Mithrakulam - a commune for the lonely

Mithrakulam, started by a 200-member trust, is a home for all — divorcees, single parents, senior citizens, queer and trans people

Published: 08th June 2022 02:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th June 2022 02:35 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Love and care are becoming rare commodities in this world. The situation is such that people find themselves alone even when surrounded by family or friends. Many find themselves at a loss, not knowing what to do, where to go, whom to approach.

“Communes play an important role here,” says Anil Jose, managing director of Mithrakulam. “In today’s world, everyone is secluded. Earlier, there were joint families, then came the concept of nuclear family. But today, we can safely say, it is your own self plus your mobile for company,” he said. 

“However, be it the joint family, nuclear family or your lone self, nobody is happy. Realising this, I decided to study a system called commune. After learning about the functioning of various communes across the world, I decided to start one called Mithrakulam,” says Anil. Mithrakulam respects the personal space of the individuals in it, he adds.

“I have been following the concept for the past five years. The doors to my home were open to everyone seeking respite from the constraints of society,” he says. However, as the days passed, the number of people increased and he had to look for new accommodation. 

“People who had to undergo all sorts of issues in their lives have sought shelter at Mithrakulam. Among them, there are senior citizens, women who have escaped from abusive marriages, people suffering from mental health issues, and those who have suffered gender discrimination,” he explains.

According to Dr Rajany T, general secretary, Mithrakulam, the commune has enough facilities for those living in it. “It is housed in a building at Pipeline Road in Thammanam. The building used to be a boys’ hostel before the pandemic. The Mithrakulam Charitable Trust acquired the 17-room building and today it shelters around 22 individuals,” she says.

The building has three guest rooms reserved for those who are in need of accommodation for a short stay. “The people who come here take care of each other. There is counselling for those who need it,” Rajany says. According to Anil, the commune also has an honest shop providing all the necessary items for the inmates.

“There is a community kitchen, millet kitchen, cloth bank and a toy bank. The concept promotes sharing,” Anil says. Here the accommodation also comes at an affordable rate. “Those who stay here don’t have to do any household chores. We also provide training if anyone wants to start a venture,” Anil says. Same goes for those who want to find jobs.

“For working single mothers, we provide a space and multiple caregivers. We also help those unable to look after their aged parents,” Rajany says. According to Anil, there is no restrictions on practising religion and expressing gender identities. “However, we don’t encourage religious preaching and political activities,” he says. According to him, Abraham Lawrence, son of CPM leader M M Lawrence is an inmate at Mithrakulam.


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