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25 Feb 2024, Edition - 3148, Sunday

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A home for the homeless

Jiji Ann Cherian


Kochi: Unity and a sense of togetherness can make the impossible possible. That’s the story of Sister Lizzy and her wards at Our Lady’s School in Thoppumpady who have set an example by building homes for the poor. Thanks to them, 50 families in and around Chellanam, a coastal village in Kochi consisting mainly of fisher folk, live a life of dignity today.

It all started four years ago, says Sr Lizzy, as she remembers how a visit to the homes of her students left her distressed. Most of the houses did not have proper doors, roofs and other basic necessities. “This left the dwellers easy targets to exploitation and abuse.” That’s when she decided to take it as a cause. “The vision of our school itself is integral development. I knew it could not be achieved by lack of self-esteem amongst the students. The rot had to be eradicated right from their homes.”

A home for the homeless became Sr Lizzy’s aim in life. But convincing people was a challenge. “With a meagre amount of Rs. 25,000 taken on loan, we started work on one dingy small dwelling in which three families stayed together.” Braving the monsoons, the house was handed over in six months’ time.The response was overwhelming;people from different walks of life started contributing. The school’s children also contributed in their own sweet way. “For birthday celebrations, students contribute to the charity box that’s inturn used for the house project.”

In one year,theywere able to hand over 27 houses. Now they even help the State government complete several house projects for widows and destitutes. Sr Lizzy’s philanthropic activities know no bounds. She also fulfilled the wish of a few mentally challenged children of a local school to go on a flight.

“Most of our Xmas is spent with families whom we have helped with houses,” says Sr Lizzy, as she awaits the handing over of the 50th house next month.

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