Kochi (Kerala) [India], September 19 (ANI): Six years ago, Sister Lissy Chakkalakkal, who is the Principal of 'Our Ladies Convent Girls School' in Thoppumpady at Kochi realised that one of her Class 8 students was homeless. The student had lost her father who was a mason and the family had no home. Then Chakkalakkal, along with Lilly Paul, who is also the teacher at the same school took the initiative to build her family a house. She raised funds from school teachers, students, neighbours, and others. The girl's family finally had a 600 sq ft home.
It came to light that many students of the school were living in poor conditions. Then both took an initiative and met various stakeholders, well-wishers and locals after their duty time to raise funds for the cause. Many institutions and well off business firms came up with support. Even workers involved in the construction contributed from their side.
Soon, both the teachers decided to start the House Challenging Project during the school's Platinum Jubilee celebration held in the year 2014. They have built 150 houses for the homeless over the span of six years.
The houses costs from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 10 lakh and they are usually built on one cent or two cent plots. The houses are handed over after tiling and ensuring a good design.
Around 80 students of the school got home through this initiative. Priority was given to homeless families with women, children, widows and ailing members. Help was also offered to people finding it difficult to arrange money despite the support from the government.
Sister Lissy Chakkalakkal told ANI, "We started our House Challenge project to provide shelter for our own students who were living without basic facilities. Our dream is to make our society 'homeless free'. We have completed constructing 150 houses so far. Moreover, people also started to donate lands for constructing houses. Initially, we were constructing houses for families who have land. Now, there are people who are donating lands for the construction of houses."
"A donor named Ranjan Varghese, who donated 70 cents land -- the largest donation we have received and constructed 12 houses at Vypin. If people have a culture of sharing then we can achieve our dream of making a homeless free society," she said.
Lilly Paul told ANI, "A teacher is not for imparting teacher or teaching different subjects. Her duty is to help the needy people around us. In our school, any students or teachers contribute a small portion to this project. Moreover, skilled labourers like mason and others also help us in constructing houses. The project is teamwork from different sections of people from the society." (ANI)