These NSS volunteers are on a mission mode

NSS volunteers engaged in the construction of a house.  

The National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers of St. Peter’s Higher Secondary School, Kolencherry, are in the middle of a unique ‘scrap challenge’ going around collecting scrap from houses, including their own, for a noble cause.

Having already helped build three houses in the last five years, both financially and in terms of labour, the students led by their programme officer A. Ambily have now busied themselves in mobilising funds by selling scrap for a fourth house that is under construction in Poothrikka panchayat. The pandemic-induced closure of the school meant that they could dedicate themselves to the cause with increased vigour.

“We also sell a multipurpose solution we have made while visiting households for collecting scrap, the proceeds from which also go into the building of the new house estimated to cost over ₹5 lakh. Hopefully, the shortfall can be made up through sponsorships both in cash and kind,” said Ms. Ambily.

The NSS volunteers took up the construction of the first house at Valakam panchayat in 2016 as part of their community work after coming across a media report on the plight of one of their schoolmates whose house used to get fully submerged during monsoon. “It was the toughest assignment, as our volunteers had to toil physically since the site was inaccessible, and building materials had to be manually taken there. The construction of the second house was comparatively easy, since the Ramamangalam panchayat authorities were equally enthusiastic,” said Ms. Ambily.

The third house was built to replace a ramshackle home, while the fourth is being built for the impoverished family of a 15-year-old with cerebral palsy. The students also built a kiosk to replace a rundown tea shop of an aged couple with sick children who were unable to work.

The decision to take up construction projects is often an emotional one with hardly the means to pull it off. The hope is that they will somehow manage it with the help of kind-hearted people, including their own friends and family.

The aftermath of the deluge also witnessed the NSS volunteers diving full-fledged into relief mission. “It was a surreal experience cleaning up nearly 15 submerged houses left with hip-high mud deposits when the floodwaters receded,” recalled Ms. Ambily. They were also instrumental in mounting a sculpture near their school in honour of the heroic rescue mission carried out by fishermen during the deluge.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 8:12:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/these-nss-volunteers-are-on-a-mission-mode/article34306884.ece

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