Home to 39 underprivileged girls from Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, the 127-year-old Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu Sthree Sadanam is helping many to continue studies and achieve their dreams.
The home is named after renowned social reformer Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu, who started Victoria Widows' Home through his charitable trust Hitakarini Samajam. In 1985, the then Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government took over Hitakarini trust properties.
Veeresalingam had launched several movements in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the women's movement was the most significant one. He set out to various programs for women's education, widow remarriage, eradication of prostitution etc.
In 1986, Former Chief Minister NT Rama Rao inaugurated a new building. The Victoria Widows' Home was renamed Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu Sthree Sadanam, and since then, it is being run by the Andhra Pradesh Women and Child Welfare Department.
The Andhra Pradesh government provides free food and accommodation to the girls, and the state women and child welfare department looks over all the operations.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, department officer Durga Vani said that all the girls carried a passion for studying and never missed a class. The department also provides them with all the required medical care.
One of the girls, Sri Lakshmi, an undergraduate student, expressed her gratitude over the facilities being provided at home. Another girl Pushpa Devi from Nidadavolu, who is pursuing B.Com, said that the home helped her continue her studies.
Although the home is working rigorously to make the girls' lives better, they face difficulties in garnering sufficient and continuous funding. Lack of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and other equipment adds to the problems.
Due to a shortage of funds, Sthree Sadanam has power dues to the tune of ₹1 lakh to the electricity department. The State government has helped a couple of times, including recent repairs of toilets and a few rooms which were in a dilapidated condition. But there is no frequent flow of funds, posing difficulties in accomplishing projects and meeting operational costs.