Specially-abled women celebrate Diwali in Odisha shelter home

    Bhubaneshwar (Odisha) [India], Nov 7 (The Eastern Herald): A shelter home in Odisha, accommodating around 300 specially-abled women, celebrated the occasion of Diwali with fervour to make its inmates feel belonged and not left out in the shelter home.The shelter home named ‘Mission Ashra’ had been rescuing such women who were homeless for the last 16 years and provided them with treatment. They either rescued them from the streets or with the help of police. The inmates in the shelter are provided with food, clothes.Every year, Diwali is celebrated in the shelter with music, dance and crackers, followed by a feast.Punam, an inmate who has been there for six years, told The Eastern Herald, “Police got me here. I was suffering from mental illness. I am better now and want to go home. We celebrate all the festivals here. We burst crackers, light lamps, distribute sweets, wear new clothes every Diwali.”Another inmate Meena also narrated her experience in the shelter. “We eat good food, dance and sing, wear new clothes, burst crackers. I miss home during this time. This shelter is like my family,” she said.Baisnavi Devi, who works as a counsellor in the shelter, said, “I am working here as a counsellor. We organised Diwali for the inmates so that they do not feel that they are different. They also miss their families. Such festivals make them feel belonged. We have different cultural programs and they respond better when we have these programs.”Govind Patnaik, Director of the shelter home, said, “We help people and rescue them. We have been doing this for years and we also celebrate festivals every year to make the inmates feel better.” (The Eastern Herald)

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