Friends join hands to build home for Kerala schoolgirl

The new house handed over to Malavika’s family on Sunday.

The new house handed over to Malavika’s family on Sunday.  

Malavika has never seen better days.

From the times when she had to remain starving in a leaky plastic tent alongside her ailing mother, jobless father and little younger brother, her family now remains safely ensconced in a solid house thanks to the large-heartedness of people around her.

“I am very happy to have a new home,” was all Malavika could say.

Last year, The Hindu had reported about the plight of the 12-year-old from Kuttampuzha panchayat in Kothamangalam along the eastern suburbs of Kochi after she burst into tears in a school bus out of hunger.

Her friends and teachers from St. Stephen’s Girls Higher Secondary School, Keerampara, were shocked to see the condition of her home when they dropped in shortly after the incident. Her father, Subramanyam, was just rendered jobless in that year’s floods while her polio-affected mother could hardly supplement the family income.

“We formed a WhatsApp group for building the family a home and the report of The Hindu helped us to mobilise over ₹2 lakh, including from Malayali expatriates, while it also brought her father a job,” said Bintumol Kurian, a teacher at Malavika’s school.

Students and the school PTA chipped in while the panchayat and a local group called Swaraj also joined hands to eventually mobilise ₹6.75 lakh.

With a compassionate local resident contributing three cents to the family for free, the construction of the house was launched last December and the house was handed over last Sunday. “The plot was on an elevated region and with no direct road access and bringing the building materials to the site was a tough task,” said Martin Simon, the school Principal.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 9:14:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/joining-hands-to-build-home-for-schoolgirl/article32083519.ece

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