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Indian Capuchin builds low-cost homeless shelters

Fr Jijo Kurian (Photo supplied)

"Last year, my son made many preparations for the arrival of Carol from church on Christmas Day," says a Catholic layman from the southern Indian state of Kerala.

In the morning, he had to decorate the lawn, and Carol, the wife, was eager to receive it even after tying the balloon. However, when Carol arrived in the evening, the owner of the rental house where the family was staying said that Carol should not enter there without reason.

Carol only got to see their baby from a distance that day. "I told my son that day. Next year, Jesus will give us our own home," said the man.

That wish is now being fulfilled on June 1.

Another needy couple in the southern Indian state of Kerala received a decent house donated by an anonymous donor.

A long-distance friend gave the worn-out couple their ideal home as a gift. The pair's lives may be on the road in their later years.

Like many others, the above two different families have been the beneficiaries of a housing project of a Capuchin priest who has built over 250 low-cost houses for the homeless in Kerala.

Father Jijo Kurian is known for building houses for low-income people. The initiative is being run by a 13-member "Shantiniketan" (Sanskrit: "The Abode of Peace") Trust. The housing project is known as "Koach veed," or small houses, for the poor, the disabled, people in need, and those below the poverty line.

Currently, each house costs INR 500,000 (US $6055.85). Each house comprises at least one bedroom, a drawing room, a dining room, a kitchen, and a bathroom.

Families with more members are provided with two-bedroom houses. All houses are made of durable and eco-friendly materials, says the priest. 

Father Kurian first studies the person in need before providing them with a roof over their head. 

He has a team of people who help him with the initiative. As many as five groups have been formed for construction, raising finances, and the distribution of houses.

"People help as anonymous donors. The donors do not know who the recipients of their generosity are. Most of the donors are from the middle-income group," says Kurian. 

He asks, "We cannot take anything when we leave this world, so why not share your wealth with those in dire need?"

Kurian’s housing project is in all districts of Kerala, except Kannur and Kasargod districts. According to him, he never sought or advertised for sponsors for the housing project.

The priest loves to travel. During one such trip to northeast India, he was appalled to see several poor people's conditions. So, he always wanted to embark on this housing project to provide people with social security. It materialized during the 2018 floods in Kerala when hundreds lost their huts and houses.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.