The story of Jako doma – Homelike
Why do some women have no place to call home, who are they, and how can we help them?
After asking these questions in 2012, we were moved to set-up the first NGO in the Czech Republic focusing on gender-specific homelessness. We began by developing a narrative research project called Back From the Bottom: Focus on Women that records the personal stories of homeless women. Moreover, we set up a campaign that aims to bring the issue of female homelessness to the larger society.
In the summer of 2013, we started a project called Cooks Without Homes. This is a regular event held across Prague and elsewhere in the Czech Republic where homeless women cook for the public and present their culinary skills at street markets and festivals to help break the stigma of homelessness. Within the past year, our Cooks have gained quite a reputation.
Since our inception, we have thought of violence against women as something closely linked to homelessness – either as a cause or epiphenomenon, or both. Hence we have set up several projects (Women to Women, Together for Women: Lets Talk about it) to address violence against women in the context of difficult social situation. We have worked with national and international partners from the NGO sector (legal counsellors, shelters, social workers, sex-worker support groups) to create a complex support system. In addition to aiding homeless women with their administrative issues such as debts, housing, social benefits, or the removal of a child, we strive to create a safe and secure space for them, where they can regularly meet, relax, and spend time together. We run a film club and are currently preparing a theatre group.
Besides actitivies for homeless women, we also did a qualitative research about their situation. The research was unique due to its focus on women and method. The research report Back from the Bottom can be downloaded here.
We organize public events at which people with and without homes can meet in a different context. In summer 2014, we prepared an event called Superheroes without Homes that was to present special skills (the “superpowers”) of homeless women – ranging from delicious cooking through great art to palmistry.
We are proud to look at homelessness differently. We believe that with the right help and support, any homeless person can achieve significant positive changes. Rather than simply “services,” we offer partnership. The Kitchen project, that we are currently developing, will be a social enterprise company that will offer homeless women something they can only rarely achieve a real job in a real work-based environment.
In the future, Jako doma hopes to open the first female- and transgender-only community center for the homeless and those in danger of losing their homes. The center will be a unique space that will help them to recharge, provide them with healthcare and hygiene facilities and a place to network. The center will also provide a community kitchen where women will be encouraged to cook together and learn to share.
• To remove the stigma associated with the word “homeless.”
• To prove that homeless people are able and willing to work.
• To engage with vulnerable and excluded people who have been, or are at risk of, sleeping in compromising situations or becoming homeless and help integrate them into society.
• To support homeless women.
E-mail: info [@] jakodoma.org
Phone no.: 00420 773 480 560
150 00 Praha 5