Disaster becomes a blessing in disguise for this family

Suresh and his family at their new house in Kannur.

In August this year, when a coconut tree uprooted by strong winds crashed on her house at Perla in Kannur, Sujatha felt she had lost everything in life.

“The disaster seemed to be a tipping point in my life forcing me to have suicidal thoughts,” Sujatha confessed.

With her alcoholic husband Suresh confined to bed most of the time due to many an ailments, Sujatha and her three daughters had been leading a hand-to-mouth existence in the rickety tiled-house.

After the crash, the partially destroyed house did not have a single dry corner with the tiled-roof leaking at several places.\

Sujatha’s three daughters, who were forced to take up low-paying jobs to support the family, did not have any dry clothes to wear, her neighbour Ramakrishna Nayak said.

Neighbours who rushed to the family’s rescue following the crash, realised that the house did not have a toilet and the members were defecating in the open. Unlike conventional disasters, this one appeared to be a blessing in disguise for the family.

Ramakrishna Nayak, moved by the miseries of the family, sought the help of local corporator Kannur Sudheer Shetty. The BJP corporator informed that families with BPL card were eligible for compensation up to Rs 2.5 lakh from the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC).

However the family was denied compensation as it did not own proper land documents, Sudheer Shetty said.

The corporator, who has built houses for a couple of homeless families in the past, refuse d to give up. As a member of the Rotary Club Mangalore-East, he raised the issue of constructing a house for Suresh, during one of the meetings.

“A few members and neighbours did question the rationale behind our decision to build a house for a man who had spent his earnings on alcohol. But I stood firm and said a new house would help Sujatha and her grown-up daughters to look at future with a renewed hope,” he stressed.

The Rotary Club Mangalore-East immediately began the construction of the house. “Many in the locality donated generously and Ultratech Cement general manager Ankur Maheshwar donated 80 bags of cement. The new house with a toilet was completed at a cost of Rs 4.5 lakh,” Sudheer Shetty said.

“Spoorthi Nilaya” was inaugurated by the Rotary International (3181) District Governor Rohinatha P recently. Rotary Club Mangalore-East president Jayakumar said that they expect nothing from the family.

“We have built the house as a social service,” he stressed.

Sujatha says the house is yet to receive electricity supply.

“This has motivated us to forget the miserable past behind us,” Sujatha declares with a sense of determination. “Spoorthi Nilaya” in Kannur ward stands as a shining example on how the well-being of an entire society is guaranteed when organisations decide to help the underprivileged.

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Disaster becomes a blessing in disguise for this family

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