COVID-19 increasing the vulnerabilities of homeless young women

Deepali Vandana
Posted March 20, 2020 from India
COVID-19 increasing the vulnerabilities of homeless young women
COVID-19 increasing the vulnerabilities of homeless young women
COVID-19 increasing the vulnerabilities of homeless young women (1/1)

The government is urging self-isolation and quarantine at homes. The peoples is appealing to maintain a 1 meter distance between each other. Doctors are reminding us to wash our hands with soap repeatedly while others advise us to take a bath with hot water, drink warm water, and eat healthy food. The news and discussions are endless. Coronavirus is spreading rapidly around the world and currently, from the nation to the individual, everyone is seeking to protect themselves from this pandemic disease.

Homeless young women however, are far beyond these concerns and worries. Not having a home to return to or even stay for the night, no free toilets for bathing and bodily functions, let alone accessing clean and hot water and having barely any space to protect themselves, the 1 meter separation is a distant dream for these women.

In a country like ours, where women are not allowed to enter temples during menstruation, where #untouchability is practiced against those from marginalised #castes, where they often die due to various kinds of violence inflicted by family and society, some young women bravely step out of their houses in order to protect themselves and claim their rights. Even today, the government has not been able to provide a completely safe space for these homeless women and neither has the society given them opportunities to build their own lives. Consequently, exposure to violence and continuous exploitation has impacted the #mentalhealth of women so much that even daily activities can be difficult and cause a lot of discomfort. Thus, she is unable to not take care of herself and cannot accurately judge the danger of untoward incidents. Furthermore, if some women are exposed to gender and #sexualviolence, their #physicalhealth is also not the same.

Perceiving the scenario from this lens, can we truly expect that a vulnerable and #marginalisedwoman infected with #COVID-19 will be treated with equal respect, receive healthcare and support, with belongingness, love and acceptance? Or is it likely to be another reason that renders her homeless?

How will the homeless fight this terrible reality? If #homelessyoungwomen are to keep themselves safe from COVID-19, where and how will they get there? How many women and for how long will the walls of organisations like URJA provide safety and security? In this journey of breaking this deep-rooted exploitative chain, there are few of us with even fewer resources who are co-travellers with the inhuman acts and insensitive behaviors of the society and striving to realise the #safety, #dignity and self-respect of these brave and resilient homeless young women.

To be honest, this journey is not easy for homeless young women and for those like us, but if we all wish to understand the roots of their struggle with an empathic and rational mind, then it is not difficult either.


Comments 5

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Jill Langhus
Mar 20
Mar 20

Hello Deepali,

How are you doing, dear? I hear you. This is concerning. I'm glad you're there to help them, and I hope that you and your family remain safe, as well as these women that you're helping, too. Please keep us posted, and let us know if we can help:-)


Hello, Deepali,

This is heartbreaking. It is truly double risks for homeless women. There are so many questions to answer, dear sister. Ohh, what can be done to keep these women safe? :(

Thank you for speaking up about this important and urgent issue.

Anita Shrestha
Mar 22
Mar 22

Hell Deepali
Yes it is so shocking news for all people of the world. Still it is more dangerous in vulnerable women. I pray god for their cure.

Paulina Nayra
Mar 22
Mar 22

Dear Deepali,
Thank you for sharing this. It is easy for government to order, "stay at home"by being blind to the fact that there are hundreds of women and men who are homeless. Where will they stay when there are very few organizations who can accommodate them. Policy makers should be made aware of this issue. They should listen to people like you. Hope you can find allies and champions of homeless women.
Let's keep in touch.


Beth Lacey
Mar 23
Mar 23

This is such a serious challenge for women that struggle everyday. I hope a cure is discovered soon

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