KOCHI: Know someone in your colony who is forced to stay alone? Snehitha, the helpline desk of Kudumbashree, has launched ‘Calling Bell’, where one can alert officials about the presence of abandoned or lonely people in their neighbourhood. Just two months into the launch, the volunteers have identified over 1,800 men and women in the district who live without a friend or family for support.
“Our volunteers have associated with the Janamaithri Police for this project. We visit the ‘support recipients’ every week to ensure they are safe and healthy.
If we find that they are ailing or not keeping well, we take them to the hospital or a primary health centre,” said Jesmine George, counsellor, Women Snehita helpline in Ernakulam. Palliative caretakers are also involved in the project.
The decision to launch such an initiative came after the death of a woman in Kozhikode whose body was discovered only after three days following a foul smell from her apartment. She had been robbed and killed. Officials with the helpline add that there have been several similar cases reported across the state.
“There are many men and women who live alone. For the elderly, it is mostly because their children are living abroad and they have no option but to live alone. In other cases, they are unmarried and have no one for company,” Jesmine said.
In Kochi city alone, there are over 150 people who reside on their own, as per the Calling Bell list. On October 2, the members of Snehita help desk and the Kudumbasree visited these homes and cleaned up their compounds. “We continuously advise them to call us if they have any need. They are opening up to us finally,” Jesmine added.
Snehitha was set up in 2013 and aims to support women from financially-backward families.