Power of social media: Strangers came together to give Telangana woman and her niece a new home

A social media campaign helped provide a woman and her niece with a house in Bellampalli, Telangana.
Power of social media: Strangers came together to give Telangana woman and her niece a new home
Power of social media: Strangers came together to give Telangana woman and her niece a new home
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Lakkapatla Pushpa (36), a daily wage worker, lives with her 11-year-old physically challenged niece Ramya in a thatched hut. Pushpa makes a living by working in paddy fields and on cotton crops.   

Pushpa has four sisters. Since her parents passed away at an early age, she decided to look after her two younger sisters and remain unmarried. She said "My elder sisters got married, but I wanted to stand with my younger sisters. Somehow, working as a coolie, I managed to get them married".

Unfortunately, things didn't go as Pushpa expected, as her youngest sister Kamala's daughter was born with physical disabilities. As it was difficult for the family to raise her, Pushpa took Ramya under her wing when the latter was six, and has been taking care of her since. They are beneficiaries of a state government scheme that constructs concrete homes for the poor. "I have applied twice to the government for the sanction of the house, but they said that I need to have a family to avail it.  But, how can I have a family, when I didn't get married?" she lamented.

Living in a thatched hut was dangerous, as there was a threat of snakes. 

Kalpana Jagati and her husband Sudarshan brought the pathetic plight of Pushpa and Ramya to the notice of Ramesh Renikunta, a reporter and LIC agent, who is known for helping the poor through his Facebook posts.

On August 1, Ramesh published a status explaining her situation and his plan to provide them with a pucca house with an attached bathroom. Many of his Facebook friends decided to help, pitching in amounts of Rs 3000 and Rs 5000.

Speaking to TNM, Ramesh said "I'm overwhelmed by the kind of attention it got. Many NRI's from Telugu speaking-states have come forward, and as of now, this is 7th house. I’ve been blessed, and have been able to help nearly 1000 people through Facebook postings."

Thanks to the Facebook status, Pushpa started receiving the money soon through Ramesh and Kalpana, while Sudarshan made arrangements to construct the house.

Within five weeks, Pushpa and Ramya had a new house — which had proper electricity, a fan, and a compound wall — which cost around Rs.1.10 lakh.

Pushpa wanted to thank all those who helped them out, and said: “I pray to God for them that they should get more strength to help people like us."

Pushpa and Ramya will be living in their house Wednesday onwards, which is when work is expected to be completed.

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