State-run Asr-e Iran news website published a report about the life of homeless women in Tehran and explained the lives of each of them.
According to Asr-e Iran a homeless woman told the journalist who had interviewed her that: Life is really hard on the streets, without shelter and homeless! We have to pay rent but we don’t have money.
They don’t give us rooms. We have to take care of the problems of our children, not having anything to provide them, illnesses and homelessness. When we get up in the morning, all we do is rush so that we could work in people’s homes and we can make some money.
She picks up the pipe and starts smoking glass, apologizes and says: “if I don’t smoke I won’t be able to stay up all night. I smoke every night and then I go out. One night I didn’t smoke it and I fell asleep but woke up in the middle of a field with my clothes were all torn apart…”
The lady that is supposed to guide us in this trip talked about her daughter Bahar and her friend. She said: “Bahar’s friend Marzieh is 21. She gave birth to her child eight months ago yet her father is a runaway. My daughter Bahar has been married twice. Her second husband is in prison for possessing drugs. She has 3 kids. The first is with her first husband. Her second husband sold her second child and we gave the third one to the orphanage.”
When we went to the street, she said: “Usually each woman joins a group of 3 to 4 men or they pair so that they are not left alone. If the patrol comes, they say that we are husband and wife and they memorize an address of a house to give to the patrol so that they are left alone.”
A woman and two men sit around the steps in Shoush Square. A little further down, a row of people are sitting in the middle of the street smoking drugs. It’s as if they are drinking water or eating a sandwich. They are fearless.
Q: Are you homeless?
A: I have kids, I have a home thanks God. I work at home. I am a nurse. I take care of a poor old person. I’m 40. I use drugs. I use opium.
Q: Aren’t you afraid, sitting here?
A: No, I’m confident of myself because I have grown older now.
The row of men are sitting and turning their pipes and smoking heroin. One of them tells me: “Would you like to smoke some glass?”
It’s 4:00 am in Shoush Square. Night life is totally different here from day life. Even compared to other nights in other parts of Tehran. This area is the hub of homeless drug addicts.
Another women says: “I collect garbage from 9 pm to 5 am. I sell the garbage in the morning to pay for my 8 grams (drugs) and then I sit in a corner and smoke it.”
Another middle aged woman is sitting with a veil. I sit beside her and repeat my request: “Can you tell me about your problems as a homeless person?”
She says: “I have no problems. Don’t talk to me.”
I ask: “What do you smoke?”
She says: “Ask all these people what they smoke. I’m one of them.”
She asks: “What are you looking for?” In response to me explaining that I’m gathering a report, she says: “So that they can they come to collect us?”
She says: “Do you believe me that I’m here waiting for my mother who has kept my ID card. I don’t know where she lives. My sister and older brother know. Because I won’t give them sponsorship, they won’t give me my dad’s will. Now, I don’t know where the main welfare institution is. My ID card is in my mother’s hand. She sounded as if she’d been crying for hours. My dad just passed away. I’m 28. My dad was an addict since I was a child. I was the family’s last child. My dad divorced my mom. I was 9. I tried to commit suicide many times so that my dad would put drugs aside and stop spending time with his friends. Yet it was fruitless. He threw me out instead. He had a temporary wife who didn’t have a good condition. He married her afterwards. I fought a lot. That’s when he kicked us out. Its 9 years now that I’m wondering in the streets.”
Another woman told me to come and she’ll talk to me. I went to her and she said: “I’m 24. I’m addicted to glass. Life is really hard on the streets, without shelter, homeless! Don’t have money to pay rent. They don’t give us rooms. Handling problems such as caring for children, not having any to provide for them, illnesses and homelessness. When we get up in the morning, we’re always rushing to work in people’s homes, to make money for ourselves. This is where we live. Our lives have passed. The girls and boys here have been forgotten by everyone.”
(State-run Asr-e Iran news website – July 5, 2014)