THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It was when they visited their classmate who lost her father that students of Vithura Government Vocational Higher Secondary School in Thiruvananthapuram learnt of the hardships faced by her family. The second-year VHSE student resided in a dilapidated building that could hardly be called liveable, especially during the rainy season.
Setting a target of 100 days, National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers of the school’s VHSE section built a house for her, employing unique means to raise funds.“The student’s father, a daily wage worker, passed away in July after a sudden illness. We visited the house where she lived with her elder sister, mother and grandparents. It could hardly be called a house, with a tarpaulin sheet serving as the roof and no proper windows for ventilation,” recollected principal of the school Majjusha A R.
Moved by the family’s plight, her classmates resolved to ensure a roof over their heads at the earliest. They approached the school authorities who decided to implement the programme with the help of NSS volunteers. “As the students had seen similar housing projects drag on for months, they resolved to complete it in 100 days. And on the 99th day on October 27, the house was ready,” said Arun V P, VHSE- NSS programme officer of the school.
The profit earned through sale of uniform material, food festival, sale of consumer goods in association with local firms and lucky draw were among the means the 100-odd volunteers in the VHSE section employed to raise funds. Thanks to generous help from parents and teachers, they raised around `8 lakh for the house. The house was built in record time on the five cents of land owned by the girl’s family at Neyyappally in Nandiyode panchayat. The house-warming ceremony is scheduled on November 14 (Children’s Day). General Education Minister V Sivankutty will hand over the keys of the house to the family. Students and teachers plan to visit the next day.
The NSS volunteers have already earned the praise of the local community thanks to their numerous initiatives in and around the school campus. During the 100 days, the students planted 100 saplings of fruit-bearing trees in the neighbourhood.
As part of ‘Hunger Free Vithura’ project, NSS volunteers distributed food packets to the needy on all working days. A blood donation camp involving 50 donors, palliative care initiatives and cleaning and maintaining 25 select spots in the panchayat were among the group’s other initiatives.