Ingenious ways provide shelter to a schoolmate

Students of St. Mary’s school build house under NSS

Updated - May 12, 2017 07:28 am IST

Published - May 11, 2017 08:53 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Pothencode panchayat president Venugopalan Nair hands over the keys to the house to Arunima in the presence of school Principal Father C.C. John.

Pothencode panchayat president Venugopalan Nair hands over the keys to the house to Arunima in the presence of school Principal Father C.C. John.

A house built from the proceeds of sale of newspapers was a tall order, but the result is standing tall.

A year-and-a-half after the idea took shape, the nearly 12,000 students of St. Mary’s Higher Secondary School, Pattom, can be proud of their contribution to a house for a schoolmate in Pothencode. A house that the students, under the aegis of the school National Service Scheme, built from the sale of newspapers and some other activities.

The house was for a fellow NSS volunteer, Arunima R. Nair, whose father had passed away and who lived in a mud house.

To raise funds, the students went from class to class urging schoolmates to collect at least 50 kg each of old newspapers and magazines. They also went door to door asking for old newspapers to sell. The more than 100 NSS volunteers spread across class 11 and 12 contributed 100 kg each of newspapers. A residents’ association at Edavacode too was part of the campaign.

The students did not stop at that. They made lotions and soaps and sold these in the school. When at one stage they ran short of money, they went to Thovala and bought flowers and sold these in the school for making ‘pookkalams’ (floral carpet) during Onam.

They made appearances on ViCTERS channel and a FM radio to talk about their project, leading to more contributions. Teachers too pooled in their mite. In all, the students managed to collect ₹4.5 lakh.

Whenever they had a holiday, the NSS volunteers rendered their services for the construction of the house, a kind of ‘shramdaan,’ be it for loading or unloading material, helping the masons, or painting.

Finally, their hard work and spirit of enterprise was realised in the form of a bricks and mortar house for their schoolmate.

Says Parvathy Prasad, school NSS leader, “It is a big thing that a house was made possible by the efforts of students. When the idea of selling newspapers came up, we didn’t think it was possible, but we are happy that the structure is complete.”

School NSS Programme Officer Santhosh Wilson says it was a lesson in social responsibility for the students. Former NSS Programme Officer Leju P. Thomas who set the ball rolling in early 2016 was part of the initiative throughout, supporting the students.

On Thursday, the key to the house was handed over to Arunima by Pothencode panchayat president Venugopalan Nair in the presence of school Principal Father C.C. John.

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