Social (media) responsibility: A WhatsApp group that builds houses

Piravom: If you thought WhatsApp groups were all pointless fun and no work, eight families in Pambakkuda panchayat could correct you. At least eight houses are coming up in the panchayat limits thanks to an enterprising collective of about 250 persons who coordinate their charity work on the social media platform.

The members of the ‘Ente Pambakkuda’ group on WhatsApp share a common love of their native land even as they pursue their careers around the world. Rather than sharing memes and other funny forwards, they chose to turn the platform to do some good work.

They decided to pool in resources to restart works on eight houses which were half-built with funds from the local self-government bodies.

The funds raised by the members are transferred to a team led by panchayat administrative committee member C B Rajiv and social workers Rajesh Habel and Ranjini Kumar. The group also receives support in kind from various well-wishers who contribute cement, bricks and metal rods for building houses for the poor families.

The group’s project has bailed out several families, including that of Ayyappan Kutty, who has been bedridden since he fell from a tree.

Ayyappan Kutty started work on his house in 2008 with the Rs 75,000 the panchayat allotted to him. The work came to a standstill after he fell from the tree. The family had been living in the half-complete house with only a tarpaulin sheet for roof. The roof was completed recently thanks to the WhatsApp collective.

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The final work on another house will start on Wednesday. The 700-square feet house belongs to Thambi of Kunnumpuram, a mahout who has been out of work since an elephant seriously injured him. The WhatsApp group consults members of the panchayat administrative committee before selecting housing projects that are waiting completion.

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