Construction in Santhom Slum, India

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Each year, the residents of Santhom  Slum spend far more than they earn repairing broken roofs, rebuilding fallen walls and trying to keep the floods from their doors. This year, the families with children will be able to put that money towards better things, such as nutritious food, medical care, education and warm clothing for the winter.

This year 13 families in the Santhom Slum have waterproof, floodproof, comfortable and secure homes thanks to generous donations, hard work and coordination from the GVI staff in India and our invaluable construction volunteers.

The majority of our funding for the construction project has come from one of our partners, The Anna Crossman Trust. The ACT was set up after Anna, who was a volunteer with GVI India in 2011, died. Anna, who was on her gap year when she visited India wrote this in her diary, ‘I can’t help thinking that it seems so unfair that I can just saunter in, help out for six weeks and then leave these kids just so that I can laze about in south-east Asia.’ As a result, Anna’s parents decided to set up the Trust and they have identified various projects to support in Kochi. The ACT pays for school fees for some of the children, teacher’s wages, and general fees at Auxilium School. Recently a need was identified for construction in Santhom, and the ACT raised funds for construction of 12 of the 13 new homes.

The houses were all designed with raised foundations for flood mitigation, doors, windows and indoor partitions for much-needed privacy. After the exteriors were completed, the eager GVI construction volunteers decided that they weren’t done yet and they shifted their focus to decorating. The drab grey concrete that makes up the foundation of the homes was painted a matte black to help hide some of the dirt that will inevitably gather and murals were painted onto walls.

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The volunteers really banded together with the new homeowners and helped the houses to become homes. One of the girls who lives in Santhom loves painting and was eager to be involved, so we have provided her with everything that she needs to continue painting and decorating the outside of the homes.

We’d like to thank, along with the GVI staff and volunteers, all the local labourers who worked so hard to create the houses before the monsoon came and to Saju for organising them. Another huge thank you goes to the Anna Crossman Trust and all of our supporters and fundraisers.

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