Published: 16th August 2019
Viral 12-year-old displaced by the floods isn't an orphan. But she's still getting a home
Jiju Jacob had previously offered a house to a couple who wanted to adopt the 12-year-old, who was supposedly orphaned
Here's a thing about social media. It tends to convince you that popular opinion/belief is right. Anyone can fall prey to it. Sometimes, this information can leave a few with a heavy heart and a deep scar. Case in point, Jiju Jacob, Jetheesh and Jetheesh's wife Tara.
The last we spoke to them, the trio was on a road trip to meet a 12-year-old girl in Kozhikode, who had lost her father and supposedly had nobody or nowhere to go. While the childless couple expressed their desire to adopt the child, Jiju offered them a house to live in. However, they were in for a rude shock. It is true that the girl lost her father and her house had been washed away. But she wasn't an orphan. She has two brothers, a sister-in-law and an elderly grandmother, all of whom are homeless now. This, therefore, ruled out any possibility of adoption.
"Jetheesh could not handle it," says Jiju. "He broke down upon hearing the news. They were not allowed to meet her," he says. This Kochi entrepreneur, however now plans to build a house for the girl and her family in Mavoor in Kozhikode. "On second thought, I realised that it is unfair to uproot them from the place where they grew up. Even though they lived in utter poverty, they were always in that tiny makeshift house on the roadside. She loves going to her school there and is, apparently, quite good in studies," he says. He has also submitted a letter to the Kozhikode collector Seeram Sambasiva Rao saying that he will build a house for the family as soon as the panchayat finds a piece of land.
Jiju, Jetheesh and Tara had come to know about the girl through a Facebook post that had gone viral. The trio was since lauded by many. A few others too had posted on Facebook about how they wanted to adopt the child, who is a IV grader at Manarkkad Government High School, Kozhikode. "This had put the entire family in distress. Her older brother and his wife have been married for the past five years and have no children. It is impossible for them to give the child for adoption," says Jiju. "Since the family's house was on the government land, they aren't eligible for any government schemes. So, this is the best that I could do," he says.
The 12-year-old, along with her family, is staying in a government old age home in Kozhikode. Her oldest brother is a street performer, like their father, while the second brother is a daily wage labourer. The family that originally hails from Karnataka, moved to Kozhikode almost two decades back.