Retired zoologist builds 175th homeless shelter for Kerala
by Biju Veticad

Mukaluvilayil Sameul Sunil dreams of building 1,000 of them in the coming years. House prices in the country have tripled. The academy, rewarded by the government for its initiatives, also helps the disabled, students and orphans. It also runs programs of food support and distribution of drinking water to poor families.


Pathanamthitta (AsiaNews) - A retired zoologist is completing the construction of her 175th homeless shelter, a real record and a great example of altruism. Mukaluvilayil Sameul Sunil, ex-professor at the Catholicate College of Pathanamthitta (Kerala), has been heavily involved in social work and committed to providing education of the poor for the past 15 years.

The house currently under construction will be donated to a local family. By the end of this year, Prof. Sunil plans to complete 200 shelters for the poor: her dream is to build 1,000 in the coming years. “I started building my first home for the homeless driven by the difficulties of a student of mine. Volunteers from the National Service Scheme and some of my colleagues contributed to the project, "said the academician to AsiaNews.

With prices rising, it has become increasingly difficult to buy a house in India. Sunil points out that 15 years ago a small house of about 55 sq m cost 1,500 euros; now 4,500 are needed. To limit construction costs, in addition to supervising the project, she also designs the home.

She started his academic career in 1995, at the age of 36 and is considered a stimulating educator, who has taught her students the importance of love and attention to others.

Her social commitment is not limited to building shelters for the homeless. She gifted 278 wheelchairs to people with motor disabilities, and glasses for the blind. She supported 90-100 students with annual scholarships, and helped 25 orphaned children in the local district. With the Karuthal project, Sunil supplies 200 poor families of rice and food every month. Her latest commitment is "Jeevamritham", an initiative to distribute drinking water to the poor of the villages around Pathanamthitta.

The zoologist received the Naree Sakthi Puraskar, the highest civilian honor in India for a woman, established by the ministry of the Union for Child Development in 2018. Sunil has used the cash prize for various charitable purposes and for the construction of the homes to donate to the needy. She also receives great support from the family. The 150th house was built thanks to a fund created by her son.

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