Sunil teacher behind this home’s prosperity gas ark

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There was this young woman who did research at the Aquatic Biology and Fisheries Department at Shankumukham in Thiruvananthapuram who used to deliver food from the hostel mess to children begging at the seashore Later she donated the clothes in her possession to them.

Gradually, she started collecting clothes from her friends and gave them away to the children. When she completed her research and returned after five years, yet another research seemed to have germinated in her mind – research into how she could help the needy.

Sunil will also tell you that when a home becomes a reality for those for whom it was a mere dream, that too thanks to the largesse of some kindred soul, it them becomes an avenue for even bigger dreams. This is not some inherited wisdom but truths unearthed through own experiences.

Dr. M.S. Sunil is the Head of the Department of Zoology at Pathanamthitta Catholicate College. Now, Sunil is not really a name a woman will have. Her father was so confident that he would have a son that he had chosen the first born’s name to be Sunil. But when her mother gave birth, it was a girl. The family went ahead and named her Sunil, because that was a name they had already picked. Thus the girl child became the bearer of a unique name. Today when teacher tells her name as Sunil, listeners repeatedly ask in disbelief if they heard her right.

Sunil remembers that there were many who blamed her when she decided to build a home for sixty five year old Kurumba of Koduman who was stricken with old age beyond her years. A house for someone who was this old? Will that money not go waste? Many asked the question. But today Kurumba will enthusiastically welcome you to her own home that was built by the teacher.

Susheela who spent her nights under an umbrella shelter is another living proof. It was under that same umbrella that she cooked food as well. In other words, that umbrella was the fifty five year old Susheela’s home. Susheela who took a diploma in Civil Engineering ironically never got to prepare a plan for her own home. She did not have a piece of land of her own. Even the Panchayat could not build her a house there as the land on which Susheela lived in was wasteland.

Konni Aruvappulam native Ravi’s family is another that tasted Sunil’s kindness. Ravi has three children of whom one is polio stricken. The family which had only woes of burden to share lived under a tarpaulin sheet. As financial crises too added to the legal tangles, a home did not as much as figure in their dreams. There too, Sunil built a home, brick by loving brick. A new home gave them new dreams. Emboldened by those dreams, they have paved tiles on the kitchen floor of the house built by Sunil for them. Like all other householders they too carry on now with newer dreams, in their own home.

Sunil grew active in social work in her capacity of NSS Programme Officer in college. After listening to the story of Asha of Koduman, a student in her MSc class in 2005-06, she decided to build her a home. She had a feeling that the home would realize if colleagues and acquaintances helped.

Sunil’s hope was not in vain. Asha got a home. But that is when Athirunkal native Udayabhanu’s story reached Sunil’s ears. The bones in Udayabhanu’s legs were shattered after a tree fell on him. His wife was bedridden from paralysis. Their daughter was under treatment for cancer of the brain. Hearing this story, Sunil could hardly wait to visit them. And nobody there told the teacher to build a home for them. But Sunil did just that.

How many are the people who offered support hearing about the building of the homes! They would hand over a sum to the teacher. The building of the house would start with that money. Sunil would herself finance the money falling short. Meantime if she comes across someone in real need of a home, she would build even if there is no one to support her. Konni native Prasad George, a businessman in USA and Kottayam native Jishy who too works in the US have given aid for eight houses each already.

Dr. Philipose Mar Chrisostam Valiya Metrapolita, Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrisostam, Bishop Dr. K.P. Yohannan Metrapolita, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien and film director Jude Antony have shown interest in Sunil’s activities and handed over money for a house each. There are still many other less well-known contributors. Sunil says that she is yet to meet some of them in person.

The teacher’s home in Azhoor near Pathanamthitta town is aptly named ‘Kripa’. Anybody can go visit there anytime seeking help. Only your visit has to be to seek help for someone else. Sunil has learnt from all her research so far that those genuinely needing help will not even know from where to get it.

If she hears about the needy from someone she will reach there to assess the situation. She will talk to the local people and the people’s representatives. Sunil is keen on analyzing the house construction work daily in person at the site. That is why no house has so far been built outside Pathanamthitta district. Sunil is insistent on visiting the newly built homes with a new pair of clothes on Onam. The purpose of the visit is just to ensure that the residents there are living happily.

Sunil who is the N.S.S. Programme Officer of the college and N.S.S. district coordinator of M.G. University has won State level award once and M.G. University award twice. The blood donation promoters’ award was Sunil’s for four years. She was also the Programme Officer of the Red Ribbon Club under Kerala State AIDS Control Society. In 2008 she won the Air India – Manorama Teachers’ Award.

Sunil is familiar in the tribal areas through her charity work. Sunil arrives in their colonies every month with grains and clothes. She gives away wheelchairs to the differently abled and the aged. Earlier the wheelchair distribution was done in a function. However since she has now felt that it is unfair to keep the needy waiting even for a function, wheelchairs are bought and provided to the needy as soon as she comes across them.

The educational expenses of 13 children across different institutions are entirely borne by Sunil. The teacher has installed solar lamps in several of the homes that she has built. Sunil is also in the forefront of women’s empowerment programmes.