Kochi: Children are like buds in a garden and should be carefully and lovingly nurtured, as they are the future of the nation and the citizens of tomorrow - Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
As the country celebrates Children's Day, a 14-year-old girl who lost her mother and father at a tender age and is living in the care of her grandmother in a dilapidated house in the coastal village of Chellanam here got the gift of her life - a new abode.
Kessia Mary can now sleep peacefully under a concrete roof with no fear, thanks to special gesture shown by the family of Kessia Juliet Jose, another 14-year-old, as part of celebrating the latter's birthday.
"It was just pure coincidence another Kessia of the same age presented that. So far it was all tragedies that struck her and I'm sure the gesture will change her life forever for the better," said Sr Lizzy Chakkalakal, headmistress of Our Lady's Convent Girls Higher Secondary School, Thoppumpady, where she goes.
It was Sr Lizzy who started efforts to get a new house for Kessia Mary, a Class X student, after coming to know about her plight. She made Mary a beneficiary of the 'House Challenge Project' being implemented by the school under her leadership for the past five years.
"The project aims to build houses for free for poor families. We've built 125 houses in the last five years, all with donations provided by good Samaritans - from daily wage earners to heads of business enterprises. It was pure coincidence that Confident Group MD T. A. Joseph came forward to sponsor the house," Sr Lizzy added.
Interestingly, Mr Joseph's daughter was also christened Kessia (Juliet Jose) and is of the same age. His family completed construction of the house, costing over Rs 5 lakh, and handed over the keys to the student and her grandmother as part of celebrating the birthday of their daughter the other day.
Kessia Mary, who lost her mother when she was one-and-a-half-year-old and father five years ago, is being looked after by her 70-year-old grandmother Mary Peter. They were living at Kattiparambu and the gift from her namesake was truly a Children's Day gift.