course of action in the future, and all other support services will be made available to the survivor by the counselor in accordance with the choices and plans determined in the counseling process.
Counseling begins with the very first conversation the survivor has with the organization and continues for the duration of the survivor’s needs though the frequency of sessions may be changed as per the mutual decision-making between the counselor and survivor. The timeline for counseling is determined individually as per the needs of each survivor.
Similarly, Shakti Shalini’s Child Protection Unit will ensure that the children of the survivors of gender/ sexual violence residing at Pehchan are provided holistic protection, educational, legal, and health support services.
Legal aid to survivors of Pehchan shelter home
Survivors residing at Pehchan shelter home who wish to avail legal aid are connected to Shakti Shalini’s legal partners which include IProbono, Human Rights Law Network, and various individual lawyers. Within legal aid, survivors will first be provided legal counseling to develop awareness about the realities of the legal process and their options. Thereafter, those who wish to take up a legal justice negotiation will be provided complete litigation services. The timeline for legal counseling is limited to 1-3 sessions with a lawyer, however, the litigation process is dependent upon the specifics of the case and the judicial process in accordance with the same.
Physical/ mental/ sexual and reproductive healthcare for survivors residing at Pehchan
All women and children residing at Pehchan receives basic bodily, gynecological, and pediatric healthcare. Consultation, treatment, and medication for any health concerns diagnosed or in the case of specific reproductive decisions by women is supported by the organization generally via public healthcare and, if required, private healthcare.
All women residing at Pehchan will have access to group therapy conducted twice a month by Dr. Shweta Verma, psychologist partnering with Shakti Shalini. Any woman or child at Pehchan who requires further psychiatric and/ or psychological health support will be provided the same via individual practitioners and SAARTHAK, Shakti Shalini mental health partner. Women residing at Pehchan will regularly be provided awareness on sexual and reproductive healthcare by experts and gynecologist, and those who wish to receive detailed sexual and reproductive health counseling will be provided the same through SHOPS PLUS, Shakti Shalini’s partnering helpline specializing in the same. The timeline for health support to residents of Pehchan is bifurcated – basic health checkups and any health crisis intervention required will be provided within the initial weeks of the woman or child’s admission as per the specific health situation, and general health empowerment and support will be provided as per the evolving needs and preferences of the survivor.
Opportunities for artistic and creative expression at Pehchan
Shakti Shalini ensures that a vibrant and creative environment is maintained at the shelter which includes necessary supplies for art and craft, along with creative workshops by volunteers, dance and photography classes. Shakti Shalini’s theatre partner since 1995, Pandies’ Theatre, plays the leading role in ensuring that activist art and performance is conducted in a strategic and focused manner with the women and children at Pehchan including regular public performances through the digital medium and proscenium theatre. In addition to theatre performances, Shakti Shalini also hosts poetry slams, art exhibitions, craft fairs, and performances during the course of the year that provide an opportunity to the residents who wish to display their creative expressions.
It is our observation that art and performance become the most preferred mediums for survivors to begin therapeutically addressing traumas, expressing feels and thoughts, and developing intellectual tools for critical thinking and activism. The timeline for this activity is varied – Theatre sessions takes place thrice a week with minimum two performances in a year. A feminist mela called as ‘Jug mug Mela’ takes place in the months of September-October every year to celebrate the festivities, and in March the women’s day celebration is marked annually by a two-day static and performative art festival. Various fine art, craft, dance, and photography sessions are designed and conducted 2-3 times a week by the internal team of employees and volunteers.
Skills development and educational classes for combating violence at Pehchan
All women living at Pehchan holds a choice to select from various skills and educational courses that include computers, cutting and tailoring, beauty culture, English language, basic literacy, life skills, and notebook making. Computers, cutting and tailoring, and beauty culture courses provided by employed trainers takes place five days a week. English language, life skills, and notebook making classes held by volunteers and partners. All activities merges the skills and information targeted with the creation of a safe space that facilitates conversation on intersections of gender, sexuality, and independence through the sessions.
Rehabilitation and/ or reintegration for Pehchan residents
Through the counseling process, when the resident is ready, a rehabilitation and/ or reintegration plan is developed ascertaining the future prospects and preferences of the survivor. To facilitate the same, counselors assist survivors in applying to educational institutions and advance skills training courses, applying for jobs as well as preparing resumes, email ID, and for interviews, facilitating survivors in acquiring essential identity documents and carrying out self-choice marriages, conducting family counseling for reintegration, identifying rooms or apartments for survivors to take up independent lives and supporting the initial few weeks or months of the transition with housing and travel aid. The timeline for the rehabilitation and/ or reintegration process is dependent on the needs, pace, and situation of the survivor.
Follow-up for Pehchan residents
All ex-residents of Pehchan, post rehabilitation and/ or reintegration, is provided a minimum of one year of follow-up counseling to determine that they are leading safe lives that they have independently chosen without recurrence of violence and discrimination. The follow-up may be on-call, in-person, or of a mixed nature. Ex-residents are also welcome to visit the shelter and participate in the courses, sessions, and events taking place at the shelter if they wish to.
Kargil Park Lane, Jangpura B
New Delhi, India.
Pin Code: 110014