As you are aware, the Malabar Chapter of the Old Boys Association, Sainik School Kazhakootam, has been taking up some social causes with support of all the old students. The first initiative was the free medical camp at Kadalundi Nagaram on 23rd November 2014 , conducted with help of our old boys in the medical field. That went off well, thanks to the tremendous support extended by our old boy doctors who provided medical cover and others who coordinated. We are now on the verge of completing our second project.
It was at the March 2014 get-together of Malabar chapter that we resolved to take up social causes. As beneficiaries of high quality, subsidised education and as alumni of a reputed institution, we thought it is time to pay back to the society. While a number of our old students are already involved in such projects as individuals, the chapter thought we should also take up some collective ventures. This would give us better coordination, funding and the flexibility to do larger projects. It also provides us a platform to get together with a cause, unlike the regular ones which are social gatherings of old friends. There are also incidental benefits like earning a name for our alma mater and motivating the next generation.
An article appeared in the newspaper about Rema, a homeless woman in Payyoli on the day the Malabar chapter got together. Col. Sherry Peter (Roll No. 1377), then posted at nearby Vadakara got the case verified and confirmed it is genuine. Rema lived in a make-shift shack with her TB inflicted father. The handicapped lady has no livelihood and was struggling to build a house in her small plot.
A team consisting of Mr. VK Prabhakaran (401), Mr. Radhakrishnan (1114), Mr. Shajan Jacob (1544), Dr. Ashish Bens (3393) and Ramesh Babu (888) visited Payyoli in May 14 to consider the project. The project manager of Nirmithi Kendra, Calicut was also present.
Rema showed us her shack and the little plot. She had applied for govt. funds under Indira Awaz Yojna to build a house on the plot. She informed us that the first instalment of Rs.60,000/- she received was used up to fill up the waterlogged plot and plant some stones to resemble a foundation. She was looking for help to build the basement so that she got the next instalment under the Indira Awaz Yojna.
The cost of fixing the foundation and building the basement was estimated as Rs. 2 Lakhs by Nirmithi. We put out an appeal to our fraternity and promptly got more than 3 lakhs. Dr. Asish Bens took up the responsibility of maintaining account.
The work was entrusted to Mr. Mohandas, a Nirmithi contractor under close supervision of a local JCO, working with Col. Sherry. Work started in May itself, but some un-expected problems came up. The site is about half a kilometre from nearest road and people living near the road were not allowing us to unload material in their compound. Once that was resolved, we had to find workers to carry material to the site by head load. Then heavy rains came, flooding the approach to the site. The rains also washed away some of the soil on the plot, making it once again waterlogged. More soil had to be filled in after the rains subsided and work on the foundation started in full earnest after that. The basement was ready in a few weeks.
Rema approached the officials for her next instalment and was told that she would now get Rs.12,500/-. That is when we did a study of the famous Indira Awaz Yojna and found that Rema is eligible for a total funding of only 1 lakh rupees, including the 60,000/- she had already spent. That would not even fetch her a room, let alone a house. We thought it unfair to leave her in a lurch and decided to build the entire house.
Old students were wholeheartedly supporting and encouraging the project. We were sure that all of you would chip in and make it a success. So we took the plunge.
The 680 sq.ft house was estimated to cost about 8 lakhs. We had contributions totalling to over 4 lakhs and knew that the rest would come in. An advance was paid to the contractor with a request to build the house. He agreed to do it at very low profit and subsidise as much as possible from his side. We also got some sound advice from old students to cut down the cost.
Then came another road-block. Rema had relapse of a psychiatric problem she had suffered. We had to give her time to recover and allow work on the site. After all these, work recommenced after the monsoon. The house is now almost ready and we plan to hand it over to Rema as a New Year Gift from SSKZM alumni.
Contributions from alumni have been regularly coming in. In addition to individual contributions, we have some batches putting in a lump sum amount. As the word spread, even other philanthropists contributed. We have by now collected a little more than 6 lakhs and handed over most of it to the contractor. Ahish keeps a meticulous account. We are sure that the balance will also come in soon.
Latest picture of the house is attached. The handing over function is scheduled at 1700 hrs on Saturday, 3rd January 2014 at Payyoli. We plan to have a get-together of old students on the occasion. We could meet at Hotel Asma Tower, near new bus stand, Mavoor Road, Calicut between 1500 and 1530 and travel to Payyoli together by bus. A tea party will be arranged to hand over the house and name it as ‘Aadima’ (the beginning), as proposed by Rema.
Kindly treat this as an invitation and attend the function with families. Please contact Dr. Ashish (mob- 9447481181 / 9745201181) or me (mob- 8589922215 / 9619322215) and confirm your participation by 31 December so that we can make transport arrangements. Looking forward to your participation,
for the OBA Malabar Chapter, Sainik School Kazhakootam,