Downtown

Students help beggars rebuild their lives

The change-makers: The team that conceived the project and (left) a beggar-turned-shopkeeper who now sells candies for a living.   | Photo Credit: mail pic

Sundar A. and his batch mates have a new assignment every day, after their school hours. They have to manage the accounts of two beggars-turned-shopkeepers at two venues in Perambur.



“We take note of their daily accounts, check which products are selling well and buy new stock for them,” says Sundar, a class XI student of Kaligi Ranganathan Montford Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Perambur.



As part of the Design For Change competition, 13 students of the school are on a mission to rehabilitate beggars in their neighbourhood.



Three beggars who were willing to work were chosen as part of this pilot project.



Now, one of them sells candies near B.B. Road. Another sells stationery at Perambur Main Road. And the third works in a temple.



“We collected money among ourselves to help these beggars start a new life. We collected Rs. 10,000,” says M. J. Sabarish, another student.



The students say they decided to do this work when they saw a 12-year-old girl and her eight-year-old brother begging outside their school.



To further rehabilitate these beggars, they plan to take them to the Mission for the Blind, an institution that encourages people to work. The new shopkeepers will be offered t-shirts with a message saying ‘Give job not money’. The story of change is captured in a three-minute short film with the students as actors.



“I will be submitting this video in the coming week to the Design For Change competition,” says Anitha Daniel, headmistress. Last year, the school won a prize at the same competition, for teaching ayyamas to speak and write in English.



Five of them even passed the spoken English test conducted by Trinity College, London.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 6:54:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/students-help-beggars-rebuild-their-lives/article6452417.ece

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