In keeping with its efforts to make Kottayam a women-friendly district, the district panchayat would set up a gender park at Thiruvarppu.
The initial works for the construction of the park, the first of its kind in the district, have begun at the half-an-acre plot allocated by the Ettumanoor block panchayat. A sum of Rs 80 lakh has been released towards the first installment. The proposals for conducting soil analysis and drafting the building’s design and layout were approved before tenders being floated, officials said.
Women in the district will have easy access to the gender park which will be convergence point of women-friendly activities. They will get an opportunity to join various training programs including specially designed courses in skill development.
Women who live far away from the center will be provided free accommodation for a day or two. The canteen will function round-the-clock and She Taxi services would be made available for returning home late in the night.
Plans have been charted out for conducting training programs for women to enhance their capacity to undertake self–employment, said district panchayat president Zacharias Kuthiravelil.
The gender park will house a rehabilitation center for victims of sexual violence. They will be offered counseling and therapeutic services. Counselors appointed to schools under the Psychosocial Service Project of the State Social Justice Department will be given special training. Also, there will be measures to coordinate their activities.
According to district panchayat vice-president Mary Sebastian, awareness programs on projects undertaken by the Social Justice Department and the Social Welfare Department would be organized frequently.
Training will be imparted to vigilante squads in all panchayats in the district. The gender park would facilitate better coordination of the activities carried out by panchayat-level groups and the district-level vigilante squad to effectively address issues confronted by women and children in the district.
The activities of the gender park will be supervised and coordinated by a committee comprising the district panchayat president, vice-president, a female protection officer, representative of women’s cell, lawyer, counselor, two social workers, Block division member, Block panchayat president, and the grama panchayat president.