Sri Lanka

Habitat for Humanity kicks off inaugural large-scale volunteer ‘Rebuild Sri Lanka’ event

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Contact:
Aida Fernando
+94 772 320 951 or +94 (011) 2714 274 ext. 108
aida@hfhsl.org

Decade wait over for 24 Negombo low-income families who finally secure land to build homes

Colombo, 5th August 2012 – Today marks the start of ‘Rebuild Sri Lanka’, Habitat for Humanity’s first large-scale volunteer build event in the country. Over 150 international and 50 local volunteers will partner with 24 low-income families to build homes in Pathamyawatte village, Negombo.

“Habitat’s mission is to bring people together to build homes, communities and hope. When people come together from across local and international boundaries and help each other regardless of race, religion or economic status, it always has an immensely positive effect on everyone,” said Tony Senewiratne, national director of Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka.

During the week-long event, volunteers will partner with families to build 24 safe, decent homes. Each home will have a living or bedroom area, kitchen, toilet, 20-feet-deep tube well with hand pump, 500-liter water tank and an area for a home garden. A community center and small playground will also be built in the village.

Through the event, Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka hopes to promote reconciliation between Singhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities, in addition to assisting those who were displaced by the civil war and seeking to return home.

‘Rebuild Sri Lanka’ is the culmination of ten years hard work by these 24 families, naming themselves the Society of Landless Families, to secure land. With the assistance of a local Negombo-based non-governmental organization (NGO), Janawaboda Kendraya, all 24 families succeeded in securing a plot of land. The NGO then introduced the families to Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka and, by the end of this week, their dream of moving out of temporary houses into new, safe and secure homes this week will be complete.

“Secure land tenure leads to stability that brings about better shelter, health, education, hope and future promise. It short circuits the cycle of poverty for many internally displaced families,” added Mr. Senewiratne.

To date, Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka has helped more than 17,000 families improve their shelter conditions all over the island state. Many partner families that Habitat has worked with have also given back to their community because of the transformative experience of building and owning a home. One such family is Sandanam Rathnawathi and her son Thushanth, who recently built their home with the support of Habitat for Humanity volunteers.

“It’s a really great idea. People who have a lot are helping people like us. They should do more of this”, said Thushanth. He has already started helping his widowed neighbor, Subramaniam Annammah, construct the foundation of her new home in Pathamyawatte village which Habitat for Humanity volunteers will complete this week.

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Notes to Editors

To set up interviews, receive photography or further information, please contact Aida Fernando, +94 772 320 951, aida@hfhsl.org

Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka

Since 1996, Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka has assisted more than 17,000 families by building and improving homes, and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. HFH Sri Lanka’s Habitat Resource Centers (HRC) located in the east, west, south and central regions of Sri Lanka aim to assist low-income families, as well as families affected by disaster and/or displaced by conflict, to build and improve homes utilizing local resources and local labor. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit www.hfhsl.org or follow us at facebook.com/hfhsl.