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Students instil hope among tsunami-hit kids

MADURAI: Children in tsunami-affected areas seem to have overcome their fears of the killer waves and are gearing up to face life with total confidence.

This observation was made by 19 students of Madurai-based Lakshmi School following their visit to a coastal village in Nagapattinam district.

The Standard IX students had, on February 5, gone to Thalampettai, a village near Thirukkadaiyur, that was devastated by the tsunamis. They were accompanied by two volunteers, D Nedunchezhian and Suresh Kumar.

The students interacted with 150 children in the age group of 5 to 14, played games with them and taught them art and craft.

One of the students, Prakash, says, ‘‘It was a totally different experience to be with those children. They seemed to have forgotten about the tsunamis.

We were also cautious not to arouse their fears about the tidal waves’’.

The students said the children came to the beach for the first time after December 26, on Saturday last.

They had been cautioned against going anywhere near the beach.

The visit to the seashore was nostalgic for many of the children who had lost their family members to the tsunamis.

Meanwhile, most of the Lakshmi School students have expressed their desire to revisit the village during their annual holidays.

Says Satish, ‘‘We knew that we were a fortunate lot only when we mingled with those children’’.

The visit to Thalampettai has been an eye-opener of sorts.

‘‘Most of us still have dreams of becoming professionals like doctors and engineers, but now we are also determined to make social service a part of our life,’’ says Vignesh.

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