Principal Sr Lissy Chakkalaykkal and teacher Lilly Paul
Kochi: At a time when building homes are a costly affair, two teachers of Our Ladies Convent School in Ernakulam’s Thoppumpady, spearhead with a noble cause. Principal Sr Lissy Chakkalaykkal and teacher Lilly Paul over the span of six years have built 150 houses for the homeless.
It was an unexpected start for the duo but later became a pursuit. Sr Lissy was evoked by the shanty condition under which one of her student in the school was living. Once, when she visited the house of a student to offer condolences, she was distressed by the pathetic condition of the family. They were living in a small hut like structure wrapped in a plastic sheet. Saddened to see this, Sr Lissy decided to build a home for the student. She devised a campaign called ‘House Challenge’ and urged students, parents of students and teachers to contribute for the cause. They all contributed and from the money collected a house was built for the student.
Not very late, it came to light that many students of the school were living in poor conditions. Sr Lissy along with Lilly Paul realised the gravity of the situation and decided to go ahead with their noble cause. They took initiative and met various stakeholders, well-wishers and locals after their duty time to raise fund for the cause. Many institutions and well off business firms came up with support. Interestingly, even workers involved in the construction did contributions from their side. Similarly, many gave their property for construction while some provided construction materials. It developed as a moment and is continuing its pursuit.
The houses costs from Rs 6 lakhs to Rs10 lakhs and they are usually built on one cent or two cent plots. The houses are handed over after tiling and ensuring a good design.
Around 80 students of the school got home through this initiative among others. Priority was given to homeless families with women, children, widows and ailing members. Help was also offered to people finding it difficult to arrange money despite the support from government .
“With a home in place, life of a woman changes. She will be more confident. Her security quotient will improve. Constructing home for women in despair is a noble act,” said the duo Sr Lissy and Lilly.