A couple in India is inspiring people around the world by turning their heartbreak into hope. Karibeeran and Choodamani Parameshvaran lost their three children, ages 5, 9 and 12, in 2004 when a tsunami hit the coast of India the day after Christmas.
Each holiday season is a painful reminder for them and many others who lost loved ones in the 2004 disaster, which killed 230,000 people in countries bordering the Indian Ocean.
The tsunami left behind a massive trail of destruction and robbed thousands of children of their parents. Through their grief, the couple decided to help others who suffered loss.
For the last 15 years, they've devoted their lives to honoring their children's' memory by turning their house into an orphanage. They called it "Hands of Hope."
Within days of the tsunami, the couple took in four orphans who lost their parents during the disaster. Within a week, they had welcomed 32 more.
"I lost my children, and why not I take these children and give them shelter," Choodamani said.
In the years since the tsunami, they have sheltered 45 orphans and built two buildings, one for girls and one for boys, according to Reuters. While the couple mostly used their own funds to provide for the children, friends have also helped.
The couple said they've found their life's mission through this work — and it's brought them happiness, as well. They've also had two more boys since the loss of their children.
The tsunami that struck on December 26, 2004, is believed to be the deadliest in history. More than 6,000 people were killed in in the couple's coastal district of Nagapattinam, which was the hardest-hit area in India. About 42,000 people in India were rendered homeless and more than 30,000 children there were orphaned.